Turtle meat has been eaten in Japan for centuries and was eating by royalty in olden days. In the past, suppon, which is soft-shell turtle, was mostly served to men because of its supposed power to increase sexual performance. However, because of a recent find that turtle meat and blood contains a lot of collagen, women have been flocking to these restaurants by the dozens. Restaurant owners have claimed that women rave about the benefits of suppon on their skin, saying their skin is so much brighter and healthier-looking the day after eating suppon. Think of it as an expensive facial that you can also eat, much like a day at the spa with lunch included. Eating suppon came from China, where it has been considered a medicine for thousands of years. In fact, many Japanese doctors recommend suppon to cancer patients because of its high nutrition and many health benefits.
At a suppon restaurant, you can start with a drink of suppon sake or plum wine, which is mixed with the blood of the turtle (suppon). Or you can order shots of suppon blood or green suppon juice (I’m not sure where the green color comes from). While you are enjoying your drink, you will then be presented with suppon eggs (which are yellow) as a starter, followed by suppon liver, intestine, and even deep fried turtle claws or paws (whatever you want to call them). The main course is suppon nabe, which is served in a big iron pot. No parts of the suppon are wasted, except for the shell.
The turtles which are eaten are usually bought from a turtle farm, where they are raised for 5 years in order to reach 1.2 kilograms.
Famous restaurants in Kyoto serving this cuisine are Daiichi and Kyogaki. Try some if you dare...