A 26-year-old office worker from the western prefecture of Hyogo named Takumi Yamamoto was having his vacation in Tokyo and had his special meal that day. It was a bowl of cricket curry and silkworm sashimi that was washed with a water bug cider. The name of the restaurant was Take-Noko cafe, a restaurant that sells various menus of insect dishes.
Yamamoto himself has enjoyed buggy dishes since he was still a kid. One of the buggy dishes he usually eats is soy-sauce basted grasshoppers.
“It’s fun to select from a wider variety of dishes,” Yamamoto said. “Everything was tasty. In particular, the water bug cider was quite refreshing and delicious, like a green apple.”
The owner of the insect restaurant is Takeo Saito. Saito started his exotic food and beverage business 9 years ago under the name ‘Takeo Inc’. And now, the business has developed rapidly into more than 60 types of arthropod treats, 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 explained.
The demand for entomophagy, the term for eating insects, has been increasing as time goes by after the United Nations concluded that bugs are the sustainable source of protein to be consumed. They predicted that bugs can meet about 9.7 billion of the population’s protein needs by 2050.
These days, billions of people still think that bugs are a really gross thing to consume. While Japan has a lot of culinary history of bugs like grasshoppers, silkworms, and wasps as a source of food.
But besides the negative stigma of insect-eating, a lot of people have a big interest in trying out the dishes in Take-Noko cafe. Miura, the manager of the restaurant, said that the restaurant is often fully booked on weekends.