When you think of delicious Japanese snacks and Japanese candy we bet bugs don't come to mind! However repulsive bugs may seem to some they're commonly eaten across the globe! People don't seem to think they eat bugs in Japan either, and assume it would be something out of a Japanese Horror movie but however many misconceptions there are about Japan, there are some bugs that are really eaten here in Japan fairly commonly! Though don't worry, you wont be finding any of these in your TokyoTreat snack box!
Hachinoko are the larvae and pupae of wasps... yep wasps! But specifically yellow jackets! Yeah those rather large and mean looking ones! Yikes! They're also called "Hebo" in Gifu prefecture where they're predominantly harvested and eaten. They're usually prepared by simmering them in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sake and cooking rice wine. Apparently the best time to eat them is in Autumn and that they're particularly tasty on a bed of rice.
Rice grasshoppers or Inago are found commonly across Japan and are a pest too, so rather than using pesticides and chemicals to rid them, why not just eat them right? They're large at 4cm and a good source of protein too! They were more commonly eaten before WW2 but are still eaten in Tohoku region today. Some people say they taste like shrimp whilst others say they have a nutty taste! They're prepared the same way as hachinoko, then they're usually eaten as a side dish or snack.
Kaiko are the pupae of the Japanese silk moth and are a byproduct of silk production. After the silk that the caterpillars spin to produce their cocoons with is harvested the pupae are left over, so why not eat them! Apparently they have a strong flavour and even those who enjoy inago and hachinoko don't enjoy the stronger flavour of kaiko. They're prepared in a similar way to inago and hachinoko. Apparently they're common in Nagano prefecture.
Would you try any of these bugs? Or have you tried any? Let us know in the comments!
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