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Currently showing: Food security > Diet/alternatives

14 May 13 09:44

I was in a jungle in Laos, mud splattered and sweating buckets on a two day bike trek when our guide stopped to introduce us to an interesting local custom. Ahead of us on the trail were girls carrying baskets. We were informed that they were foraging for food in the forest. Expecting fern fronds, berries or something equally innocuous, I wasn't quite prepare for the sight of our guide grabbing a snack from one basket and then promptly biting the head off a live, massive, buzzing cicada with obvious gusto. Despite his enthusiasm for this crunchy (wriggling) tidbit, I just cannot see myself ever getting over the mental block about eating bugs. But according to a recent UN report, if we don't get more clever about dealing with world hunger and food security, I might just have to. Read more here:

UN urges world to eat more insects

Category: Food security: Diet/alternatives

Tags: #Insects.

Location: Savannakhet, Laos


Alicia Montoya - 18 May 2013, 10:23 a.m.

I must admit I quite enjoyed the delicious lime & chilli flavor of big red butt ants that I ate off the trails when I visited the Venezuelan Amazon... Live termites had a lovely minty taste too! And who can possibly resist the deliciousness of chapulines (fried grasshoppers, a delicious specialty from Oaxaca)? And is there anybody who doesn't fight for that Mezcal worm at the end of every bottle?

For those who prefer their insects cooked, here's National Geographic's recommendation of the top 8 insect dishes cooked all over the world:

Now I know this can be a bit of a big step for Westerners so Jennifer, you know what you're getting as a present for your birthday: This great cookbook! ;) "Creepy Crawly Cuisine: The Gourmet Guide to Edible Insects"

On a more serious note (and without dissing insects as a perfectly respectable choice for all those who, like me, like that extra-crunchy touch in their protein), we in the West might not need to import and grow our wriggling friends just yet: Looks like we should focus more on not wasting half (yes, half) of the food we produce daily:

Gillian Rutherford - 25 May 2013, 12:02 p.m.

To complement Alicia's weird and wonderful culinary insect experiences, check out the annual weird food festival that takes place in New Zealand:,51,0,0,html where all sorts of extraordinary dishes can be sampled - many of which include creepy crawly's :o). This is a fun festival, and has really taken off in New Zealand as an annual event. Fun, weird and startling aside though, maybe it does make one reconsider conventional approaches to WHAT we eat.......

Here's my question, on a different note. Maybe if I were to search online I'd find this discussion going on all over the place........ but........ I wonder why many of us in the 'non-insect eating' parts of the world turn our noses up at the idea of a deep fried cricket, but wouldn't hesitate to throw some prawns on the BBQ. Okay, so an insect and a crustacean are not the same thing BUT they are related, and I don't find the kitchen leap between the two such a big one...... Or is it?

Jennifer Rodney - 26 May 2013, 7:22 a.m.

I have often marveled at that thought too: I'm happy to eat prawn and lobster on occasion which, with all those legs, are not that far removed from spiders, which give me the major heebie jeebies. Just looking at the photos in the insect cookbook that Alicia links to make me shudder. The cover features a big pile of insects on a bed of rice and it makes me realize that typically when I think of bugs in that close proximity to food, it's because the food is spoiled and no longer safe for human consumption. Also, typically when we encounter bugs, they are alive and wriggling, crawling, stinging or being otherwise creepy. I don't think most of us have developed that sort of relationship to or perception of underwater crustaceans. If you think of a lobster, I think most of us tend to think of it on a plate with melted butter, rather than swimming through the ocean. So, perception is clearly a huge part of the issue. I think preparation could help overcome that hang up. I believe I'd be a bit more willing to eat bugs if the food created from them didn't LOOK like bugs. That being said, as Alicia points out, I'd much prefer trying to use the non-insect-food that we currently produce much more efficiently!!! ( Or go vegetarian!

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