Eating Insects in Thailand
Tony and I are halfway through our travels in Thailand, and I’m only now just finding time to blog about my bug-eating experience.
I love watching Anthony Bourdain travel around the world, experiencing food of different cultures. I feel like he always takes the time to experience the street food in every country. In thinking about our trip to Thailand, street food was at the very top of my list of things to do – despite many warnings given to me by play-it-safe travelers. There is a little rebel that lives inside of me that sometimes like to rear it’s ugly head you know? Anyway, I have wanted to experience the taste of insects for many years now. Most people ask why? I just wanted to know why not? Many other cultures see bugs as a culinary delicacy, why have we not embraced this as Americans? Um, haha – maybe because it’s totally gross!???!!! Still, I just had to do it. Here, a quick description on the taste of these critters with a few iphone pictures for flavor – I wish I had my Mark II on me to properly document the experience…but the iphone worked in a pinch.
I just wanna say, although these pictures were posed – by no means were they staged. I really ate the bugs you see on this page. The only bug I didn’t eat was the giant cockroachs you see center and right. Nati, our Thai travel companion assured me that those were not roaches, though she didn’t know the English word for what they were. I’m thinking maybe giant Locust? Also, not pictured were the frogs – they were black in color and the camera had a hard time registering them at night. But I also ate said tiny dried frogs (about 2 inches in length) they tasted like jerky…super chewy. Not bad, really. Have you ever tried eating the shell of a sunflower seed? It’s fibrous and no matter how long you chew it, it never seams to dissolve? That’s what the grasshoppers tasted like. Salty and tasty – but hard to chew down. You’re supposed to remove the legs and wings before eating those – otherwise you risk looking like a complete and total ‘Farang’ [Tourist]. The most interesting was that larvae looking thing on the left middle. When you bite in, it makes a loud SNAP and warm goo ooozes out. Bug Goo. Ewwww. I don’t even know what to compare it to. It could be the most fun thing your mouth will ever experience, if you could just get past the idea of it being a bug.
I took my bag of bugs along with me in our evening travels – bar hopping and whatnot - several stops along the night. When I met a new local, I always offered to share my bugs. I was met with big smiles and made fast friends this way. It was similar to sharing a bag of Doritos in the States. Thai people really eat bugs the same way we eat potato chips….you can’t eat just one!