Tired of sushi standbys like tuna and salmon? An annual event in Tokyo recently served up mealworm nigiri and black wasp gunkan, plus a host of other bug-based foods and drinks.

In many ways, Tokyo is a food-lover’s paradise. Aside from all the amazing Japanese cuisine the city has to offer, you can also find restaurants serving up great pizza, hamburgers, tom yam kung, and even bahn mi. But only those with the widest of palates were in attendance at last Monday’s sixth annual Tokyo Bug-Eating Festival.

Held at a fashionable venue in the city’s Tamachi neighborhood, the event’s fare was a little less traditionally elegant. Nevertheless, adventurous eater and Japanese Twitter user @otouhutaishou was up for the challenge, and made her way through a number of the delicacies available, such as curry with Turkestan cockroaches.

There was another roach-related menu item too: the grilled green banana cockroach skewer. But we all remember what our parents told us growing up, don’t we? If you fill up on roaches, you won’t have any room for the stewed hornet larvae shabu shabu.

▼ Which reportedly goes great with citrus-based ponzu dipping sauce.

But nothing had more visual impact than the bug sushi, which a chef was freshly forming right there on the premises.

Just as sushi restaurants stock a variety of ingredients, so too was this station equipped with a number of different bugs to put atop morsels of vinegared rice. Diners could choose from locust, mealworm, green banana cockroach, silkworm pupa, or black wasp.

▼ Mealworm nigiri (left) and black wasp gunkan (right)

For those looking for a snack instead of a main dish, options included rice crackers with bugs mashed into the dough and little Ziploc bags of mealworms and peanuts.

▼ If you’re sharing with a friend, remember: It’s poor form to only eat the peanuts.

One of the most unusual items on offer, though, was this.

Sure, it looks like a glass of water, and that’s because it is a glass of water

mixed with giant water bug extract.

▼ The secret ingredient!

MK 1

While giant water bug (or lethocerus deyrollei, to use the scientific name) extract is flavorless, it has a sweet smell, not unlike pear, that influences how the drinker perceives the taste.

Unfortunately, such an extensive meal meant @otouhutaishou had no room left over to sample the mixed plate of fried cricket, mealworm, and Japanese grasshopper, nor the silkworm tea, but with any luck they’ll be available at next year’s Tokyo Bug-Eating Festival.

Source: Togetter via Jin
Insert image: Wikipedia/Finavon