How 8 Restaurants Make Bugs Taste Delicious (Slideshow)
Typhoon, Santa Monica, Calif.
Located in the Santa Monica Airport, the pan-Asian Typhoon has a whole section of its menu devoted to insects. Singapore-style scorpions with shrimp toast; stir-fried Taiwanese crickets with garlic, chile pepper, and Asian basil; stir-fried silk worm pupae with assorted dipping sauces; and Manchurian Chambai ants on a hill of string potatoes are all for sale. Paging Andrew Zimmern!
Toloache, New York City
Chef Julian Medina is on a quest to bring chapulines, or crunchy fried grasshoppers, to the masses (he even served them atop oysters at this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival), and at his flagship restaurant, Toloache, you can order a plate of tacos filled with the Oaxacan-style dried grasshoppers, onions, and jalapeños for $15.
Sticky Rice Thai, Chicago
At this inconspicuous Northern Thai restaurant in Chicago’s North Center, you’ll find your normal selection of Thai dishes as well as a few more off-the-beaten-path ones that include intestines and pig’s blood, for example. You’ll also find fried bamboo caterpillars and Khai Jiaw Khai Mod, an omelette made with ant eggs!
Sushi Mazi, Portland, Ore.
Most of the time, when you see a creatively named sushi roll, like Red Spider Roll or Green Dragon Roll, it’s pretty clear that they don’t contain real spiders and dragons. But at the popular Sushi Mazi in Portland, their "real grasshopper sushi" contains just that: rice with a grasshopper on top. "You must have before you die!" the menu implores.
Dan Sung Sa, Oakland, Calif.
This ode to Korean street food is one of the most raucous restaurants in Oakland. It’s most popular for its Korean fried chicken wings, but deep in the menu lurks a slightly more exotic item: chrysalis soup, a spicy broth with about 100 crunchy fried little silkworm pupae. We can’t even begin to imagine what this must taste like.
Mok Maru Jong Sul Jip, Los Angeles
One of Koreatown’s most popular sports bars, this one also serves up a spicy silkworm cocoon soup. Must be a popular drinking food in Korea!
Petty Cash Taqueria, Los Angeles
Chapulines make an appearance as an off-menu item at this popular Los Angeles taqueria, in a taco that actually sounds pretty delicious: a handmade corn tortilla is topped with melted Jack cheese, a minty Oaxacan herb called hoja santa, a butterflied Santa Barbara spot prawn, avocado, and whole chapulines.
Woods Creek Grill, Jonestown, Pa.
Woods Creek touts itself as an "authentic Appalachian grill," and its menu is loaded with offbeat items like alligator, testicles, snake, and plenty of wild game. And while insects aren’t on the menu, if you ask politely you just might end up with a bowl of fried scorpions, crickets, mealworms, or another insect du jour (the scorpions reportedly taste just like peanuts).