fish and chips
Linn MacKenzie

This Café Is Serving Charcoal Fish and Chips that Look Like, Well…

We’ll let you be the judge. Really, what does this plate remind you of?
fish and chips
Linn MacKenzie

We'll let you decide: what does this plate remind you of?

Poop. According to popular opinion — and we can’t help but agree — the Long Story Short Café in Melbourne, Australia, is serving activated charcoal fish and chips that look like a pile of human feces.

Never had we truly realized how disturbing the size and shape of fried fish (and chicken tenders, for that matter) really are until it was forcefully brought to our attention by the dark gray color of this café’s fried entrées. Customers of the café have described the dish as looking like “something you’d see at the bottom of a toilet.”

Others weren’t as couth with their descriptive imagery. “It looks like a burnt poo on a plate,” exclaimed one commenting customer on Instagram.

We bet you’re wondering what they did to make it look so unappealing, and why anyone would choose to order it despite its appearance. The batter is infused with activated charcoal — a trendy component of burnt residue that is rumored to have “detoxifying” health benefits. In actuality, however, the opposite is true — consuming charcoal doesn’t have any beneficial impact on your health at all, and instead inhibits the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Charcoal in food has even been shown to counteract the effects of birth control due to its ability to override ingested medication. Basically, you shouldn’t eat activated charcoal — it steals your nutrients.

We suppose that in this case, this effect could be somewhat benign. There isn’t a whole lot that’s nutritious about fish and chips, so if the charcoal prevents absorption of greasy fried batter and oils, that might be OK. However, activated charcoal has been known to cause indigestion and constipation alongside the nutrient blockage — meaning that it’s going to be a whole lot more difficult for this meal to look like it did going in while trying to get it to come out.

The café staff doesn’t mind, though. “At first it was hurtful, however it has become one of our most popular dishes … we cannot complain,” owner Ly Nguyen told Mashable.

This isn’t the first time the café has served something this eccentric. In previous iterations of their menu, they served “fairy floss dessert burgers” and “hot chocolate spheres” that morph into hot chocolate when you add warm milk.

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Still, this item seems to be the wackiest yet. Even their “glass noodle salad” made with black fungus doesn’t compare. Maybe it’s just because we’re confused Americans, but these plates scare us a little too much to sit down and eat.