Sunday, 28 November 2010

I eat suzumebachi for breakfast

A few weeks ago a couple of us headed down south to the deepest, darkest depths of Neba village where Matt had arranged for us to meet a few locals and partake in some delicacies. I think the photos below will explain all.

Our first job was to remove all the bees and pupae from the honeycomb.

Gently gently.

Oddly sweet once you get past the slimy bit.


Bees, half-bees and pupae.

Cooked bees, half-bees and pupae. Yum!

A quick forage in the woods turned up some delicious Shiitake mushrooms..

.. and some others ideal for miso soup.

Dessert was... er.. not what I was expecting. The Suzumebachi ("Sparrow Bee", also known as the Giant Asian Hornet or "Yak-killer") is probably one of the most frightening insects you are likely to meet in rural Japan. A sting from one of these things is rather nasty and kills dozens of people every year. Not only has the pain been described as "a hot nail being driven into the flesh", the poison itself melts your flesh. At the same time the hornet gives off a pheromone that tells all the others in the area to come and sting you. That's if you aren't dead from the first one, of course. Crunchy but sweet.