In the West bugs are often seen as a necessary evil. An important part of nature that we don't want in our homes, and definitely not on our dinner plates. But other countries and cultures don't hold the same view of insects where mealtimes are concerned. Over two billion people consume bugs on a regular basis, with nearly 200 species being eaten in Southeast Asia alone.
Nutritional Value Of Eating Bugs
Research shows that insects are high in nutritional value. They've got (good) fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Raising them for consumption is better for the environment than raising mammals, and the cost to do so is also quite a bit lower. So aside from old prejudices against eating something seen as "primitive" and "disgusting", why aren't we all chowing down on bugs?
As many people (billions remember) can attest to, there's nothing wrong with partaking in some tasty insects. Beetles and caterpillars are the most popular food bugs, though winged critters like bees and wasps are also common. Crickets, cicadas, locusts, and dragonflies are also often found fried up with a bit of tempura or grilled alongside vegetables.
Season The Bugs So They Taste Good
And while tarantulas aren't actually insects (they're arachnids, like scorpions), they tend to pop up at food stands and on dinner tables on a regular basis in countries where they are common. While eating these eight-legged arthropods (there's some science for you!) may give you the hee bee gee bees, it may just be because you're thinking about it all wrong. Those that eat giant spiders don't just take bites out of raw ones. They fry them up with seasoning and sauces to make the experience much more palatable.
Gourmet Insects And Arachnids
Places like Bugs Cafe in Cambodia have created an entire menu around consuming gourmet insects and arachnids. Those daring enough to sample their wares can try Feta and Tarantula Samosas, grilled and stuffed with cheese, garlic, eggs, spinach, and marinated spiders. If they want to try something that doesn't hide the spider ingredients so much, they can attempt the Tarantula Donuts, whole spiders marinated and fried in tempura, then served with sweet chili, aioli, and mango chutney dipping sauces.
And for the really brave, the "go big or go home" types, Bugs Cafe offers Discovery Platters full up of insect munchies. Spring rolls stuffed with ants, insect skewers, silkworm croquettes, tarantula donuts and samosas, and silkworm and cricket wok dishes give you a great sampling of all the food the insect world has to offer.