A Japanese YouTuber recently sparked controversy by posting a video of himself cooking and eating a broth made with dozens of man-o-war jellyfish for his over one million subscribers.
Popular Japanese YouTuber ‘homosapi’ (ホモサピ) has been criticized as irresponsible for trivializing the cooking and consumption of one of the most dangerous marine organisms in the world, the Portuguese man-o-war. Commonly referred to as a jellyfish, the man-o-war is actually a marine hydrozoan, an organism made up of smaller units called ‘zooids’ which are genetically identical but perform different functions. It has been known to deliver a painful sting powerful enough to kill many animals, and occasionally even humans. It’s one of the last things you’d want to come close to, let alone eat, but hey, anything for views, right?
Photo: Andreas Schwind/Flickr (via Wikimedia Commons)
In his viral video, homosapi tells his fans that he had the ‘brilliant’ idea to see if man-o-war broth tasted as delicious as some daredevils who claimed to have tried it said. And since this was the kind of thing that was bound to get attention online, he decided to film the whole experience. After seeking out a beach where man-o-wars were known to be washed ashore, he and his friends went there and picked up some of the blue balloon-like creatures.
After washing them thoroughly, the YouTuber got to cooking, boiling the man-o-wars in water until they dissolved into a jiggly mass. He then cooked that jelly over an open flame for a few seconds before combining it with some veggies, sauces and what looks like MSG. He proceeded to eat the unusual dish and claimed it tasted a bit like scallops. He also reported no negative side effects.
Homosapi’s video got some negative effects from marine life experts who warned everyone against following the YouTuber’s example. While man-o-wars can technically be consumed, by boiling them long enough for their protein-based toxin to be neutralized, it is still very dangerous. If the cooking time and temperature are not long and high enough, respectively, the protein poison may not completely lose its toxicity.
Shuhei Ikeda, a jellyfish breeder at the Kamo Aquarium in Tsuruoka City, said that there is also a danger that the poison be inhaled via the fumes while cooking the man-o-wars. Even if not fatal, eating them can cause serious allergies and breathing problems.
Homosapi advised his viewers not to emulate his stunt, revealing that he had a health professional supervising him the entire time he interacted with the man-o-wars, just in case something went wrong.