Insects are one of the most divisive protein sources on Earth. You’ll meet people who have no problem eating a raw cobra heart who still wouldn’t touch a fried grasshopper with a 10-foot pole. But maybe after a visit to one of these 10 restaurants that are making insects taste delicious, they’ll change their minds.
People all around the world eat insects (a practice called entomophagy) for a whole host of reasons, while people all around the world don’t eat bugs for just as many reasons. So why would anyone consider eating a pest that we’re more used to swatting away from us? For one, they’re simply a great and sustainable food source. Insects are full of protein; grasshoppers contain about as much protein as chicken or beef, but with less fat and more calcium. Second, they’re really easy to farm, because they’re small and have no problems reproducing exponentially. Third, when prepared properly, they can actually taste pretty good.
Now, there’s a big difference between grabbing a grub from under a rock and slurping it down (slimy, yet satisfying!) and going to a fine restaurant and sampling fresh guacamole with crunchy fried chapulines on top. It’s a mind-over-matter issue: If you don’t think about it, those little fried grasshoppers are crunchy, nutty, and as good as any bar snack.
But, especially in America, we’ve got some hang-ups about eating insects. Why waste your stomach space on a creepy-crawly when you can get your protein from a dry-aged porterhouse? Another viable concern is that insects don’t really have any meat. When insect-eaters compare eating a beetle to eating a lobster, we can’t help but remind them that cockroaches don’t have tails and claws filled with light, delicious meat. If you eat an insect, all you’re getting is an exoskeleton and internal organs, which really doesn't sound so great.
But when you eat an insect, you need to look beyond that, to see the bigger picture. They’re one of the most sustainable protein sources on Earth and could quite possibly be the protein of the future, so you might as well buck up and try one (more and more people – and entrepreneurs – are getting in the game every day). It won’t be nearly as gross as you think. To help you cross that hurdle, we’ve assembled a list of 9 restaurants around the country (and one in the U.K.) that are serving insect dishes that are undeniably tasty.