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Taipei’s Latest Culinary Delight: Introducing a 14-Legged Crustacean to the Menu

Taipei’s Ramen Restaurant Introduces a Delicacy: 14-Legged Giant Isopod.

A ramen restaurant in Taipei has captivated diners with its latest creation—a limited-edition noodle bowl featuring a 14-legged giant isopod. Since The Ramen Boy announced the addition of this dream ingredient on May 22, eager customers have flocked to the establishment, forming a waiting list to experience the unique dish.

The restaurant’s owner, Mr. Hu, who preferred to remain anonymous, held up the giant isopod as customers snapped photos, expressing their admiration for its charming appearance. Mr. Hu shared that the cooking process is straightforward, involving a simple steaming method that takes around 10 minutes to prepare the isopod. It is then placed atop a bowl of ramen, complemented by a rich chicken and fish broth. Each bowl is priced at 1,480 Taiwan dollars ($48).

Patrons describe the taste of the isopod meat as a delectable fusion of crab and lobster, boasting a dense texture with a hint of chewiness.

According to the NOAA Ocean Exploration, giant isopods are the largest crustaceans among thousands of species in their group. Typically found in ocean depths ranging from 170 to 2,140 meters (186 to 2,340 yards), 80% of them reside at a depth of 365 to 730 meters. The Taiwanese Animal Planet’s Facebook page further explains that these fascinating creatures, identified as “Bathynomus jamesi,” were discovered near the Dongsha Islands in the South China Sea and are believed to be caught at depths of 300 to 500 meters.

While the ramen creation has garnered attention and excitement, some scholars have voiced concerns about potential ecological impacts resulting from bottom trawling fishing techniques, as well as potential health risks associated with consuming this relatively unknown species. However, restaurant customers hold a different perspective. Many view the giant isopod dish as a special menu item, with the isopods being unintentionally caught, as claimed by the owner. Diners, therefore, seize the opportunity to try this unique culinary experience.

Digell Huang, a 34-year-old genetic counselor, expressed her honor in tasting the dish, emphasizing that if the isopods were caught incidentally and it is presented as a special menu, everyone should seize the chance to try it. However, a scholar cautioned against potential health risks, highlighting the need for further research and a comprehensive database on the largely unknown species, such as Bathynomus jamesi, before endorsing its consumption.

As the debate continues, patrons relish the chance to indulge in this extraordinary delicacy, appreciating the culinary adventure offered by the ramen restaurant in Taipei.

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