Waiter, There’s a Cricket in my Soy Sauce!

Waiter, There’s a Cricket in my Soy Sauce!

Japanese haute cuisine restaurant Antcicada has long practiced the bugs-as-food philosophy that we’ve been looking at recently. Foodies rave about their cricket ramen, made with two kinds of local crickets, in which “[n]oodles, sauces and oils were also developed […] to express the charm of crickets in various ways.” At their new permanent Tokyo location, you can even wash down the umami-rich soup with their in-house cricket beer! 
Antcicada is now poised to reach even further into Japanese cuisine with a new collaboration with traditional miso manufacturer Noda Miso Co.: a “soy” sauce that has no soy in it at all, but instead uses as its base — three guesses — crickets! Noda Miso president Yoshinari Noda came up with the idea after developing cricket miso five years ago, after a student in one of his miso-making classes asked if it was possible.
“Noda, an avid traveler who had tried insects overseas, found the bugs rich in protein, like soybeans. […]

The two-spotted cricket, which has a ‘strong savory and aromatic flavor,’ and the house cricket, characterized by its ‘delicate and elegant taste,’ were used.

The crickets were provided by a start-up company in Tokushima Prefecture and another Japanese company.

The insects were pulverized into powder and treated with rice malt and salt in wooden buckets at Noda Miso Syoten. No soybeans were used in the production.

‘The flavor makes a difference,’ said Noda, referring to the finished soy sauce. ‘I cannot come up with any good descriptions of the flavor other than “cricket-like,” but it resembles that of nam pla and other kinds of fish sauce.’”
As we’ve seen in this space before, much is being made of crickets and insects as a protein alternative to meat. But Antcicada and Noda Miso’s collab is the first time I’ve seen flavour as the main selling point. It’s an interesting (and to me, far more appealing) approach! I wonder how long we’ll wait before that attitude — and possibly this soy sauce — make it to our shores?