Here's some news that'll have exotic food fans hopping: The Kyoto Aquarium (above) will be serving three types of “Frog's Egg Soup” in their on-site restaurant cafe from June 1st through July 12th of 2013.
The soups' base flavors were chosen to complement three species of frogs. Pale green Broad Bean Soup salutes the White Tree Frog of Southeast Asia and Australia, Minestrone Soup evokes the distinct tint of the Madagascar Rust Tomato Frog, and golden orange Pumpkin Soup is a tribute to the strikingly colored (and VERY poisonous) Leucomelas Poison Arrow Frog.
At this point you may be wondering if it's safe to eat the eggs of an extremely toxic frog and the answer is... who cares? The Kyoto Aquarium won't be serving any actual frog's eggs in soup or as a side dish, it only looks that way.
Staffers at the Kyoto Aquarium must have figured nobody would want to eat soup containing real frog's eggs, let alone pay for the privilege of doing so, but still wanted to create a buzz (or the amphibian equivalent) to benefit the attraction's, er, ribbet exhibit. After considering the use of tapioca (too dull and boring), they arrived at basil seeds.
Basil seeds have an interesting property that takes effect once they're exposed to water. A translucent gelatinous coating forms around each seed, making an agglomeration of seeds in water look very much like a newly-laid mass of frog's eggs. Best of all, they're eminently edible and are vegetarian-friendly in the bargain!
The activated basil seeds are served in a separate container so finicky soup-eaters can add as much or as little as they like. Regardless of how “seedy” you season your soup, the price is a flat 400 yen or about $4 per tad-bowl. (via Gigazine)