Takumi Yamamoto chose an exclusive meal with cricket curry and silkworm sushi and washed down with a drink made of water bugs.
The office worker located in the western region of Hyogo is among many consumers worldwide who have shown an interest in eating entomophagy, which is the act of eating bugs, as insects are becoming a more sustainable food source.
As a youngster, Yamamoto said he sometimes ate soy-sauce-basted grasshoppers. In Tokyo, Yamamoto would indulge in food made from insects at the Take-Noko cafe, which celebrates everything buggy.
“It’s fun to select from a wider variety of dishes,” Yamamoto declared in the cozy cafe on the second floor, surrounded by insects and terrariums filled with flying beetles, ants, and Cockroaches.
“Everything was delicious. Particularly the water bug cider was tasty and refreshing, just like the green apple.”
Crocodile Ramen is Taiwan’s newest food trend.
Entomophagy was first taken seriously worldwide following when the United Nations deemed bugs a viable source of protein that could supply a worldwide population expected to grow to 9.7 billion in 2050.
The impacts of the livestock industry’s impact in influencing climate changes, combined with issues related to global food security caused by extreme weather and conflicts, have also heightened the demand for the premium and cost-effective food that bugs can provide.
Although some people think eating insects is disgusting, Japan has a rich tradition of eating insects for food.
Silkworms, grasshoppers, and wasps were a diet staple in landlocked regions where fish and meat were scarce. This custom grew in popularity during food shortages after and during World War II, said the manager of Take-Noko Michiko Miura.
“Recently, there have been advances in rearing things like crickets and mealworms for food, so the possibility of using insects as ingredients is really growing,” she said.
Numerous companies, including National bakery Pasco and others, have offered cakes and snacks made from cricket flour. They also the maker of processed food Nichirei, along with the telecom Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, have invested in bug ventures over the last year.
Tagame Cider is a carbonated drink made from the water extract of giant bugs. It is garnished with dried versions of an insect.
The expression “crickets” became popular in Japanese media after reports that powdered insects are used in school lunches and snacks.
Consumers’ interest has also been expanded to Take-Noko. Manager Miura states that it is typically booked during weekends.
The curry is studded with crickets that are meatball-shaped, as well as dried garnish. Its exquisite “sashimi” is the left-over silkworm casing. The cider is flavored with water bug extract and is topped with an entire insect that is said to taste like shrimp.
The restaurant was the idea of Takeo Saito, the founder of his own company, Takeo Inc, nine years ago. It has since expanded to include a packaged food industry offering more than 60 kinds of arthropod food, ranging from scorpions to Tarantulas.
“Our aim is not for insects to be something separate, but to be enjoyed at the same table as vegetables, fish, and meat,” Saito said. Saito.