10 Insect-Based Asian Delicacies That Will Definitely Scare Away Your Non-Asian Neighbors
Now that all the Halloween celebrations are coming to an end, many people across the country will be tearing down their decorative plastic spiders from their walls. But in parts of Asia, these little creepy-crawlies are seasoned and displayed year-round. Here are 10 insect and bug dishes from across Asia that are as scary as they are delicious:
Beondegi simply means “pupa” and is a popular savory Korean street food made from boiled or steamed silk worm pupae. A wide variety of canned beondegi can actually be found in many Asian supermarkets in the U.S., ranging from spicy silk worm soup to more classic flavors. The best part? Silk worm pupae are packed with iron, protein and calcium.
Inago no tsukudani is a crunchy Japanese delicacy made from locusts. These grasshoppers are boiled in a sweet mixture of soy sauce and sugar and often served with rice or by itself as a snack. Grasshoppers are not only cost-effective but an easy way to consume protein.
Fried tarantulas are a popular delicacy in Cambodia and chances are, you’ve already caught a few glimpses of these snacks on Instagram. These photogenic treats are usually fried in oil, seasoned with salt, MSG, sugar and garlic and often described as being similar in taste to soft shell crabs.
These giant bug snacks are found commonly across Southeast Asian countries and are as big as 2-3 inches on average. The water bugs are prepared by either being lightly boiled or deep fried and then salted and are said to taste like a mixture of watery scrambled eggs, licorice and mushy crabs.
This soup contains a mixture of baby ants, embryos and eggs and is said to release a sour flavor when the eggs pop in your mouth. This dish can be found in several different Asian countries, including Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Fried cockroaches are a high-protein meal found in parts of China and can be served either toasted, boiled, fried or sautéed. They are crunchy with a strong aftertaste and are even said to contain powerful antibiotic properties!
Deep fried bamboo worms are a popular snack in Thailand and are often compared to the texture of potato chips or popcorn with a spiced flavor. These little worms are very thin and around 2-3 centimeters long, low in fat but high in protein.
Fried centipedes are often served on a skewer and are commonly seen among street food vendors in China. Because it’s fried to a crisp, it can end up tasting like a bunch of shells or dry spaghetti noodles.
Fried cicadas feature a lot of muscle and are high in protein but low in fat — much like other similar insect dishes — and are consumed across several different Asian countries including China and Japan. When they’re boiled, they are said to taste a bit like shrimp but they can also be eaten raw, which is said to have a more nutty flavor.
Support our Journalism with a Contribution
Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.
Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.
However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.
We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community.
Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.