What do bugs taste like?

Bugs, arachnids, insects, larvae, worms, etc. You get the picture.

Several reality shows, like Survivor Man and the like, show our heros eating such creatures. You’ll never get any of those things near my face, let alone in my mouth, but I’m positive there are a few residents here who have tried anything with an exoskeleton (besides crustaceans and the like).

Please, describe it in as many comparatively descriptive words as you can for your average westerner (read: me). Flavor, texture, gooeyness, crunchiness, does it have any oaky notes?

I’m morbidly curious and fascinated.

My brother ate black ants on a survival camp thingy. He said that because some of their stomach acids are similar to those in raspberries, that’s what they tasted like. I didn’t ask about the legs.

Moving thread from IMHO to Cafe Society.

I love that you view eating ants and beetles as something of an art form. Good call anyway, maybe Mangetout will weigh in!

Funny, that’s the sound I just made just thinking about it.

Funny you should ask.

I cheated and fried 'em. Salty crispy grasshopper-shaped snacks.

I wouldn’t eat anything skooshy, I don’t think.

I do remember accidently chewing on an ant when I was younger, and it was sour like Bell said.

They’re somewhat sour, I don’t intentionally eat bugs, but in marching band when the fly things were out accidentally getting a squished one in your mouth was somewhat unavoidable somewhere in all your 4 years.

Good god, man. I mean, I loved fried foods as much as the next guy, but I’ve seen grasshoppers up close. Ugly fuckers. I guess I just don’t like the idea of eating the whole thing, whatever it is. Eyes, innards, poop, nerves, legs and those weird “hairs”, gah! I’m just squicked out now.

And sour, unless it’s processed from fruit or veggies, I consider a bad thing.

Mmmm… Dinner is served!

Also see here.

Scroll down to the section on silkworm pupas. I get hungry just thinking about it. Wait, wait. That’s not the word I’m looking for. Is there a word that means unhungry in English? That’s what I get.

or, if you would like some variety, a trip to China might be in order

Most bugs are served pretty highly flavored. The giant BBQ grubs I ate were somewhat crunchy and covered in hot sauce, so really it just tasted like hot. The grasshoppers I ate were covered in salt, hot sauce and lime and tasted pretty much like that. The big ones were a little squishy, which was gross, but the smaller ones were crunchy and papery.

Flying termites are the cream of the crop bug wise, and the only one I’d eat just to eat. They fry them up with salt and Maggi cube (a kind of bullion cube.) They have a lot of oil in them so they end up oily, cruchy and salty. You eat them the same way you’d eat corn nuts or something. Pretty yummy.

Dried, pressed grasshoppers in Thailand.

Not much actual flavour, as I recall; they were crispy, but very light - kind of like eating onion skin for texture, with a very mild flavour.

In his book Good to Eat/The Sacred Cow and the Abominable Pig, anthropologist Marvin Harris says that most insects don’t really taste like very much at all, then suggests the reader try to des cribe the taste of, say, ;ettuce, and try to explain why people would eat such a tasteless thing. (For the nutrition, of course). He does allow that some insects do have a strong taste, with one large spider tasting like “concentrated gorgonzola cheese”. Some large insects remind him a little of lobster. But most insects don’t have a taste worth speaking of. (Harris, by the way, seems to concentrate on insects with a lot of muscle tissue, and not a lot of “goop”. So I don’t know what he’d say about those juicy grubs that were recently eatemn rather messily on one od those cable channels).

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Eat-Riddles-Food-Culture/dp/1577660153/ref=pd_sim_b_4
David G. Gordon doesn’t describe taste a lot in his Eat a Bug cookbook, and his concoctions, like some of those mentioned above, are pretty spiced up.

http://www.amazon.com/Eat-bug-Cookbook-grasshoppers-centipedes/dp/0898159776

I haven’t eaten bugs myself (nor do I plan to), so I can’t say.

Last summer when the Chicago area was crawling with cicadas, I ate a bunch - usually to creep someone out.

They had not much flavor raw (most online recipes flavor them heavily). They were at first crunchy, then gooshy. It grossed me out at first that they were not warm, but rather…room temperature. After the first time the wings got stuck in my teeth, I yanked them off after that (the wings).

All that being said, I am glad it’ll be another 17 years before I do that again!

1: When I was 12 or 13, I read somewhere that ants taste sour. For some reason, I got mighty curious as to whether or not that was true. We had a great big huge anthill in the scrub area at the back of our property, so after a day or two of wondering if ants really did taste sour, I went out and did the field research --that is, I caught six ants (we had the kind with a red head and middle and a black butt, about 1/3rd of an inch long), pinched their little heads so they wouldn’t be able to bite my tongue, and taste tested the backyard pismire.

Yep, sour! Sour and a little bit hot. It was the formic acid, no doubt.

I soon found out that not only had I learned a neato nature fact, I’d also found a great trick with which to freak the next-door neighbors’ obnoxious kids right the Hell out for hours!

  1. Flash forward to 1999, and the first time I was ever in the delightful, weird and friendly city of Oaxaca. They have chapulines there, which is the word for “grasshoppers” in one of the Native languages. Specifically, grasshoppers prepared for human consumption and sold all over town by hundreds of very polite older ladies who haul these exoskeletal edibles around by the bushel basketload. In a variety of sizes, too (both bug and batch – natch).

Now, I’m a brave and curious eater from way back (see #1 above), and one of the things I’d planned all along for this trip to Mexico was to try as many of the local and regional food specialties as I got the chance to. And there’d been more than one guidebook which mentioned the popularity of grasshoppers as snackfood in Oaxaca state. So of course I had resolved to try them the first chance I got.

That chance came no more than an hour after my two traveling buddies and myself arrived in Ciudad Oaxaca – we went to a cafe on the central plaza and sat outside enjoying the scene and some cool bevs, and then there were two middle-aged ladies trying to sell us these little bricky-red things, with legs. Chapulines, yep – ranging from the size of Rice Krispies to as long as my little finger. The latter ones were frankly somewhat frightening – they resembled the evil dead Martian locust-men in the movie Quatermas And The Pit --so I bought a half peso’s worth of petites instead.

Choff choff, smack choff. Gulp. My two buddies watched, with dubious looks on their faces, and waited.

What a letdown! There was a crunch. It tasted like…cooking oil and mild chile powder, mostly. Not only did they look like Rice Krispies, they tasted like them too – slightly greasy, slightly spicy Rice Krispies. I ate a popcorn-size handful just to be fair, wrapped the rest in a napkin and slipped it into my belly bag. Later I think I fed them to pigeons.

A couple-three nights later we went out drinking. Another locust-lady came into the bar while we merrily got ourselves beered up in a foreign language, and I was two-thirds lit and a tad-bit hungry, and…this time I bought the big ones – intimidatingly insectile to look at, with their pointy back-jumpers and compound eyebuds. Much to the glee of our audience (locals of about the same age we were, also drinking hard and happily), I popped the biggest and buggiest chapuline in the batch into my mouth and CHOMPED!

Meh. Like a *really big *slightly spicy and greasy Rice Krispie. It simply had no detectable taste of its own.

Needless to say, someone else ended up with most of my second-ever, and last-ever, batch of chapulines.

I smuggled back a small, tourist-price pack of them for a Leap Year Party and Auction (“Leap” - get it?), and I’m glad to hear I didn’t miss anything by giving them all away without trying one.

The grossest part about the chapulines in Oaxaca, IMHO, is that the grandmothers are all walking around or standing in the open air market with these huge *uncovered *baskets of chapulines, and, I guess to make them look tasty and fresh or something, they frequently stir them up with their bare, ungloved hands.

Makes one appreciate both the quaintness of one’s own social mores and the functioning of the human immune system.

According to my wife, fried scorpions tastes like cardboard. I’ll take her word for it.

Fried silkworm pupae, on the other hand, has kind of a unique taste. A bit like eggs, maybe, with a grainier texture. Been many years since I’ve had one though.

Moved on to pushing flies, have you? :smiley:

Well, as it happens I’ve got a trap full of fruit flies (wine bottle with a bit of it left over). If I hadn’t added dish soap to it I might try something with it. Fly au vin, maybe?