A vending machine that sells edible bugs is a hit in southern Japan.
Installed in October, the machine in Kumamoto started selling packets of 10 different bugs the following month, attracting locals looking for a quick gastronomic adventure.
According to Livedoor News, Cricket Protein Bar is the cheapest pack at 700 yen ($7), while Salted Crickets are the most popular for 1,300 yen ($12).
The products, which are ordered from Thailand, include pupae, diving beetles and Japanese rhinoceros beetles, to name a few.
Tomoda Toshiyuki, 34, installed the machine to find out whether people would open up to the idea of consuming bugs after contemplating on the possibility of a food crisis in the future.
The small business exceeded his expectations when it collected 500,000 yen ($4,600) in just one month.
Interestingly, Toshiyuki, owner of a balloon specialist store, admitted that he hated bugs at first, even getting his wife to chase them away when they entered their store.
But he learned that they actually taste similar to more conventional food, such as crickets tasting like shrimp.
“Bugs always seem ready to fight but I’m the peaceful type,” Toshiyuki told the Asahi Shimbun. “The first time was pure hell for me, but the taste [of crickets] was surprisingly similar to shrimp.”
“It’s best to eat them with a bit of mayonnaise or a dash of red pepper. But diving beetles and giant water bugs are meant for more adventurous consumers,” he added.
The packets of little critters have since reached Japanese Twitter, with users having mixed reactions about them.
“It’s a no for me.”
“This is awesome!”
“I’d rather die if insects become the norm.”
“It might actually help with food shortage.”
“Let’s sing ‘Hakuna Matata’ while eating.”