Are you yearning for chocolate-covered cicadas? How about spicy chrysalis silkworm soup? Fortunately for you, edible insects have been crawling onto menus of restaurants all across the nation, leaving many Americans craving for more.
According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, edible insects contain high-quality proteins, vitamins and amino acids that help diversify diets and improve nutrition. Throughout history, people have relied on eating bugs, not just for added nutrients, but also to survive. Hunter-gathers ate them tens of thousands of years ago, and the tradition has been preserved across many different cultures.
The practice of eating insects, known as entomophagy, is most common in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is estimated that about 2 billion people, or roughly one-third of the world’s population, eat insects every day, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization.
Here are some places you can find bug cuisine across the nation.
Chouquette Chocolates, Maryland
It’s cicada season, and this chocolate store is not holding back. Chouquette Chocolates is selling cicadas dipped in milk or dark chocolate online. The recipe is on its Facebook page for those who want to try making their own at home. The fresh cicadas are first frozen and then dipped in boiling water for 10 seconds. The bugs are sprinkled with oil and spices of your choice and air-fried for three minutes. Finally, they are cooled and covered with chocolate.
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Black Ant, New York City
Located in Manhattan’s East Village, this restaurant focuses on using traditional Mexican-sourced ingredients in its cuisine, such as cacao, corn and cinnamon. Black Ant is known for its bug-themed signature dishes, which include black ant guacamole sprinkled with black ant salt, Tlayuda (a tortilla topped with sautéed grasshoppers, cheese and fresh salsa) and enchapulinados (a corn tortilla with grasshopper coated fried shrimp, apple slaw, avocado cream and salsa morita). You can also start off your meal with pollo de plaza, black ant guajillo jerk roasted chicken. Options differ depending on whether you are coming for brunch or dinner.
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Goodies Gone Wild, New Jersey
This business located in Ocean City, New Jersey, carries an eclectic variety of over 500 different hot sauces, 30 different animalsfrozen or in jerky form and 50 flavors of cotton candy. It also features edible critters, ranging from chocolate-covered super worms, grasshoppers, tarantulas and crickets. The store provides in-person shopping.
Sushi Mazi, Oregon
Nestled in Southeast Division street of Portland, Oregon, this restaurant is led by Chef Marc and his team who like to experiment with food, new ingredients and different techniques. Although the menu offers spider rolls, the dish does not contain any spiders. The number one item on the menu, however, is the grasshopper sushi which does contain real grasshoppers on top of rice. Apparently, it is a “food you must have before you die!”
Found in Northwest Avenue of Wynwood, Miami, this 6,000-foot indoor and outdoor restaurant gives customers the “true Mexican experience,” allowing guests to witness tortilla making. The menu offers four exotic bug-themed dishes: salsa de hormigas chicatanas (chicatana ants salsa, peanuts, olive oil and guajillo and arbol chiles), guzanos de maguey (pan-fried agave worms served on blue corn tortilla), escamoles (ant eggs, butter and epazote served on blue corn tortilla) and toastada de chapulines (crispy grasshoppers, guacamole and cotija cheese on blue corn tortilla).