Taiwan restaurant introduces crocodile ramen on menu - can we eat crocodile meat in the UK?
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Ramen is enjoyed by many people around the world, a comforting dish with thick broth that can warm you up especially on a cold winter night. However, there’s one restaurant in Taiwan that has elevated the traditional Japanese noodles to another level - by featuring crocodile meat in the dish.
According to CNN, the dish, called ‘Godzilla Ramen’ is served at Witch Cat Kwai in Douliu City in southern Taiwan, and consists of quail eggs, pork, baby corn, dried bamboo shoots, black fungus and cubes of fish paste, topped with crocodile leg - specifically, a front one.
The restaurant owner, who only wanted to be known as Chien, said he charges NTD 1500 (£37.95) per bowl due to the challenge of getting crocodile legs and the difficulty of making the dish; only two bowls of Godzilla Ramen can be served per day.
Part of the cost comes from the amount of work required to create the dish. After the crocodile leg is cleaned, it is rubbed with alcohol and a mix of spices which include ginger, garlic and spring onion. It then is braised in the restaurant’s signature broth for two hours. Altogether, the whole process takes about three hours.
Chien told CNN Travel: “A lot of (customers) say crocodile meat tastes like that of chicken but more springy, soft and elastic. I think it tastes like braised chicken feet.
However, guests who want to make the trek to Witch Chat Kwai and try the dish will need to join the waiting list. Currently, Chien said the bookings are full through late August.
In Taiwan, it’s legal to farm and eat crocodiles that are not designated as protected species.
Can we eat crocodile meat in the UK?
While crocodile meat is not widely eaten in the UK as the waters are not crocodile-friendly, crocodile meat is considered a good alternative to other animals in other parts of the world as its breeding can be done without exposure to harmful chemicals.
In Thailand for example, some people are turning to consuming crocodile meat as an alternative protein source amid rising pork prices.
But because crocodiles are classified as reptiles, they could be contaminated with bacteria such as salmonella, which could cause diseases such as typhoid, diarrhoea and digestive disorders.
According to Thailand’s health expert Dr Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai, chefs should wash their hands and equipment every time before processing meat to avoid bacterial contamination, and avoid eating it raw.
He said: “Consumers should choose meat as a source of protein to suit their needs because the nutritional value and price of crocodile meat is not much different from that of other animal meat.”
The report says 100g of crocodile meat has 99 kilocalories of energy, 21.5 grams of protein, 2.9 grams of fat and 65 milligrams of cholesterol.