Recently, I’ve been watching TV shows like Man vs Wild and Bizarre Foods. Seeing Bear Grylls and Andrew Zimmern eat the grossest / weirdest stuff in the world (and miraculously not dying) sort of makes me want try it too – almost as if they are daring me to do it too! While I don’t think I’ll be eating either a yak’s eyeball or a still living tree frog (that’s disgusting Bear Grylls) any time soon, I was intrigued when I heard that there would be an edible bug sampling at the “Most Interesting” party at Falkenstein Castle near Austin, Texas.
A little background:
My dad loves bugs – so much so that he studied them for a living for over 40 years. Being the son of an entomologist, my father was constantly shoving crawly insects in front of me and my brother on our frequent outdoor hikes and camping trips. I grew up listening to my dad tell stories (with a big smile on his face) about eating giant grasshoppers that doubled as pets. Additionally, bugs and butterflies with pins sticking out of them were a common sight around the house and I even saw my dad knock down whole wasp nests and eat the larva on multiple occasions.
Even with all of that, I had never been tempted to eat a bug until now. I mean I’m not squeamish at all when I see a cockroach or a spider or two crawling around, but putting one in my mouth is a different matter altogether. Despite multiple opportunities to try them overseas, something about my American upbringing made me believe that bugs are not something that would be tasty.
Seeing TV personalities eat far more disgusting things than bugs (and actually liking it) on many occasions finally pushed me over the edge. I decided to go to the “Most Interesting” party specifically to sample bugs. They had a professional chef frying up all sorts of tasty insect-y treats (I wonder if this is his day job too?) so there was nothing to worry about… right?
Well, I’m here to report that I did eat bugs and I’m obviously still alive. In fact, I stuck around long enough to try a couple of different kinds, both scorpions and tiny crickets. They tasted much better than expected!
Here are my tasting notes:
Scorpion – I had some dried out leg and tail segments of scorpion that tasted very crispy / crunchy. They had a slightly meaty flavor accented by seasoning salt. 3-4 people around me agreed that scorpion tastes almost like Baco bits, just crunchier and hollow. I would eat this again – it would be great on a salad 🙂
Tiny crickets – These had a meaty flavor and they were slightly juicy, probably due to being pan fried in oil. These particular crickets were so small that you couldn’t really tell they were bugs unless you looked at them closely. They were served on tortilla chips with salsa and they were a bit too salty for me (probably because all 3 components had salt added to them at some point). I think the crickets would have tasted pretty good alone.
Overall, I have a feeling that the “Most Interesting” folks started us off with smaller, less gooey critters because they are easier on the palette. I really want to try more bugs in the future, but I’m a little afraid of the big squishy ones (watch this video of Bear Grylls eating a giant larva).
In closing, we decided that insects are the crustaceans of the land, and if we love shrimp and crab, perhaps we could grow to love bugs too (although it might be an acquired taste). I heard a rumor that they serve larger crickets at La Condesa, so I’ll probably be heading there soon for more tasty bug action.
Thanks for reading and happy tasting,