You may have several questions. The first is likely: “Wait, what?” To which I would respond, “Yeah I uhhh… I don’t really know.”
Cool, now that that’s out of the way, we can get to your next question: “Can you even, like, eat Pokémon?” Damn straight you can eat Pokémon.
There was a plot point in one of the old video games where you have to stop Team Rocket (an organized crime syndicate with super rad monogrammed jumpsuits) from illegally poaching Slowpokes (an amphibious psychic bear) for their prized tail meat. I think there was some subtext about them being an aphrodisiac, but that went over eight-year-old me’s head.
Anyways, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of eating fictional pocket monsters for the better part of two decades. But until millions of grown adults started running around with their heads buried in their iPhones trying to snatch up rats that control the weather and fire-breathing horses, there was never an appropriate time to bring up the subject.
Since Pokémon is, against all odds, a primary concern for 21 million Americans, let’s indulge in some weird hypotheticals. These are—in my professional opinion—the 15 most potentially delicious Pokémon. (Only the original 151 were considered because there are more than a thousand now and that seemed hard.)
By my best estimation, Bellsprout is just a large, sentient squash blossom. Stuff one of those plant-monsters with ricotta and goat cheese, dip it in tempura batter, fry it to a crisp, slap some salsa verde on it, and that’s a $14 small plate from Mozza right there.
This may sound barbaric (PETA already has strong feelings about Pokémon) but you could totally cook Pidgeys like the French ortolan, where you drown a small songbird in armagnac before roasting it whole and eating the bones. Sure, the practice is so cruel that it’s been illegal for two decades and a priest once mandated that you eat it with a cloth covering your head to hide your shame from God—but this is about deliciousness, not ethics.
Go down South to Cajun country and you’ll find some super tasty turtle soup. You could theoretically use Blastoise or Wartortle for the same purpose, but one of America’s earliest turtle soup recipes recommends using smaller turtles to avoid the gaminess of more muscularly developed ones. Just in case you were wondering.
Ok, so there’s no real-life animal analogue for Lickitung, but it looks relatively mammalian, and its tongue is longer than its entire body, which means you could make lengua tacos for days. Some chile de arbol, onion, cilantro—boom. I bet Mexican food in the Pokémon universe was pretty garbage though.
Ditto is a wildcard. It can change forms to mimic any Pokémon, which would easily make it the most versatile pantry staple. But when it changes forms, would it actually taste like the Pokémon it changed into? Unclear—but still worth a mention on the list, just in case. In its nascent form—a pink amorphous blob—it would probably taste like the grossest flavor of taffy you’ve ever had. Even grosser than banana Laffy Taffy. And that’s pretty gross.
Gyarados is a 50-foot-long absolute nightmare of a creature; it’s the Leviathan of the Pokémon universe. But put that embodiment of fear itself in the hands of the right chef and you could have some serious unagi.
It’s a wild duck, which means it might not have enough subcutaneous fat to make a true confit. Your best bet would be aging and curing the breast, searing it super hot, and serving it rare. Here’s the best thing about Farfetch’d though—it’s always depicted with a leek that it uses to beat the shit out of other Pokémon, so it comes with its own aromatics. Solid value play there.
It’s just, like, a bunch of mean-mugging eggs. Scramble, fry, poach, hard-boil—dealer’s choice. They say each in a Pokéchefs toque represents a different way they can cook an Exeggcute.
Hamachi crudo has reached its saturation point on menus, making it the perfect time to introduce a new fish. Chefs could totally upsell Seaking by using the Japanese name and listing it as azumao, too. Think about it, if you saw azumao crudo on a menu you’d totally order it and pretend you knew what it was. “Yeah azumao is, like, a firm-fleshed Japanese white fish. Super mild,” you’d lie.
Look, I’m not going to pretend I have any idea what Slowpoke tail tastes like, but if it’s an important delicacy to the people in the Pokémon universe, then you should respect that. It being a fake universe doesn’t justify ethnocentrism.
You could make the biggest oysters Rockefeller in history with one of these monsters. Large-format Cloyster dishes would be the new cote de boeuf for two—they’d be revolutionary. That said, Cloysters are super defensive and their shells can’t even be opened using high-powered explosives, so good luck with a culinary school extern and an oyster shucker.
Snorlax seems to be some sort of bear-like creature. It might even be a ManBearPig. That’s not important. What is important is that it’s incredibly lazy, it spends most of its life sleeping (hence the name), and it’s constantly fattening itself up. Whatever animal this is supposed to be, it’s the Kobe beef of that animal, which means it’s going to be well-marbled and delicious.
You could turn that giant fighting claw into a giant eating claw real quick. Kingler’s pincer is as hard as steel, which would make cracking it open super annoying, but eating crab is always super annoying, so whatever. Cover it in Old Bay, steam it, and serve it with melted Miltank butter (bonus Pokémon reference) and you’re good to go.
They’re lean, active, and aggressive, so you won’t get the kind of intramuscular fat that you would on, say, a Snorlax tenderloin. But with Tauros, you’re not running the risk of eating what might be a humanoid. Like, Tauros is very clearly a cow, whereas Snorlax reminds you a little too much of yourself, you know? Anyways, raw preparations would work really well with Tauros—maybe a carpaccio, or even a tartare with a raw Exeggcute yolk on there.
Two words: foie gras. I’m not advocating force-feeding Psyduck—I’m not a monster—all I’m saying is, this is a duck who happens to be naturally chubby, and if there’s anything we know about chubby ducks, it’s that their livers taste great when emulsified with their own fat and spread on a piece of grilled bread. Maybe some fig mostarda too.