Insects are finding their way onto plates in Japan.
I am a fairly fearless eater. I’ve dined on boiled goose blood and fish bladders in Hong Kong, llama pate in Chile, and fermented whale meat on the Faroe Islands — although I draw the line at Greenland’s seal-and-blubber soup. Upon hearing that the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo had recently started offering insect snacks at the Mandarin Bar, I immediately wanted to taste them.
Cooking with bugs is a fairly recent fad among top fine-dining restaurants around the world. In 2012, U.S. chef Jose Andres made headlines for introducing grasshopper tacos at his Washington, D.C. restaurant Oyamel, while Brazilian chef Alex Atala popularized the trend by topping dishes with Amazonian ants that taste of lemongrass at D.O.M. in Sao Paolo. In Copenhagen, Noma’s Rene Redzepi regularly dispatches foragers to collect the citrusy wood ants he uses to garnish steak tartare. More recently, Tokyo chef Zaiyu Hasegawa of Jimbocho Den has adopted the idea by crowning his signature garden salad with a single ant from Chiba Prefecture.
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