When was the last time you were offered a chocolate covered grasshopper? They are real you know. I remember when I was a kid in elementary school and a student brought them in. I never asked where they came from and never accepted the offer – but he absolutely loved eating those things.
Eating insects is actually quite common in different parts of the world, and is known as entomophagy: to feed on insects; insectivorous.
I found this photo from an article I read that described how healthy insects are for you (and good for the environment) and offered restaurants within the United States where I could indulge in such a delicacy. For instance, in New York, the Mexican restaurant Toloache offers $11 chapulines tacos: two tacos stuffed with Oaxacan-style dried grasshoppers.
From the article I quote, “Insects are high in protein, B vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc, and they’re low in fat. Insects are easier to raise than livestock, and they produce less waste. Insects are abundant. Of all the known animal species, 80% walk on six legs; over 1,000 edible species have been identified. And the taste? It’s often described as nutty.”
I’d be open to it, not going to lie to you. But I’d just be standing in line at the local food stand behind everyone else in these countries:
- Fried bugs are commonly served with beer (like nuts are at bars in the U.S.).
- Jing Leed is one of the most popular snacks – deep fried crickets that are served with pepper and a sauce similar to soy sauce.
- Maeng Da, 31/2 inch long water beetles, bamboo worms, wood worms and grasshoppers are also popular.
- Termites are a signature snack here, as food supplies are short during the spring months (the rain during the spring brings them from under the ground).
- Appetizer? French fried caterpillars and ant eggs served in butter
- Dessert? Chocolate covered locusts and candy covered worms
- Drinks? Tequila! Oh, and don’t forget the worm waiting on the bottom for you.
- Water bugs boiled and soaked in vinegar
- Live scorpions marinated in baijiu, a strong liquor
- Finer restaurants serve insects in their larval state – roasted bee and fried silkworm moth
- Ant soup
- Queen ants, icas, are a favorite snack – Townspeople collect the ants, remove the wings and fry or dip in chocolate. Surprise – they taste like mint!
- One of the newer nations to embrace entomophagy – read this article The New York Times wrote about a man’s efforts to raise awareness of delicious meal choice.
Who doesn’t love pictures?!
For a pictorial view of these countries’ insects of choice for lunch and dinner, click here.
The United States has really been advertising eating insects as well. Shows like Fear Factor and Survivor have been gagging viewers for years now. But little known to many (me at least) is that if you own red lipstick or really enjoy red candies (Hot Tamales maybe?), an insect native to South America is used to produce the red dye. And who can resist a tasty sweet treat?