Video caption Paining of animals plays out before unsuspecting diners at Tokyo’s Kuaka Uchida Vegan restaurant
Trickle-down theory gets its high point in a new eatery in Tokyo where morbidly obese customers stuff holes in the flesh of real humans, then send it up a flame and barbecue it, garnished with white curry and dulce de leche.
If that doesn’t raise your eyebrows, imagine what it must have been like for the man who was stuck with the skinned head of a corpse all these years.
Renowned for his anatomy and gastronomy, chef Akatsuki Abe has made a career out of dishing up colourful and stomach-churning designs at a Sainsbury’s supermarket in the city.
But even the burly chef didn’t see anything too shocking about the skinned heads of slaughtered animals queued up on a neon-lit dining table at the Kuaka Uchida Vegan restaurant in Shibuya.
What really makes them stand out is their synthetic flesh.
“This is my venture into the unconventional side of food,” Abe said at the restaurant, where a visiting media team were dining before the service started.
“Nowadays we can have vegan food or meat without waiting for the meat to be perfectly tenderised.
“They were packaged in plastic before we came along, which is why they were white.
“But they only took around 15 minutes to flesh out so we wanted to set the food on fire to burn them.
The restaurant uses the skinned heads of slaughtered animals to make vegan meat
“And they have a soft texture to them, so it’s got a similar taste to beef.”
The faux ‘meat’ is never a hamburger for anything other than the animals.
“The restaurant is always closed, but I make them for friends and customers,” Abe said.
“You never get to eat them and it’s a pain for the animal, but it seems like a treat for the chef.”
And it’s not just the restaurant that makes it fun.
The vegetable-based meat is treated differently to the ones that do come from the animal’s flesh, so are not regarded as being much worse than plastic surgery, which leads to the skin on the faux head ending up blonder.
What’s in a name?
Abe might be one of the most creative chefs in the world and his employees happy to indulge him – but the owner makes him do it in the name of sustainability.
“We all agree that the use of animal protein is actually a very wasteful way of using it,” Sakusho Uchida said.
“Meat must be made to be sustainable, both for the animal and society.”