Believe it or not, your reporter (Chie Nomura, pictured above & below) has always had a taste for insect cuisine and it’s been a long-held dream of mine to try scorpion. After all, while you sometimes see variety shows with some talent scowling as he reluctantly lowers a giant black scorpion into his mouth, here in Japan, they’re not the kind of bugs we can try everyday.
Well, after doing some searching, I found a Chinese restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo that serves scorpion! Who knew that the key to realizing my long-cherished dream was so close at hand!
I wasted no time in scuttling on over to try the dish myself!
The restaurant is Zenshutoku, an upscale Chinese restaurant with an interior far classier than would be expected given its noisy location under the Meiji Dori overpass (though they also have a location in Ginza).
As I sat at my table and surveyed the elegant Chinese décor I began to wonder if a restaurant such as this really does serve insects but when I opened the menu, there it was: fried scorpion (sasori no karaage)!
I placed my order and 10 minutes later I was presented with a neatly-arranged dish of tiny brown scorpions placed individually atop white rice crackers.
How cute! I have to take my hat off to a restaurant that can take the same insects known for paralyzing prey with their venomous stingers and work them into such a beautiful arrangement. Maybe this kind of presentation could encourage those reluctant to eat insects to reconsider?
I plucked one up by the tail, put it in my mouth and…delicious! They were crispy and fragrant, similar to the tail of fried fish or shrimp, with none of that ‘gooey innards’ taste you get with some other insect cuisine.
Not to mention they went perfectly with my glass of Shaoxing wine!
The scorpions were even more crispy and delicious when eaten together with Peking duck, though the staff there told me they don’t do that in China.
The scorpions are carried over frozen from China and cost about 500 yen (US $6.32) a piece.
I would highly recommend placing an order to anyone visiting Zenshutoku for a meal but the reporter I was with commented, “I’m only doing this for a story.” To each his own, I suppose!
Zenshutoku Home Page (Japanese only)
Reporter: Chie Nomura
[ Read in Japanese ]