Nordic Food Lab Finds Ants that Taste Like Wild Strawberries

The Nordic Food Lab is on a mission to make you eat bugs, and like it.
Twitter/Mad Feed

In its quest to make insects more appealing to the Western palate, the Nordic Food Lab research team looks to honey ants for help.

Would you eat insects if they tasted like honey, wild strawberries, guava, or other sweet and floral ingredients? The research team at the Nordic Food Lab hopes so, which is why they recently trekked into the Australian Outback in search of ways to make insects delicious to the Western palate.”

Founded in 2008 by chef René Redzepi of Noma, the Nordic Food Lab works to “investigate deliciousness and its systems.” The team’s primary directive is to explore the raw materials found in the Nordic countries of Europe, but they also explore methods of bringing good and sustainable foods to the global community.

So what does that have to do with these strawberry-flavored bugs?

In May 2013, Nordic Food Lab received major funding for “edible insect research” from the Velux Foundation. The project is called “Discerning Taste: Deliciousness as an Argument for Entomophagy,” and the lab team is on top of it.

During their recent trip, the team met with locals in the Warlpiri country of the Australian desert to go “honey-anting.” According to one local, the honey ants taste different based on what they eat, but are always sweet.

Josh Evans, the researcher who wrote of the group’s experience, describes eating his first honey ant:

“It is indeed like a dark honey, sweet but also sour, with a lingering flavor like wild strawberries, semi-dried in the sun. And they all taste different."

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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.