Eating Insects
Hi,
I guess that you would post this in your eating insects forum. I spent 8+ years in Japan. I learned (on my own) to enjoy insects as edible fare. The giant department stores there often sold large insects as pets. One type often sold was the larvae and adults of the giant Japanese Rhinoserious beetle (Tripoxylus Dichotomous) I used to buy the larvae (they look like humongouse garden grubs) and would boil them in water, before placing them in jars of alcohol to preserve them. (boiling them helps keep their natural white color when you pickle them.) Well, while boiling them, they smelled so good that I decided to eat some! Here’s what I did: After boiling, I would slice them open and remove the central gut with its digested wood. Then I would cut off the too-crunchy head and six legs. The remaining white body I would dip in hot, melted butter with lemon juice, and enjoy! Yum! The flavor is like a cross between escargot and frog-legs…a sweet, earthy flavor. I also enjoyed the sweet, white bodies of Brood-X, 2004 Periodical cicadas, just after they’re emerging from their underground nymphal shells. I would collect these and sauteé them in garlic butter. Cicadas are extremely clean insects, only drinking tree-juices, and have wonderful sweet flesh.
OK, heres another treat I enjoyed while living in Japan: Dragonfly thoraxes! There were billions of dragonflies flitting around all the ponds there and I netted dozens and dozens of them for my meals. Pop-off the heads, legs, wings, and abdomens, and the thorax is nothing but powerful wing-muscle meat…Extremely delicious and flavorful. Sauteé these in butter and enjoy the sweet, tender flesh which is true red-meat.
I have tried other commonly-eaten insects but don’t really like them: Grasshoppers have an ugly taste, as their guts are filled with their meals and their "spit" which is untasty to me. Ants tend to be sour, what with their formic acid and all. Caterpillars have a wierd taste, like the smell of brand-new rubber garden-hoses. However, Japanese silk-worm moth larvae are good, with their almost tea-like flavor. Remove the heads and six true-legs for a softer-fare. I DO recommend Tenebrio (domestic meal-worm beetle larvae and the larger "super-worm" Tenebriads) as they eat clean grains fed to them and have a sweet grainy taste. Delicious, cooked or sauteéd. Cut off their heads and legs to remove some of the "crunch". I have tried eating tarantulas too. But to me, only the ‘thorax’ portion is edible. The abdomen is filled with the silk-glands and these are too chewy with their liquid silk formula. The taste is quite earthy, but different from their 6-legged relatives. Very "escargot" in flavor, use the same butter formula to cook: Butter, Shallots, garlic, parsley, salt ‘n’ pepper to taste. Insects are quite edible if you can get over the "yuk factor" that is instilled in almost every American!
Fred

Hi Fred,
Thanks so much for your informative letter. If food prices continue to rise, eating insects might seem much more desireable.

3 Responses to Eating Insects in Japan

  1. Hi I found your post very interesting thank you very much. My name is Naotomo Umewaka and I am the production coordinator for this documentary for NHK World. My director is doing this documentary on Entomophagy in Japan. Showing that
    Entomophagy is good for your health, and that in the past Japanese were eating nothing but insects. However Japan slowly became westernized and most people do not eat it. It would be great to talk to you real quick on the phone, if you can provide me with your number I can explain to you very shortly about this project I would really appreciate it.

    Best regards,

    Naotomo

  2. Hi I found your post very interesting thank you very much. My name is Naotomo Umewaka and I am the production coordinator for this documentary for NHK World. My director is doing this documentary on Entomophagy in Japan. Showing that
    Entomophagy is good for your health, and that in the past Japanese were eating nothing but insects. However Japan slowly became westernized and most people do not eat it. It would be great to talk to you real quick on the phone, if you can provide me with your number I can explain to you very shortly about this project I would really appreciate it.

    Best regards,

    Naotomo

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