If eating is an art form, then insects-as-food remains an experimental genre—at least in the West. But bugs, which are high in protein and low in terms of environmental impact, are a far more sustainable food source than beef or pork.
There are ‘weird’ food in every culture without exception, even in Western countries. One man’s meat is indeed another man’s poison. Many others will be disgusted at foods like French escargots, American Rocky Mountain ‘oysters’ (cattle testicles) and English black pudding. In the Middle East, mainly in Lebanon, one of the main local dishes is the raw meat, including raw liver eaten even as breakfast. If you’re talking about insects, there are also candy & lollipops made by US companies that contain real scorpions, worms & crickets.
There are also plenty of other countries who eat insects, regarded as nutritious & full of protein, like Thailand, Japan, South America, Africa etc. Insects have enjoyed a place at the Japanese dinner table for many centuries. There insect foods are exotic, local niche items that the vast majority of modern Japanese have never – and likely would never – try even once in the course of their lifetimes.
Shoichi Uchiyama, the Japanese author behind an insect recipe book, says that spiders are presently his preferred dish. Gently boiled and served on a bed of rice, the meat, he said, is soft and reminiscent of simmered soy beans.
Japanese chef Shoichi Uchiyama gets creepy-crawly with his sushi recipes that use insects as the primary source of protein. Although his concept is nothing new — Uchiyama wrote an insect cookbook in 2008 — he continues to lobby for the use of bugs as an alternative and more sustainable protein source.
For anyone who has ever had shrimp — commonly referred to as the ‘bug of the sea’ — this should be a natural progression. Perhaps there might even be an entry level ‘California bug roll’ for the squeamish.
I hope this delicious creepy meal won’t cut your appetite to eat the raw fish sushi, which became a “traditional” dish in many countries, in the east, west, and the middle east.