One Japanese restaurant passes through hundreds of prawns a day – and now serves heads with beer.
Head up on a platter, John the Baptist, spicy and crispy with a hint of grease. There are 10 of them, each covered with cornstarch and fried, and stacked in a kind of holocaust. On the side, salt and sesame seeds for dipping, if you drink, beer. From a distance, spiders can be in mortators. Or facehuggers of exotic.
The chef who brought the dish captures his head. “I mean, they’re disgusting, in fact, that’s what they are,” he says, yet he walks the thing across the board to show me how to eat bottom feeders.
If you can ignore the optics, they taste much better than they look. Less paper and more by-product in the city of Koya, in London – the wonderful Japanese fast food restaurant known as udon noodles – the heads are offcuts, the thing you usually chuck.
But as Koya goes through hundreds of prawns every day, it makes sense to save them and remove the juices – an amazing and wonderful pleasure sometimes loved by the Spaniards – to fry at 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit) and turn them into a high snack bar. They were offered outside the menu, but could stay there for a long time only. It is now only offered in the evening, with beer, and sold very quickly. At £ 6.90, they work at 70p per head.
The tail to the tail – or to the tail, whatever you call it – is a happy side effect of a torn economy and the temptation to turn food into an acceptable place to show respect for the animals we eat by not wasting any of its parts. . Although this taste is great, it is actually about the texture, about the bite of the legs like twigs, almost the mouth chopping because they are sharp. It is muscular food, but it has been thoroughly accomplished.
Chefo Oda, the chef, says frying is like a trick to make things dim, and in this case, cornstarch that creates the crisis. Even when they cool down, they keep a tip, which means it is perfect as a snack with your Kirin beer in local Isakaya.
The menu at Koya falls across different parts of the shrimp dissection, but to keep things in the family, I ask for some shrimp tempura.
The shrimp find in the large tempura is misleading. In fact, each is 20 cm (8 inch) long, but cut, with tendons and cord cut, otherwise they wrinkle when cooked. Oda believes there is a great chance that I will eat the body of a boss.
I have tried some unusual bodies in my time: chicken feet, a scoop of fried and served in soy sauce, ants cooked three ways. Shrimp heads are still a gimmick, but when they are cooked this way, you wonder why they are not the norm.