Fried Axolotl Looks Like Dragon, Tastes Like Chicken
Axolotl, or Mexican neotenic mole salamanders, are famed for living their full lifetimes in the larval, gill-breathing stage and for their ability to regenerate limbs if necessary. They're also popular pets: in Japan they're known as Wooper Looper (pronounced "Upa Rupa").
All well and good... until somebody thought it would be a good idea to fry 'em up tempura style. That somebody was the owner of an Osaka restaurant near Shijonawate station (map here) who's currently offering "Upa Rupa Fry" for 1,300 yen (about $15) per plate.
Oddly, the ad for the dish doesn't feature a realistic image or amazingly detailed plastic model of the meal - instead, there's a photo of a living, swimming Axolotl in all its frilly gilled, smiley faced glory.
One would think this wouldn't be good for business... until, of course, the actual dish is presented for your culinary delight. Expecting anonymous chunks of breaded, fried meat that looks and tastes vaguely like chicken? Sorry Charlie, what you get is the whole axolotl, looking like a miniature fried dragon coated in golden crunchy breading from nose to tail, and resting on a bed of white bean thread noodles with tri-colored pepper garnishes.
It doesn't appear to be smiling anymore either, more like... well, you tell me. At least the restaurant can't be accused of subbing some cheap mystery meat for the advertised amphibian - though I bet what you get still tastes like chicken. Hey, who newt? (via Gigazine)