Would you eat cricket ramen? In Japan it is reality
Antcicada in Tokyo, Japan is a restaurant where the young chef passionate about entomophagy offers a tasty and unusual ramen… with crickets.
Yuta Shinohara lives in Tokyo , is 26 years old and has two great passions: for insects and for cooking. He is not a professional chef, but he knows how to be appreciated. And it’s also gaining growing notoriety thanks to its cricket ramen . Which seems to be very tasty indeed.
A boy of the earth
Yuta Shinohara defines himself as ” a boy of the earth “. During his childhood he spent most of his time in the fields, in the company of cicadas and grasshoppers. His attraction towards these creatures prompted him, one day, to eat them. And since then it has never stopped, on the contrary it has broadened the range of tastings. For a long time this habit remained a secret: “ I couldn’t tell anyone that I love insects and have eaten them since I was around 20 years old. I was afraid of being considered strange and becoming a victim of bullying ”. Then he took courage in both hands and came out into the open. Growing up, Yuta became an expert in entomophagy– also holds conferences and workshops – and has specialized in that sector of the kitchen that sees insects as protagonists. Revealing talent and creativity.
After having worked for numerous restaurants, last spring he opened his own, Antcicada , in the Chuo Ward district of Tokyo , which exclusively offers food and drinks based on insects, especially crickets . And his own invention, cricket ramen , has caught the general attention.
The ingredients of cricket ramen
The idea of the Antcicada restaurant materialized through crowfunding and the participation of some friends of Yuta Shinohara (including cooks, brewers, farmers and writers) who immediately believed in this project. The inauguration was set for last April, but it had to be postponed for a few weeks due to the Covid-19 emergency.
Anyway, now the place is operational and the number of customers who decide to try the daring ramen is constantly increasing. To serve 100 bowls, you need 10,000 crickets ; the other ingredients can be traced back to traditional recipes: white noodles, bamboo shoots, pork loin, soy sauce, olive oil. The crickets, before ending up in the bowls, are roasted . And they say that the final result also has a very tempting smell.
Emergency food? No, delicacies
That of eating insects is age-old habit that is common in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania. In the West, on the other hand, it is considered a sort of taboo, but many are trying to break down these prejudices by explaining that insects are a precious source of proteins and minerals and that they could also contribute to fighting world hunger. In the latter respect, Yuta Shinohara’s point of view is different. He doesn’t consider them an emergency food, but real delicacies. And he feels invested with a very specific mission: “ I want to introduce the joy of eating insects, so that insects are respected in the same way as animals and plants ”.