Simao Yecai Guan, a small Jingpo minority restaurant in the southern part of Kunming, has been made famous by its menu of local wild foods. In addition to serving up odd delicacies like bamboo rat, giant Mekong catfish, ferns, fungi and all sorts of wild vegetables, the restaurant also offers a variety of edible insects.
“We grew up eating these,” one woman says holding up a fried grasshopper. “Sure, when you think about what you’re eating, it can seem kind of gross. But they are tasty.” She sits at just one of the 15 large tables of a wedding party where everyone is chowing down on the little crispy critters.
Grasshoppers aren’t the only bugs on the menu. Simao Yecai Guan also fries up cicadas (legs and wings still attached), giant coconut tree grubs and black armored insects about the size of a thumb, called chestnut bugs. With prices ranging from 48-68 yuan ($8-$11) per dish, the restaurant claims to sell more than 1000 yuan ($160) per day in insects alone.
Although many of us may cringe at the thought, nearly one in three people on the planet eats insects as a part of their diet. As food prices continue to soar and many parts of the world face starvation, more people are starting to agree that insects can be a viable food source. With more than 1,900 known edible insect species, and an estimated 40 tons of insects to every person, it’s difficult to deny that it just might be worth getting past our squeamishness when it comes to eating bugs. Continue reading