The thought of eating bugs can seem anything but appealing, but for many people in the world, eating insects is part of their cultural diet.
Eating bugs as a source of nutrients dates back tens of thousands of years to when hunters and gathers ate them to survive. Since then, cultures across Asia, Africa, and Latin America have continued to consume insects, be it in the form of fried tarantulas in Cambodia or grasshopper tacos in Mexico.
In a world where food shortages are a real threat, insects may prove to be the future of dining. According to US News, the United Nations estimates a world population of 9 billion by 2050, which would require that we more than double our current food production rate. The fact is that insect consumption has its benefits; for example, bugs are far more sustainable than other animal-derived foods, as they produce fewer emissions than livestock and can be cultivated anywhere. Likewise, insects are increasingly being recognized as a healthy alternative to meat and strong source of protein.
Everyone knows that protein is essential to staying lean and healthy; and while the rest of the world has found bugs to be both a nutritious and — believe it or not — delicious food source, the Western world is still blanching at the thought of snacking on crickets.
Insects are even being incorporated into the menus of adventurous restaurants such as NOMA in Copenhagen. Some popular creepy crawlers of choice prove grasshoppers, crickets, and locusts, which are the most consumed insects in the world and reportedly quite tasty.
While biting into chocolate-covered locusts or a fried tarantula may make even the strongest stomach do cartwheels, these 11 buggy bites around the world encourage epicures to refrain from judging a book by its cover and give bugs a try. Bug appétit!
Ant Snacks (Brazil)
From chocolate-covered ants to live ones sprinkled in salad, it seems that ants are the most popular and least nauseating bugs to eat. In Brazil, queen ants are a popular snack that come fried or dipped in chocolate. And celebrated chef Alex Atala of D.O.M.in São Paulo, the #2 restaurant in our 101 Best Restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean; this year, serves giant Amazonian ants atop squares of sweet pineapple. What was once a treat for the poorer class is now a Brazilian tradition celebrated and enjoyed throughout the country.
Cockroach Dishes (China)
It is no secret that Asia is a leader when it comes to entomophagy, the act of eating bugs. In China, fried cockroaches are a common snack. The cockroaches are said to taste like French fries with a powerful aftertaste that sticks around long after the cockroach is swallowed.