Tag Archives: eating insects

Nervous about bugs? How to eat a cricket without freaking out

Exo cricket bars

“Crickets are the new kale,” says the Exo website, bringing to mind the trendy leafy green vegetable now found in everything from salads to smoothies. But when I think of eating crickets, I think of legs and wings and bug parts, not about eating them as often as people eat kale. I especially don’t think about eating them in a protein bar that, had it not been in a package clearly stating their presence, I never would have guessed one of the ingredients was crickets.

For this review I tried Exo’s Peanut Butter and Jelly bar*, which definitely had a strong peanut taste (as expected), and a tart “jelly” flavor from the strawberries. It didn’t taste exactly like a normal protein bar, since the taste was a little earthier/more pungent than I was expecting, but other than that, the taste and smell were pretty similar to other (lower-sugar) protein bars I’ve tried. However, since I haven’t yet tried crickets as a food on their own and don’t know what they taste like, I can’t say whether the earthiness was the taste of the crickets or was just unique to this bar.

Since the crickets are ground up, there aren’t any obvious legs or antennae, and the shiny bits in the bar were from some partly ground flaxseed rather than the insect’s exoskeleton. The texture was a strange mix between mushy and dry/crumbly, so it was good that the chopped peanuts and puffed brown rice gave it a little crunch.

If I hadn’t known ahead of time that there were crickets, I might have thought it was just a slightly odd-tasting bar, but what fun is that? Knowing is the adventurous part of the experience for those of us who don’t eat bugs daily. While I wouldn’t buy this bar for myself in the future, it was an interesting experience and might be worth buying as a gift for friends. It definitely doesn’t give you the social-media-friendly photo opportunity you get from eating whole bugs, but if you’re nervous about trying insects as food and would like to take a small step into the world of entomaphagy (humans who eat insects), the Exo bars could be a good opportunity for you.

You can buy Exo bars online, but you can also get the free two-bar sample box (just pay shipping, USA addresses only).

Have you eaten a prepared food product with insects in it?

*(The two-bar sample box was free to anyone with the link and Exo covered the shipping cost to thank me for writing a post about the bars. Of course, thoughts and opinions in this post are my own, no matter who’s paying.)

Eat a grasshopper (2014)

Note: if the title makes you squeamish, maybe you should check out another post (like Give flowers to a stranger). This post contains detailed descriptions of what it was like to eat grasshoppers.

Exploring the Market in Oaxaca - Photo Credit: William Neuheisel (william.neuheisel) via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

Photo Credit: William Neuheisel via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

Grasshoppers don’t taste like chicken. They taste more like tea leaves.

Ever since my grandma told me they used to eat grasshoppers growing up (only the brown ones, not the green ones, place in empty Coke bottles and roast in hot ashes), it’s been on my bucket list to experience for myself.

Last night, my brother and I went to Poquitos, a local Mexican restaurant that serves chapulines, toasted grasshoppers seasoned with chile, lime, and salt. It cost $2 for half a cup of small grasshoppers (each about 1 inch long).

They smelled like dried chile peppers because of the seasoning, so nothing exciting to report there, and the sight was not surprising if you’ve ever seen pictures of bugs prepared for eating (like the picture I chose for this post). Still, if you have problems with your food being recognizable as a once-living creature, the visual aspect may be a little more difficult to handle. (It’s not like they were looking back at us — or if they were, they were too small to really tell — so even if you’re the kind of person who can’t eat a fish with the head on, you can probably still try a grasshopper).

I thought the weirdest part would be the feeling of the legs in my mouth, but most of the legs had fallen off. Of the grasshoppers that had the legs still attached, I could feel them a little, but it wasn’t creepy at all, just a little prickly.

The texture was different from what I expected. I thought it would be crunchy-hard on the outside and softer/gooey on the inside. Instead, the main part of the exoskeleton ranged from soft-crisp (like nori) to slightly crunchy (like popcorn husk), the legs were crunchy-hard (like the outside candy shell of an M&M or a pin bone from a small fish — basically it felt like what I expected the exoskeleton to be like), and the inside was soft, a little chewy, but not gushy or gooey.

Apart from the taste from the seasoning, the bug itself tastes like tea leaves. My favorite part of the chapulines ended up being the legs, both for texture and taste. They taste much less leafy to me than the bodies did, and have a more satisfying crunch.

Overall, based on taste, I’d say they’re not on my favorite foods list, but I’d have no problem eating them if they were served to me. I’ll definitely try bugs again, but I’d like to try them at different places and compare their taste and texture. My brother tells me there’s an Indian restaurant nearby that serves crickets, so perhaps that’s next…

Have you eaten insects?

Resource: Interested in eating bugs? Here’s a guide to help you choose which insect you might like best.

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