Bugs on the menu: disgusting or delicious? Many cultures around the world don’t bat an eyelash when it comes to savoring edible bugs on the dinner menu. In the United States, it’s still taboo, though the idea is catching on in some areas as a meat alternative. Maybe you’re a seasoned foodie (get it?) who wants a new challenge, or just want to see what all the fuss is about. In either case, if you’ve ever wanted to try bugs, Jaya Travel & Tours created a list of five countries where insects are delicacies!
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Deep Fried Tarantulas
Do you want to feel like a Fear Factor contestant? Cambodia offers the perfect first challenge to kick start your experience! Fairly new to the Cambodian menu, deep fried tarantula is a delicious, crunchy local snack. It was adopted out of necessity 40 years ago during the reign of Khmer Rouge, when Cambodians were starving and turned to insects like tarantulas. What was used as a last means of nutrition turned out to be extremely delicious and has, since then, been the most famous Cambodian bug treat.
Scientifically, these little critters are caterpillars. However, for the people of Zimbabwe they’re a mouth-watering delicacy and staple health food. To begin, these edible bugs are harvested en masse, where workers squeeze out the inners into gooey piles on the ground. The remaining tissue can be prepared in a variety of ways, including smoking, frying, drying, or even pickling!
Mopane worms are stuffed with tons of protein and, being native to the region, are less harmful to the environment than raising cattle. Local markets sell these wriggly delights by a cup, so keep a lookout for this bug on the local menu when in Zimbabwe.
Crickets, Grasshoppers, and Scorpions
The street food stalls of Thailand are brimming with these hopping delicacies! Most commonly, you’ll find them fried in soy sauce and skewered on shish kabob sticks. While they appear similar on the outside, each of these edible insects have a distinct flavor. Crickets are quite chewy on the inside, which is perfect if you like a snack you can savor.
On the other hand, if you prefer crunchier delicacies, stick with grasshoppers. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to McDonald’s, chew on the fried scorpions because they taste like French fries with a bit more crunch.
We all know termites are a pain in the rear. However, during the dry season, many rural parts of Ghana rely on these insects as a staple. They can be roasted or pounded into a flour, that is then baked into bread. Once out of the oven, these bugs won’t pester you anymore. Go for termites on the menu and give this local crunchy snack a shot while exploring Ghana.
Originally from the Oaxaca region, Mescal is a smoky liquor made from agave plants and often is mistaken for tequila (side note: tequila is made exclusively from blue agave). Don’t rush to sue the bar if you notice a worm floating inside the bottle of your delicious drink.
Several worm species native to the Oaxaca region are thought to make the beverage more flavorful. If you want to try a bug on the menu, but feel apprehensive, a quick slurp of a worm with some smoky liquor may be the easiest way to dip your toe in the proverbial pool.
Travel & Try Bugs on the Menu!
While most places in America aren’t quite ready for deep-fried bugs to make a permeant appearance, it’s a fun experience that Jaya encourages. If you’re ready to order a side of traditionally prepared crickets, Call Jaya! We’ll arrange a custom culinary tour that exposes you to the most exotic cuisines in the world. We’ll also arrange culinary, or regular, tours to other locations around the world, like Greece, Europe, and the Middle East!