If it is big and black, you’re probably getting lunch at the Bistro inside of Japan’s IKEA. At least that is what the company hopes you’re thinking after sampling their newest menu offering. As part of an anniversary extravaganza to celebrate the store’s ten years in the country, an award-winning chef decided to come up with a bold flavor choice to get people talking. He has succeeded, although the buzz has not been entirely favorable.
The creation is called a Ninja Dog because its appearance is similar to a ninja scroll. In feudal Japan, ninja scrolls contained the secret teachings of the famed martial artists. However, aside from some similarities in color and length, there is nothing secret about the new food. While some of the ‘black’ edibles in Japan are created by the addition of squid ink, the IKEA Ninja Dogs are darkened with all natural bamboo charcoal. Both the bun and hot dog are coated with the substance, which has properties that allow it to remove toxins from the body. As a result, bamboo charcoal is often prescribed to those suffering from food or chemical poisoning. A cure for food poisoning is not the mental association you want to create for people about to eat food from a furniture store.
Unlike the other products at the Swedish furniture giant, no assembly is required for the Ninja Dog. It comes topped with ketchup, mustard, and jalapeños. The condiments are heavily distributed across the nearly foot-long dog (30 cm). For that much ninja, the price is a reasonable $3. Even with such a fantastic deal, many commentators on social media complained about the color and texture. The bamboo charcoal also adds a bitter flavor to the meat and some customers have noted that the charcoal dust caused them to choke while swallowing. One reviewer compared it to the spoon of cinnamon challenge. Unsurprisingly, as is the case with most food, others have praised the Ninja Dog as an innovative culinary delight. The item remains on the menu through the end of the year.