This Bowl of Ramen Contains Bugs. It’s Also Eco-Friendly and Tastes Good.

This Bowl of Ramen Contains Bugs. It’s Also Eco-Friendly and Tastes Good.
Photo Credit: Bugs Farm

What you need to know

There’s more to the old line on insects as food — seemingly repulsive, but full of protein and nutrients.

The lists of ingredients that make up processed foods are something to marvel at. Insects, too are now increasingly commonplace in all kinds of cuisine.

A pioneer in introducing insects into mainstream dining was a restaurant in Japan, Antcicada, which uses crickets in their braised ramen — both in ground up form as a soup base and as a topping.

Following on the success of the Antcicada dish, a Japanese company, Bugs Farm, has introduced insect-based foods into the mass market. One of their leading products is “Insect Ramen.”

There’s more to the old line on insects as food — seemingly repulsive, but full of protein and nutrients. Insects are also an environmentally sustainable source of calories. Compared with raising livestock, there’s a very small fraction of carbon emissions. A typical serving of chicken is said to release 300 kg, pork, 1130 kg, and beef, 2850 kg. The equivalent in an insect dish amounts to only 1 kg of greenhouse gas added to the atmosphere.

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Photo Credit: Bugs Farm

As a source of protein that has a minimal effect on the climate, the consumption of insects has received support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Though the nutritional value of foods like Insect Ramen is without dispute, its spread may be limited by containing a compound — chitin — present in shellfish, a common source of allergic reaction. The taste can be generously described as earthy and natural, though those disinclined to like the insects might call it fishy. In broad strokes, it’s squarely within the genre of ramen dishes.

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Photo Credit: Bugs Farm

A grasshopper udon is also available from Bugs Farm, which notably contains whole, clearly identifiable grasshoppers. Many online commentators have attested to its fine taste, describing it as a ramen for all seasons, suitable as a cold noodle dish or in a hot soup.

Bugs Farm also sells the ingredients for home-made insect dishes. Experimental chefs may want to add clams or shrimp to the insects, for a sustainable, healthful take on surf and turf.

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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