“Fear Factor” Meal in Japan

It was my first time in Japan and I was on a business trip. There was other colleague from the UK who was also in Tokyo on the same project that I was involved in – it was his first time in Japan too. My Japanese colleagues wanted to show us their hospitality and invited the both of us to dinner.

Gosh…. what an interesting night that was!

The business manager in Tokyo said that it is a “ritual” for them that whoever visits Tokyo for the first time have to go through their “initiation rites”. EH??…SAY WHAT???!!!???

This meant that we had to eat something “extra special” for our dinner! Err…OK…?

We went to a soba restaurant at the Akasaka (赤坂) area. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect soba restaurants to serve such “interesting” food apart from soba!!

The first dish that we had was sashimi so there was an assortment of raw fish and squid. That was my first time eating ika sashimi. Ok… so far it sounds normal as we all know that Japanese eat sashimi.

Then came the “fear factor” stuff!… MUAHAHAHAHA…

We were served with bumble bees, grasshoppers and raw horse meat (i.e. horse sashimi)!!

Clockwise from Left: Grasshoppers, Baby Bumble Bees and Horse Sashimi

How do they taste?

Well…. the grasshoppers tasted like dried cuttlefish, the raw horse meat tasted like ham, but the bees are really an acquired taste – can’t really describe it!

Let’s just say that I will not eat any more bees in this lifetime! Honey – yes but bees – no. Ohh… and the locals tell me that the bees are “good for the men”… Guys, I’ll let you have a think about that one… ;p

The other grasshoppers and horse sashimi are actually not that bad – you just have to not think about what you’re eating as they taste like some other familiar food which you’ve eaten at some point in your lifetime. In fact, the horse sashimi looks like any other commonly eaten meat so if no one tells you what it is, you wouldn’t even know that it’s horse meat!! (^o^)

The only thing that freaked me out is that the you can see the yellow and black stripes on the slightly larger baby bees when you hold the morsel between your chopsticks so you know you are really eating a bee!! The other unnerving part is when you put one of the larger grasshoppers into your mouth, you can feel its legs poking at the insides of your mouth – it wasn’t a very pleasant feeling!! LOL…

Here are 2 of my colleagues posing with the grasshoppers between their chopsticks!

Anyone interested enough to try these exotic dishes??

Categories: Eating in Tokyo, Japan, Travel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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