Writhing, twitching, flexing and wriggling this lobster looks like he's having one hell of a bad day. And things are about to get much worse - for his prison is a dinner plate, and he's about to be served up to a table of hungry Americans.

Known as ikizukuri - which roughly translates as "prepared alive" - this controversial Japanese delicacy has divided food critics as to whether it is an important custom or just plain cruel.


The live creatures are usually selected by customers from a sea-water tank, before being served up on a plate.

Fish is most commonly used in the practice, with octopus, shrimp and of course lobster, also being popular.

Bon appétit.

More questionable things to put in your mouth

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  • Stinkheads

    Most often made from salmon, the heads are lopped off, buried in the ground to rot, and dug up when the good bacteria has eaten the bad bacteria and the heads are safe enough to eat without killing you. Where it's commonly found: Alaska. <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/one-food-andrew-zimmern-doesn-t?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=zimmerns%2Bbizarre%2Bfoods" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see The One Food Andrew Zimmern Doesn't Like</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <strong>wiki / Ansgar Walk</strong>

  • Raccoon

    I have had them a hundred times and it's only been delicious on a few occasions. Most folks don't understand that they have to be skinned well to remove all the fat, twice cooked (braise, then roast), and you need to remove the stink glands under the arms. If you don't, well, it gets pretty ripe. Where it's commonly found: The South. <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/10-chain-restaurant-menu-items-you-must-try-and-where-try-them-slideshow#1?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=zimmerns%2Bbizarre%2Bfoods" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see 10 Chain Restaurant Menu Items You Must Try</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <strong>altrendo nature</strong>

  • Walking Taco

    Bags of corn chips filled with canned chili and fixings are a staple of fundraisers all across small town America. Some are good, most are inedible. Where it's commonly found: Smallville, USA. <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/10-iconic-fast-food-items-worth-eating-slideshow?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=zimmerns%2Bbizarre%2Bfoods" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see 10 Fast-Food Items You Must Eat Before You Die</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/88289328@N00/" target="_hplink"><strong>Flickr / leftrightclick</strong></a>

  • Pickled Pigs Feet

    I like em roasted, I like 'em boiled and pulled, I like 'em BBQ-ed, but pickled pigs feet is a tough sell in my house on a good day. Where it's commonly found: Gas station checkout counters. <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/which-us-airlines-still-offer-free-amenities-and-what-you-ll-get-slideshow?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=zimmerns%2Bbizarre%2Bfoods" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see Which US Airlines Still Offer Free Amenities</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/leff/" target="_hplink"><strong>Flickr / leff</strong></a>

  • Prairie Rats

    In the high desert of Arizona these critters are counted in the millions easy to trap, they are cooked whole or staked out to dry for jerky, survival school style. Where it's commonly found: Arizona. <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/video-where-get-deep-dish-pizza-chicago?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=zimmerns%2Bbizarre%2Bfoods" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see Where to Get Deep-Dish Pizza in Chicago</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <strong>iStockphoto / Thinkstock</strong>

  • Roasted Prairie Dogs with Cedar

    Cute as the dickens, and pretty tasty, too, but these little varmints are singed whole to remove the hair then stuffed with cedar boughs and roasted in the coals of the fire. Where it's commonly found: New Mexico. <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/zagat-ranks-best-airline-food?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=zimmerns%2Bbizarre%2Bfoods" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see the Best Airline Food as reviewed by Zagat</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <strong>wiki / Magnus Manske</strong>

  • Hot Dogs

    Freshly ground in a real casing with the requisite snap is awesome. Commodity dogs are made under a veil of secrecy. You do the math on that. Where it's commonly found: In your grocers meat section. <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/9-travel-apps-guide-you-destination-s-best-eats-1?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=zimmerns%2Bbizarre%2Bfoods" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see Top Travel Apps to Guide You to Destination's Best Eats</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <strong>Digital Vision</strong>