The history of eating bugs in Japan (with recipes)

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Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.

Sir, that’s a feature, not a bug.


Ooh, gross! Eating bugs! Not like here, where we eat normal things like crabs and lobsters.


Not to be waspish, but something about this cuisine really bugs me… just flies in my face and wigs me out. I just don’t find appealing the way these critters beetle their way into Japanese grub. I suppose when one has a locust-like hunger many more things seem tasty.




I was handed a saucer of nibbles at a room party at the 2007 Worldcon in Yokohama. I was halfway through them before someone mentioned that they were grasshoppers in sweet chilli sauce and not shrimp as I’d assumed. I paused for a moment, then finished them off. I’d eat them again.

On the other hand, though I liked the soup part of the silkworm soup I’d had in Seoul a few months before, I never cottoned to the actual silkworms.



Nothing prepares you for long distance running better than a belly full of insect babies!

Oh sure, until they start tunneling their way out.


I have had the silkworms a few times before, in a distant land known as Hoffman Estates, IL. (Big Korean population in that belt of suburbs near Chicago)

They are earthy and a little bitter in the aftertaste. Not terrible, but tastier when you are really hungry. They served them stewed with a lot of garlic and jalapenos, and indeed the soup was great.


I am told land arthropods are gloopier inside than sea-beetles. Is that true?

Not that I noticed at the time. But that could have been a case of feeling what I expected to feel, I guess.

What I really want to know is: are these things any good?

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In the south of Rio de Janeiro people eat flying ants.

I never had womething like this.

Or places where they eat the curdled secretions of bovines.


When I lived there, my boss invited me to dinner at his place, and one of the dishes was grasshoppers his parents had caught in their rice field. Pretty much anything is good if you simmer it in teriyaki sauce.

At one elementary school I taught at in rural Tohoku, their fundraiser involved sending all the kids out into the rice fields surrounding the school to catch huge quantities of grasshoppers, which the teachers then boiled up in big pots and sold to the local farmers.


was i the only person who went straight to, then, then google, then was sad that they couldn’t try them?


Personally I like the inago (grasshoppers). I first had them as beer snacks in the Nagano /Gunma region in a pub (izakaya). My ex-mother-in-law used to always have a dish of them on the table, along with the soysauce and salt shaker, and eager for grand-kids, she’d encourage me to put some on my breakfast rice as they are “great sources of calcium - needed for making little skeletons.” I buy them sometimes, even now, but I’ve never seen them in a can.


Obligatory Ashens video

I picture them being crispy fried like shoestring potatoes. I would eat them like that. :smiley:

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