Bu”g”cket List Fulfillment
I would have never called myself a foodie. But I have always wanted to try bugs, yes bugs. Different communities around the world eat bugs. I have heard the statements that insects are full of protein. Yeah right, just a way to justify eating something I would rather step on. Then the thought of eating that same creature which crunches and you could feel pop under the pressure of your foot – No Thank You! However, I still wanted try something – a beetle, cricket, or maybe ant.
Cambodia has fulfilled something off my bucket list I would have never thought would happen. I ate my first bug, then another and another one. Actually pretty tasty and now I know why people eat those little crunchy critters. My first insect was a cricket. Our tour leader, Rose, demonstrated how to correctly prepare this tasty treat. Remove the rear legs – because they can get caught in the back of your throat. Then take the wings off and pop it right into your mouth. She handed me the ready to eat bug – mental note (hmmm what the hell have I got myself into this time). I took the cricket, it felt slightly oily to the touch, then stuck it in my mouth. At this point, I needed the picture to prove to myself and others later I really ate Jiminy Cricket. To my surprise it had a roasted taste very similar to a nut. The texture wasn’t bad either – crunchy and not ooshy gooshy squooshy. The taste and texture finished off like an over-roasted peanut. And of course I had another one and would eat another one any day of the week.
Next on my ditch delicacies was the water beetle. This one needed more preparation prior to eating. Basically you need to remove everything and eat the bigger end of these bugs. There really isn’t much to these little guys. I think the cooking process removes a lot of material and I’m ok with this happening. The shell is hard and you have to scrap the fleshy under belly away and discard the exoskeleton. Are you thinking disgusting? Well you’re very much correct about that if you think about it, but while munching away on an afternoon snack you just go with it. Texture and taste – not too much going on in that department. Experience value – yes checked off the list. Plus, a good beetle on the hard shell makes for a great black out tooth if you’re thinking hillbilly.
Now onto another street vendor but this time I walked up and tried something else. This street cart had a large assortment of bugs. I was familiar with all of the insects expect for two – some type of worm and one that looked like a cockroach but was about one inch across and three to four inches in length. So can you say “Silk worm anyone?” The silk worm was firm to the touch and had an oily-roasted scent. The taste was lightly salted but bland, similar to a raw peanut. I have to say not bad but not my favorite.
Over the next few days we traveled across the country of Cambodia and arrived at Spider Town. Can you guess what my next appetizer was on my bug menu? Those hairy-bug-eating eight-legged venomous arachnids called Tarantulas. First thought was – “Am I going to die from eating this thing?” Second thought was other people have done it and they lived, so hook me up! They didn’t look too furious. In fact, their appearance was quite like a gummy spider. However, once I had the spider in my hands – I could tell they were cooked in some heavy oil leaving a very greasy feeling on my fingers. Then I ripped the little guy into two section and looked inside – not much to it. I could feel my stomach throb just a bit at the thought of putting this creature into my mouth. “Hesitation kills” as I like to say, so in with the spider. Crunch crunch and more crunch crunch and more crunch crunch – hmmm there is a lot of fiber in this little guy. Have you every eaten a piece of celery that seems to last forever? Well image for a moment you are eating greasy celery, now think of what you are eating – yep that’s a frakkin spider in my mouth. So what do you do with celery – you swallow it and I swallow that “tasty” hairy jumping arachnid.
Would I eat more insects and spiders? Yes – I would and will again in the future. The overall experience was good. I found each one to be greasy and nutty. The cricket was the best of my samplings. I would definitely recommend trying a cricket or two if you have the opportunity. I am pleased to say I have checked off foreign bug eating.