"Dare You to Eat" Japanese Vending Machines
Vending machines could be one of the "tourist attractions" in Japan, don't you agree? They have pretty much everything you need from their unique vending machines. For examples, umbrellas, T-shirts, canned tomato slurry, eggs, lettuce, personalized seals, board games, toys for sure or even sex toys, just name it. So, it's pretty normal that they sell you bug treats.
As you can see, they have quite a wide range of variety of insects choices. You can buy from simply roasted worms, pupae, rhino beetles, spiders, scorpions to chocolate costed grasshoppers, bug kebabs crickets energy bars and more.
They are not cheap though. A bug kebab stick costs 1400 yen (around HK$104) and a pack of Jungle Trial Mix including 3 types of jungle mixed bugs costs 2700 yen (around HK$201).
These weird foodies origin are from Thailand while the other label Mog Bug is a Japanese brand created to promote interest in insect food. The insect snacks vending machines exist in several major cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and more.
Some YouTubers have been unboxing and tasting different kinds of insect snacks. To be honest, I dare not to try. However, according to the below YouTuber, he seems to quite enjoy his bug.
When it comes to food sustainability and the shortage of food, the conversation often turns to alternative resources for humans to fulfill their nutritional needs. These machines were launched in November 2018 to raise the customers' awareness in insect treats.
Nikkei Trendy magazine’s reputable annual rankings “Top Trends of 2021” has placed cricket-based foods the fifth on the list. Last year MUJI also partnered with Tokushima University in developing the snack’s recipe. It’s made with powdered crickets that are kneaded into the mix. According to MUJI, crickets have a fragrant flavor close to that of shrimp which is convincing enough to Muji that has made a step to create their very own cricket crackers.
The newly developed product Cricket Cracker launched on its Japanese online store in May last year, and unexpectedly they are all sold out within the day. Although Muji expanded the distribution, the crackers are still constantly out of stock.
If insect snacks is not your choice, perhaps you can try Japanese insect sushi. "Oishi~"