Anyone living in or even visiting Japan will likely have come across a certain ghastly, grey, gelatinous substance.

In most cases, local people are at a loss to answer the questions that inevitably follow. An enigma of the food world, konnyaku is either loved or detested. There is no in-between.

This mysterious food is derived from the corm (the bulbous underground stem) of the konjac plant, which goes by such intriguing monikers as "devil's tongue," "voodoo lily," "elephant yam" and "snake palm." Hints, perhaps, to the nature of the consequent product.