Honestly, I am a bit surprised that people still find eating bugs weird. While I am now a Vegan, I have dined on my share of insects in the past. I believe that it all started for me in 2002 when my brother (Baron Ambrosia) and I filmed the story of cà cuống (the extracted essence of the giant water bug) while in Vietnam. Recently I had the opportunity to attend a soiree at my friend Bun’s house where the 17-year cicada was the main focus.
Bun is not only a creative chef but an advocate for healthy eating. One of the central themes of the evening was eating lower on the food chain and its advantages to our planet and our bodies. The locally caught cicadas were seasoned with an Ethiopian spice mix, smoked and then dehydrated. Fancy! I of course am unable to attest to this, but people truly seemed to enjoy them. Children even compared them to potato chips and popcorn. A nutritious and apparently tasty food that provides proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber while leaving less of an environmental impact– sounds amazing to me.
Comically most people are probably not aware that if they have eaten red colored foods that they have probably eaten the cochineal. These little critters are used to create red dye for foods, lipsticks and cloth. You may see it listed as carmine, natural red 4 or E120….check your labels and if you have been eating M&Ms all of your life – why not just cook up some more bugs and help the environment and yourself. As for my fellow vegans…ya…read all of your candy wrappers 🙂
Cà Cuống (2002)
We worked with Dr. V.Q Manh at the University of Hanoi documenting the use of Cà Cuống from the Giant Water Bug (lethocerus indicus), its history as a part of Northern Vietnamese cuisine (bánh cuốn or rice noodle rolls) and future breeding options in villages. Check it out here.
The Cicada Craze (2013)
Bun received lots of publicity for 17-year cicada activities.
- Blue Ribbon Hunter: Cicadas: Gross or Delicious? (video)
- New Haven Register: New Haven Chef Bun Lai serves up cicadas for dinner
- Huffington Post: Bun Lai, Connecticut Chef, Plans Cicada Menu During Insect Invasion
- Yahoo: Chef Puts Cicadas on Menu (Yes, That’s a Bug in Your Soup)
- Fox CT News: New Haven Chef Serves Up Cicadas (video)
- Blue Ribbon Hunter: Eating Cicadas
- Scientific American: What’s stopping us from eating insects?
- LiveScience: Eating Insects Will Help Feed Hungry World, UN Says
Cricket Protein Bars Anyone?
- Chapul – http://chapul.com
- Exo – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/exoprotein/exo-protein-bars-made-from-cricket-flour
Check out Bun’s article in Scientific American 🙂!