Eating Bugs: Hakuna Matata
Last month, I ate a bunch of edible bugs: Scorpions, big cockroach-like bugs, beetles, giant grasshoppers, bug poop tea, chocolate covered worms and so on. Follows my report on this exotic experience.
While travelling through Thailand, I had tried small crickets and silkworms fried onsite and sold like a snack. However, at the time, I was not able to solo their flavor. The market itself had a very intense mix of smells and my taste was defiled already with all those different kinds of exotic food, like Doraemon’s Dorayaki.
When a friend of mine asked if I tried eating insects in Asia, a brilliant idea passed through my mind: Why didn’t I order some different bugs and try them at home? I googled it and found a big variety of ready-to-eat bugs. My order escalated really quick … I found I wanted to try them all!
From 1 to 10, from worms to scorpions
It is not easy to describe the experience on eating each single bug but I will try to be precise on their taste, texture and smell. Also, I will try to evaluate the overall experience on eating each different snack from 1 to 10. When possible, I will also leave some opinions of friends with who I shared these small dishes.
Grasshoppers, mole Crickets, Silkworms
I have tried this before on my journey to Thailand in a local market. Although this time they were steamed instead of fried, the taste seemed similar. Really soft taste and crunchy feel.
These are the best choice for a first try. Most of my friends (15 at least) tried these and said it was neither bad nor good.
Score: Well, from 1 to 10, I would give them an high five, if they had hands.
I have to admit, eat scorpions was my main goal with this experience. I was not disgusted or impress by them. They looked really tasteful and I had read already some reviews about how different they were from others. Well, in fact they were. A sour bitter taste of sand mixed with earth and leather, but also crunchy like biscuits, specially their pincers. Their poison sting was removed and not included in the pack, its a shame.
Score: Scorpions, in 10, I would give them a wind of change, unplugged.
Giant Water bug | Giant Water Scorpion
When I opened the bag and saw this fellow staring at me I though “oh s@#!”, someone should pay me to eat this. Fortunately, a brave friend of mine entered the room complaining about something and just dropped the “What? You guys want me to eat this? Sure.” Inspired by his impetus, we cut the big bug into two and we ate half each. Felt I was eating straw (not that I have done before). Really dry straw and extremely crunchy. It was the close I could get from being a cow, poor cattle I must say. It was like eating those beautiful cakes that have 0 taste.
Score: From 1 to 10, I would give them 911 and ask MIB agents, J and K for help.
Small Crickets Can with seasoned salt
Salt, sugar, garlic, paprika, turmeric, tapioca flour, rice bran oil. Found the recipe to fish food /sushi seaweed! They smell and taste like seaweed. Some said it smell like dog food also.
I just realized that in Thailand I ate some “Nori Seaweed Flavor” chips … oh, I see what they did there with that “Flavor”.
Score: From 1 to 10, well, I would give them half. Half to Nemo, half to Dory.
Pretty much like the weaver ants. These were also small bugs with a bit of salt on top. They were not as crunchy as the Grasshoppers or bigger crickets but they were a nice snack with a soft taste of Rice Krispies.
Score: From 1 to 10? Never tried them on milk.
Bugapoop Tea Bags
This is surely a must! Four sacks of bug poop for 5 $. Damn. They feed the bugs with tea leaves and then they gather their poop. This is completely exotic. I would never pay this much for poop but well, the best coffee in the world is made from pooped coffee grains isn’t it?
It felt like I was drinking water filtered by earth/mud. I couldn’t taste the “tea leaves” at all. No special flavor beside mud and fresh soil used in gardening, what makes completely sense, since that soil is composed mostly of decomposed matter (mind-blow).
Score: I would like to give from 1 to 10, a mud slap to the guy who bought this! Ouch, it was me.
Probably the most tasteful. I don’t need much words to describe its taste: Rice Krispies at first, sour and salty lastly. They were very similar to the shield bugs. I was expecting the same flavor of the smaller spicy ants which I tried already in my garden.
Score: From 1 to 1000 I tried just a dozen of them.
Female Rino Beetles
Super crunchy although had no proper flavor. I felt I was eating nut shell with bits of leather. Seriously, really disappointed with this ones.
Score: From 1 to 10, I will drop one point for each shell bit stuck between my teeth … it scores minus 20!
Oh man, among the “smallest” bugs these were without doubt the most disgusting ones. At first glance, I though I was looking for a mini Jabba the Hut stuffed with bug sandy poop. They were not crunchy at all, they were really well stuffed with a kind of soft sand. The taste was a mix of earth and dog food and the size of them deserved some respect.
Score: Sago worms got my respect, in 10, I would give them Han Solo, for free.
Chocolate Covered Superworms
Sugar, vegetable fat, cocoa powder, emulsifier, vanilin. I would be lying if I said these were not good. They taste like chocolate. Not much to say about these ones. It is like eating lettuce covered with chocolate, tastes like chocolate.
Score: From 1 to 10, 1 kit-kat, 2 milka, 3 nesquick bar, 4 kinder delice … add your favorite.
Summing everything up: dehydrated juice.
I am a bit disappointed with the overall experience. This is due to the dehydrated level of the bugs which I think softened their flavor.
If you are going to try to do something similar to this, I advise you on two things. First, try to find fresh bugs, or at least buy canned ones. Second, mix/cook them with other food that you would normally eat. Do something like a cricket salad, a ant rice or even a scorpion stew. I think only this way we can evaluate the true potential on a insect based diet / meal.
A bug based diet is a reachable goal as soon as prices drop and it becomes available to buy in an ordinary supermarket. Well, we will also need to change our preconceived thoughts and prejudgments on disgusting things subject.
They live on my mind
The day after eating my first bunch of bugs and while meditating I was always thinking about bugs, damn. I didn’t have a nightmare but the big insects did followed me on my mind! On the third day, I still thought about the sour scorpion taste and how could I use it in some kind of meal.
Of course I could not leave you without acknowledging the major boosters of my Entomophagy (the use of insects as food) adventure, Timon and Pumba. Here goes their anthem!
There is also a video of a Japanese girl who did a really nice review on the same insects that I ate. She describes the overall experience really well and by watching it you can hear the crunchy sounds.
Did you find this review interesting? Would you like to try them? Do you have any doubt on the process of ordering them? Could you replace your beef by a cricket hamburger? Or am I just an idiot trying to do things that an idiot would do? I would love to have your feedback :D