Insect food as it should be.
Not long ago we told you about the release of Konchu Sour, an alcopop with the good taste of giant water bugs. Back then, I praised the makers of Bugs Farm for creating insect-based food that doesn’t require people to swallow a giant rhinoceros beetle whole.
So now I decided to put my money in my mouth and try a few. However, I didn’t stop there and ended up getting a whole range of insect-based foods and drinks from Bugs Farm to make a full meal.
The centerpiece of this feast are the two packages of ramen: a salt broth ramen made with grasshoppers and one cricket ramen soy sauce broth. Either way, the noodles and soup contain a fair amount of their respective insects, only ground up and mixed together like flour.
▼ “The soup mix contains about 15 grasshoppers.”
That’s the Bugs Farm guarantee!
They are incredibly easy to make too. The noodles only need about three minutes to boil, and the soup mix doesn’t take long either. You can have a piping hot bowl of grasshopper soup ready about the same time it takes to make a cup of noodles.
▼ Each packet contains two packets of soup mix and enough noodles for two bowls.
As a side dish, I made three cups of Chuchazuke which is an insect version of chazuke, a soup-like rice dish made by pouring tea or soup broth over rice. Each had a different flavor: Cricket & Mealworms, locustand Silk moth cocoon, ant and grasshopper.
These are also quite easy to make. Simply add a teaspoon to hot water and pour over cooked rice. Unlike ramen, these powders do have bits of bugs in them, but they’re pretty small and didn’t put me off at all.
▼ Silk moth cocoon, ant and grasshopper
▼ Crickets & Mealworms
It reminds me, I still need to see this again Dunes film.
For drinks, I prepared a cup of silkworm poo teawhose name pretty much says it all.
Inside the packet are individual tea bags filled with silkworm poop…I guess. I’ve never seen silkworm poop before, but I can’t imagine what else it would be like.
And finally, of course, no bug meal is complete without a tall, frosty glass of Sour Konchu.
Since that’s what got me into this whole mess, I decided to toast my health and take a sip.
It was surprisingly good! But also weird.
Considering the main ingredients were giant water bug extract, brewer’s alcohol and sugar, I wasn’t expecting such a frank and fruity flavor. It had a strong lemony feel with a hint of something like coconut and another hard-to-describe flavor. It’s kind of “leather” for lack of a better word.
Then I took a sip of Silkworm Poo Tea, but I have to admit I’m not much of a tea drinker. Honestly, it tasted like most other cups of tea I’ve had.
There was very little weirdness other than what it was made of, and it had a sweet, leafy flavor like most teas tend to have.
▼ Is it luck when your poop stands?
Moving on to the Chuchazuke, I first took a dollop of Cricket flavor. According to the jar, it has a “windy nutty feel with a slight hint of insectiness.” Personally, I thought he had a pleasantly salty tasteand although I assumed the little dark colored bits were cricket, I felt like I was eating seaweed for the most part.
Next was the Cricket & Mealworm. A long time ago I had a pet water dragon and always fed it these little beetle larvae, but I had never tried any myself until now.
The jar said it tasted like shrimp, but this one didn’t blow me away to be honest. I found it to be a bit bland. That being said, I generally find chazuke bland since it’s often made with tea, and I think I clarified my point about tea earlier.
So that way it might appeal more to conventional chazuke fans. However, another issue was that I sometimes felt something prick my tongue, which I assumed was the shell of the mealworms. It wasn’t horrible, but something I could probably do without.
Finally, I tried the Silk Moth Cocoon, Ant, & Grasshopper flavor, which according to the label has a corn and lemon flavor.
It was by far the best. It had a bright flavor that was salty and sour, and the more complex mixture of bugs added a nice texture to the mix, but again, there were no whole bugs staring you in the face, so it was all quite palatable.
▼ I mean, of course, there is everything cocoonsbut they don’t have faces.
Finally, it was time to try the ramen. I had some of the Salt Grasshopper Ramen first and it was quite good. The texture of the noodles was very tender and smooth, and the soup broth had a very firm salty flavor.
The soy sauce cricket ramen was a bit bland though. The noodles were also nicely textured, but the soup didn’t have the same kick as Salt Grasshopper’s. That being said, I ate them both plain to get a clear idea of their flavor, so this one would probably be better suited for adding lots of toppings like bean sprouts, pork, or eggs.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any standard ramen ingredients on hand at the time, so I just threw in some crackers and a secret weapon I kept up my sleeve.
Bugs Farm also manufactures cricket salt! It is a seasoning blend with a main ingredient of ground crickets for an extra protein boost. I’ve actually tried this over rice before and it was awesome, so maybe it could do some magic here too. It mostly tastes like salt but has nutty tones for a rounder taste.
Unfortunately, that didn’t do much to brighten up Cricket Soy Sauce ramen at the time. However, on a later attempt, I added cucumbers, pork, kimchi, and other toppings, and it improved the ramen experience significantly.
So despite all the poop and bugs involved there was actually nothing remotely gross about this food.
That being said, none of this has tried to pass itself off as non-bug food either. I occasionally noticed a wing here and there, but it got me thinking about the difference there really is between an insect wing and a leaf of a vegetable, and – by extension – between a mealworm and a shrimp.
My personal recommendation would be the Konchu Sour and Salt Grasshopper Ramen with a side of Silk Moth Cocoon, Ant and Grasshopper Chuchazuke. Cricket salt is also a great all-purpose seasoning to add to any dish you like.
Either way, if the current environmental situation continues to call for more insect-based foods, then Bugs Farm is definitely ahead of the game with these highly palatable foods.