Soy sauce made from crickets in Aichi Prefecture

Aichi Prefecture is recognized for its unique and complex cuisine called Nagoya Meshi, in which Hatcho Miso, a crimson sauce prepared solely from soybeans, is considered the “heart” of Nagoya Meshi. Recently, a long-time miso maker in Aichi Prefecture was impressed with the idea of manufacturing miso and soy sauce (醤油 – Shoyu) from insects, broadening the cuisine here.

100 ml of this soy sauce requires 480 crickets and costs 10–20 times more than soy sauce made from soybeans.

Soy sauce from Koorogi Shoyu crickets in Aichi Prefecture. Photo: japantoday

The creation process of soy sauce created from crickets

Established in 1928, miso company Noda Miso Shoten in Aichi Prefecture is noted for producing miso using traditional wooden tanks with an output of up to 2,000 tons per year. Not stopping there, Noda Miso Shoten has started aiming to create miso from crickets and grasshoppers in 2017.

This concept started from a query raised by a student in the Miso class of 4th generation president Noda Yoshinari, 36 years old. Six years ago, Noda began miso-making lessons and received an inquiry from a student asking if it was feasible to produce miso from insects. As a travel aficionado and also having tasted numerous insects abroad, he discovered them to be rich in protein, similar to soybeans, the key ingredient in Hatcho Miso. Insect eating is seen as a solution to food shortages in various regions of the world. So, he started exploring the manufacturing of miso from crickets and grasshoppers in 2017.

The delicately flavored cricket was chosen as the Koorogi Shoyu. Photo: PR Times

In 2019, Noda offered miso from insects at an event for young entrepreneurs. There, he met the people of the Antcicada restaurant in the Chuo neighborhood of Tokyo, which is famed for its cricket ramen. Previously, this restaurant also explored generating soy sauce from crickets, so they asked to join with Noda in researching and producing a new sort of soy sauce.

Crickets are crushed to prepare soy sauce. Photo: PR Times

After study and testing, starting in January 2020, the plan to bring cricket soy sauce to the market was planned, and in September 2020, the first batch of products was formally introduced to consumers. used as “コオロギ醤油 – Koorogi Shoyu”.

To manufacture a 100-ml bottle of Koorogi Shoyu, you need 480 crickets, and the tax-inclusive price of the product is 1,640 yen, 10 to 20 times costlier than soy sauce prepared from soybeans. However, if increasing bug consumption leads to an increase in cricket production, the cost of this commodity can be cut.

“Using soybeans as Miso helped me learn that soybeans are a terrific ingredient that balances protein and fat content,” Noda Yoshinari remarked. “However, now that I’ve employed crickets to produce Miso and Shoyu, I’m free to experiment with other substances besides soybeans.”

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Koorogi Shoyu items made from crickets are salty and aromatic. The crickets utilized have moderate, delicate flavors and are given by Gurirasu Co., Ltd. in Tokushima Prefecture and Taiyo Green Energy Co., Ltd. in Saitama Prefecture. Crickets are ground into powder and treated with Koji yeast and salt in oak barrels at Noda Miso Shoten, utilizing almost no soybeans in the production process to make a special line of soy sauce. According to Noda, they taste pretty similar to Thai fish sauce and other fish sauces.

Yuta Shinohara, the 26-year-old manager of restaurant Antcicada, speaks more about using Koorogi Shoyu: “This soy sauce will go well with sashimi, white fish, and other foods without sacrificing taste.” light, delicate soy sauce. “It also works well with grilled rice balls or dango cakes drizzled with soy sauce.”

After a successful introduction in 2020, Koorogi Shoyu soy sauce continues to be manufactured in the second batch, with roughly 400 bottles this year. You may find out more about the product at the Antcicada website.

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