Grasshopper tacos and cicada ice cream create buzz
Saturday 11 June 2011
Restaurateurs in the US have been spreading their wings recently, selling insect-inspired food items like grasshopper tacos and cicada ice cream.
In both cases, however, public health officials have been bugging out, ordering a San Francisco Mexican restaurant and ice creamery in Missouri to stop selling their fried and candied critters.
According to a report from a local TV station in San Francisco, La Oaxaquena Bakery and Restaurant had been selling deep-fried grasshopper tacos, a regional specialty of Mexico's Oaxaca region, until health inspectors ordered restaurant owner Harry Persaud to stop.
At issue was Persaud's attempts at authenticity: he sourced his grasshoppers straight from Oaxaca and there are no domestic purveyors of consumable grasshoppers with federal approval, reported ABC in San Francisco.
Patrons described the dish as resembling crunchy ‘McNuggets' and chips, with a "hint of chicken taste."
Meanwhile, earlier this month employees at an ice creamery in Columbia, Missouri decided to launch a full-scale attack on buzzing cicadas - a relative of spittlebugs and leafhoppers - by collecting the winged, bug-eyed critters from their backyards, boiling them, and coating them in brown sugar, reports The Atlantic Wire . The candied cicadas were then added to an ice cream base of brown sugar and butter.
Within hours of its launch June 1, the ice cream sold out.
In 2008, scientists from around the world convened in Thailand for a United Nations convention to discuss offsetting rising meat consumption with insects. Entomophagy - the eating of bugs - is common across Africa, Asia and the Americas but still considered an anomaly among squeamish consumers in Western countries.
At Vij's, a famous fine-dining Indian restaurant in Vancouver, Canada, crickets were ground into a flour to make their spicy flatbread paratha.
And Typhoon restaurant in Santa Monica, California, also sells Singapore-style scorpions, Taiwanese crickets - stir-fried, with raw garlic, chili pepper and Asian basil - and Thai silk worm pupae, stir fried with hot spicy dipping sauce.
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