As a trend, it’s been picking up speed for a year or so, but insects will become a firm fixture on menus, delis and even supermarkets with the demand for anything with six legs ramping up week by week.
Photography by Wahaca.co.uk
Take Selfridges’ (@Selfridges) abundance of chocolate covered ants, Wahaca’s (@Wahaca) experiments with fried chapulines (grasshoppers to you and I) who cook them up with softened shallots, garlic and smoky chipotle chillies and the not-for-the-squeamish try, the EdibleUnique.com (with worldwide shipping) with an ominous looking Bush Tucker Party Pack and ‘Crunchy cricket snax’.
In the meantime scorpions, grubs and critters alike are creeping on to the menus of Michelin-starred restaurants the world over (namely in Paris, who use the fancy word – entomophagy – for insect-eating). But it’s not just the novelty factor. Following on from our recent piece on edible packaging, it’s a fad step towards a sustainable future.
Two billion people around the world, primarily in south-east Asia and Africa, are already chomping locusts, grasshoppers, spiders, wasps and ants on a regular basis. Now it’s just about convincing the rest of us of the benefits to us and the environment.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are taking on the challenge by publishing a list of more than 1,900 edible species of insects. And the EU have offered its member states around £1.8m to research the use of insects in cooking. Well it’s not that long ago we thought eating raw fish was a bonkers idea.
Photography by edibleunique.bigcartel.com
The fact is insects aren’t in short supply (there are 40 tonnes of creepy crawlies in the world right now FYI), while fish and livestock are. Bugs are nutritious too: rich in protein, low in fat and cholesterol, high in calcium and iron. In Thailand they’re already seen as a (healthy) fast food option. Although it may take a bit of time for some the rest of us to order Scorpion burger and fries after a night out. And let’s not forget growing your own veg, buying local, seasonal goods, cutting back on dairy and opting for fairtrade products helps sustainability too.
But the idea of a grilled grasshopper on a stick does tick a lot of boxes -it’s convenient, environmentally friendly, healthy, super duper trendy – and you’ll never be far for a potential snack ever again!
Judy (@Judycogan) is a freelance journalist who started out as a hack and now writes and edits food, travel and lifestyle features for national newspapers and magazines in the UK, the Middle East and beyond. With constantly itchy feet she loves to travel and has visited countries including China, India and Norway getting involved in the local culture and making good friends as she goes – then writing about them! On Judy’s first visit to Lebanon in March she fell for the country in a big way through its delicious food and lovely people (who like to eat and drink as much as she does). A chefs dream, she likes her steaks still mooing, curries hot and is slowly learning it’s not always a good idea to announce ‘I’ll eat anything!’ in different parts of the world.
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