Insect Chef’s First Love Was His Cockroach; He Also Ate Her When She Died

Japanese Insect-Lover Dated His Cockroach ‘Lisa-Chan’

You may have had school friends who absolutely loved insects. Perhaps you too were guilty of using your sharpener container as a cage for little bugs you caught in the school field.

Most of us outgrow the fascination. But for some, it becomes a lifelong passion.

ASIAN BOSS recently interviewed one such person.


Japanese insect chef and enthusiast Yuta Shinohara discovered a love for tiny multi-legged, beady-eyed things from as young as 2 years old. Since then, his love has never waned.

In fact, it has flourished — so much that he once developed deep feelings for a cockroach.

You can check out the full interview by ASIAN BOSS here.

Feared being made fun of

If your friends found out that you love insects – and eat them too – they’ll probably laugh or make fun of you.

Similarly, that’s the reason why young Shinohara feared telling people about his odd fascination with bugs.

Mr Shinohara as a child

In 2013, when insects were touted as a good alternative source of protein by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Only then did Mr Shinohara feel comfortable “coming out”.

Dated and ate a cockroach named Lisa

When rumours were circulating that Mr Shinohara had sexual intercourse with a cockroach, he laughed and brushed it off as ludicrous, saying,

First of all, the size doesn’t fit.

However, he admitted to having a platonic relationship with a farm-raised cockroach imported from Africa. He affectionately named her Lisa-chan.

“Looking fine today, Lisa-chan”

At one point, Mr Shinohara grew so attached to Lisa that he began to feel as if he could communicate with her.

Lisa, unfortunately, did not live very long. Cockroaches usually live for between 6 to 12 months. And here comes the shocker — after Lisa died, Mr Shinohara ate her.

He told the interviewer that he “ate her in reverence”, and so now, “Lisa lives in (his) heart”.

Clearly, anyone would be shocked

Cricket ramen extraordinaire

Today, at 25 years old, Mr Shinohara regularly prepares – or invents, as you might call it – insect dishes including beetle cocktails, deep-fried cicadas and cricket ramen.

Cricket ramen

He shares pictures of his other creations on his Instagram page.

Insects taste like what they eat

An expert in edible insects, Mr Shinohara explained that the taste of the insect depends a lot on its diet.

For example, caterpillars found on cherry-blossom trees will taste slightly sweet, almost like a “cherry-blossom rice cake”.

Beetle larva

Conversely, mould-feeding beetle larva will taste bitter and “harsh”.

Hoping to inspire other insect-lovers

Insects typically have a bad rep of being dirty, due to their habitats.

Mr Shinohara hopes to change that mindset, and show people that there’s a different side to insects. In particular, he wishes to affirm that they can be safely eaten — some even taste good.

Hopefully, Singaporeans’ love for all things Japanese will extend to entomophagy — aka edible insects.

And then maybe some day, we’ll get to taste Mr Shinohara cricket ramen in town.

Featured image from Instagram.

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