Insects & Bugs Gastronomy in Japan: Not for the Squeamish!

From bottom cntre clockwise:
Inago/locusts/いなご, Hachi no ko/bee larvae/蜂の子, Kaiko/Silk worms/蚕のさなぎ, Saza Mushi/Trichoptera/ザザ虫

All those interviews, reports and articles on vegetables farmers and their main enemies, namely insects, have reminded me of an article I ought to re-publish for my new friends!
These little critters have been eaten since time immemorial for their high content in animal proteins.
They definitely are an acquired taste, but escargots (snails), ecrevisses (crayfish) and cuisses de grenouille (froglegs) also are.
Don’t ask me if I like them or not, I’m just writing about them!


Locusts are generally eaten dry-fried, stir-fried, fried with soy sauce. mirin and sake, or

as tempura after having boiled them!
Pick your choice!

Kaiko/Silk worms/蚕

Like locusts, silk worms can be eaten after having stewed them in soy sauce, mirin, sake and spices.

They are even found as sushi!

They are popular just dry-fried, making for a crsipy snack!
It is said that a single silk worm has the protein equivalent of three chicken egg yolks!

Hachi no ko/bee larvae/蜂の子

Bees or more aptly honey bee larvae have been eaten all over the world since men (animals) prowled our planet.
They are of course sweet and healthy (yes!), so it is only a matter of finding a way to make them look appetizing.
They are very popular deep-fried (see picture above) in Japan,

where they are also stewed with soy sauce, mirin, Japanese sake and of course, honey!

Saza Mushi/Trichoptera/ザザ虫

Now, these are real buggers/critters (how about feeding them to spammers? LOL)!
The plate above features: カワゲラ/kawagera, トビゲラ/tobigera and ヘビトンボ/hebitonbo. Could not find their names in English!

They have been “popular” in Japan for a long time. Most are caught near rivers in clean areas (!).
They are cooked/stewed in mirin, Japanese sake and soy sauce for a long time, I cantell you!


Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

8 thoughts on “Insects & Bugs Gastronomy in Japan: Not for the Squeamish!”

  1. I’m usually an open minded gourmet. I love black pudding (boudin), tripe, raw oysters, frog legs, snails (I looooove snails!), but here I’m not sure. I would probably taste the grilled crunchy ones but silk worms…. not sure about it. Although the first photo is very appetising! I had no idea the Japanese liked insects and worms.


  2. Hi Robert-Gilles – Kawagera are known as “stoneflies”, I’m not sure about the others, but I’m guessing they’re members of the same family.

    I’ve gotta say – I don’t think I could stomach those… any of them. The sushi photo just about did it for me 😥


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