Thursday, September 3, 2020

コオロギラーメン (Cricket Ramen at Antcicada)


Antcicada is a gourmet restaurant that serves a course for dinner and ramen for lunch. The chef is my good friend Shota, a young guy who staged at Michelin starred restaurants in Japan, Denmark, and even the Faroe Islands. His first restaurant is up to those standards. Oh, and everything is centered around insects.

The shop officially opened in May, 2020, but I was lucky enough to try a pre-open dinner.

Rice cracker with bits of bugs.

The restaurant also focuses on fresh and foraged vegetables and herbs. One of the best things I ate in 2019 was this shirako (白子) wrap. Fish milt fried and served with dozens of fresh herbs from Chiba.

It takes over 100 crickets to make one bowl of ramen. They experimented with many recipes, like a 100% cricket broth, before settling on a blend of niboshi and cricket. The flavors are deep and complex. A bit earthy.

The crew behind Antcicada are all very nerdy about this endeavor. They've researched alongside universities things from an insect's diet to seasonal hormones to how fermentation affects these bugs. Crickets fed only sudachi citrus. River bug pheromones used in gin. Contained ecosystems with insects, plants, and fish. All of this goes into their spot.

As of August 2020, their shop is only open on weekends, and only serves ramen Sunday afternoon. Expect this to change, and expect another post about the actual shop in the next few weeks.

Official site here.

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