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Last night I went to a work-related dinner with foreign guests, and my students did the stereotypical ’80s Japanese thing of subjecting the foreigners to every gross food that Japanese people eat, without warning. Uterus, raw octopus with horseradish, frogs legs, stewed guts, grilled chicken skin, pickled plums, some kind of tiny fish that tastes like socks… and inago, grilled grasshopper. Me being one too many sheets to the wind (and having secret theories about the morality of insect eating), I tried it.

Inago is actually very good. It is sweet-salty, crunchy and bite sized. I was expecting some kind of gross prawn-brain flavour that needs to be washed down with beer (and carries the attendant risk of an explosion of fishy aftertaste, that the Japanese call namakusai and appreciate). It has none of these things, so is vastly superior as a beer snack to either dried squid or deep fried whole peawns. I recommend grasshopper, though I can’t vouch for the effect of eating a whole bowl.

If you want to try this “delicacy,” the old-fashioned restaurant chain Hanbei (半兵ヱ?) sells them, and has an english menu. There is one in Shibuya near the station. Good luck!

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