TOKYO (Reuters) – With Japan under fire for plans to expand its whaling program, a fast food chain is offering a new product aimed at using up stocks from past hunts — whale burger.
The 380 yen ($3.50) slice of fried minke whale in a bun went on sale Thursday at Lucky Pierrot, a restaurant chain in the port city of Hakodate on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido.
“The taste and texture are somewhere between beef and fish,” said Lucky Pierrot manager Miku Oh. “People in Hakodate have a long history of eating whale, so customers are looking forward to trying it.”
Japan’s plan to expand its scientific whale hunt to an annual catch of 900 minke whales were dealt a blow Wednesday when the
International Whaling Commission passed a resolution at a meeting in
South Korea urging it to instead cut back on the catch.
“We are not going out to catch whales because we want to eat them, we are just using up meat from whales that have been killed for experiments,” Oh said.
Asked about customers’ reaction to the whale burgers, a worker at one of the restaurants said: “We get a lot of tourists here and even children who had never eaten it before said it was good. The grown-ups said the flavor made them nostalgic.”
Whale meat was a staple of school lunches in Japan before a moratorium on whaling was introduced in 1986. ($1=108.78 Yen)