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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Weird food: Suppon

Yesterday I had "suppon" for the first time in my life. Wikipedia tells me it is called "Chinese softshell turtle" in English, and it also tells me that it is a threatened species, so perhaps it would have been better not to eat it...

Anyway, suppon is considered fancy food here in Japan, so it is quite expensive. The place we went to took 10,000 yen per person for the food, drinks costing extra. It turned out to be quite a lot of food, though. We got one turtle, and apparently you can "eat all parts", so we got all parts.

At first, they had an aquarium with three turtles swimming around, and fished out one for us. They let us take photos, but touching was strongly discouraged. Apparently they bite. Then they went off to the kitchen to kill the little guy.

The first thing to appear on our table was a glass of turtle blood, mixed with wine. It tasted pretty much like wine.

Next, we got some starters, which were very nice. They did not seem to contain any turtle, but there was tofu, smoked duck, seaweed, etc. Typical Japanese stuff.

The next dish was turtle sashimi, so a plate with raw turtle meat. The taste was not that strong, and it did not taste like blood or the "bad" taste of raw meat. It was a lot chewier than fish sashimi, though.

Then some fried turtle (a leg, probably) appeared, seasoned with salt. There was also wasabi and horseradish to put on it. Taste was quite nice, but there were lots of small bones so it was like eating a more difficult version of chicken wings.

Almost at the same time we got the salt turtle leg we also got some deep fried (kara-age) turtle. Tasted a bit like deep fried chicken, but of course had more bones.

The main dish is the "nabe" (this being the Japanese word for "pot", and meaning boiling stuff in a big pot on the table with lots of vegetables and other things). All that remained of the turtle came out on a plate with some vegetables, mushrooms, noodles, etc.

The head

The claws

While the pot was boiling, we got a vinegar soaked turtle part. Possibly part of the shell or stomach. Very strange consistency, but not bad.

Once the pot had boiled for a few minutes, it was time to dig into the contents. The vegetables and the soup had a slight taste of turtle, but not that much. The meat was pretty good, though somewhat hard to eat. The turtle skin is "full of collagen and great for your skin". So it is a bit strange to eat.

There were all kinds of parts floating around in the pot, and since it was way too much food for the two of us, we left a lot. I did eat parts of the shell, some internal organ that may have been the liver, an eye, the tongue and other parts of the head.

Shell with a part removed by me for eating.


The head
The head without the tongue.
We also had rice and egg put in the pot to make the final rice based dish that is common with nabe-dishes in Japan. By this time, I had almost given up on eating (too full) but I had some and it was good.

Finally, there was also desserts. These were turtle free, though.


  1. Disgusting and snobbish!

    1. If you are used to Japanese food, it is not disgusting. But there are many other types of Japanese food that are much better (and many that are much more disgusting...).

  2. Does'nt suppon have side effects?

    1. In Japan, people tell me it is considered an aphrodisiac but other than that I have not heard of any side effects. While the turtle is still alive, they bite pretty hard, I was told, so at that stage you have to be careful, I guess.

  3. Can you tell us the name of the restaurant? Or perhaps more accurate location so I can find it easily?

    1. I think the restaurant is called "Beare". The address is Sapporo South 7 West 3, Apollo bld.