With powdered cricket, mealworm, beetles and ants making their way into snack foods, pasta, protein bars, and all manner of insect consumables filling the shelves of stores and supermarkets worldwide, insects as a food source is clearly no longer an outlier trend. According to a 2019 report from Barclays, the edible insect market could be worth $8 billion by 2030, up from less than $1 billion last year.

In Japan, one of the leaders in promoting entomophagy is Antcicada. As we've reported before in grape Japan, they make delicious cricket ramen and even cricket beer.

Antcicada Cricket Soy Sauce

Now, another innovation in insect food has arrived in the form of Antcicada's Cricket Soy Sauce.

Originally reported in media such as Nikkei Asia last December, the soy sauce, made through the fermentation of two-spotted crickets farmed by a startup affiliated with Tokushima University, has completed a successful crowdfunding campaign and is now finally available to the general public on their online store.

First conceived of in 2017, the soy sauce was perfected through many trials and development, and commercialized with the cooperation of the Masuzuka Miso (Noda Miso Shoten) manufacturing company in Aichi Prefecture. Using the enzymes of rice yeast to break down the abundant proteins of the crickets, a unique soy sauce was created with a distinctive umami flavor.

To make the soy sauce, Antcicada starts by pulverizing the crickets...

...then combining it with rice yeast and saltwater. About 482 crickets are used to make each 100 ml bottle.

The mix is then fermented and aged in wooden barrels for more than half a year. Finally, the cricket soy sauce is completed by squeezing the moromi mash and simmering the extract, following traditional soy sauce manufacturing techniques.

Product information

For this first batch, Antcicada has produced an usukuchi (light) type soy sauce containing no lees after squeezing the moromi mash, and a koikuchi (dark) type which has some of the lees mixed in.

The usukuchi type is available online for 1,640 JPY (incl. tax), while the koikuchi type is only available at Antcicada's restaurant and store in Bakurocho, Tokyo. Both types are available in limited quantities while supplies last.

Note: Crickets are known to provoke allergic reactions in people who are allergic to crab and shrimp.

By - Ben K.