Of all the things you want to put in your mouth insects are, for most people, not one of them. However, that hasn’t stopped them from making their way over to the plates of the Western world. Popularised by shows such as I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, many people buy edible insects in order to hold Bush Tucker Trials of their own. But can you ever consider insects to be a gourmet treat, or will they always simply be served for shock value? Allow me to present you with a delightful menu of the culinary macabre and see if you’re still hungry.
Edible ants come prepared in a variety of ways both sweet and savoury. Giant leafcutter ants are the most popular species used, especially as common preparation methods such as frying can make smaller insects quite fragile. Chocolate-coated queen leafcutter ants are a delicacy to Colombia’s Guane Indians, and are thought to boost the immune system and energy levels.
Usually the larvae of something rather than actual earthworms (these allegedly don’t cook very well). Worms can be baked, fried or put into lollipops, and tend to end up coupled with a wide variety of different flavours. Be glad you are unlikely to find these in your Chinese takeaway Camden Lost Boys-style.
Luckily for you, these tend to have been destinged before sale. Scorpions tend to be served sweet, for example in chocolate and lollipops. However, alcohol, specifically vodka, appears to be another popular accompaniment to the edible scorpion. While a lot of animals eat scorpions in the wild, you definitely wouldn't want to tackle one of these yourself without a decent supply of antivenom.
Another rather unappetising sounding beastie. The hornet is alleged to contain special enzymes that boost strength and energy levels, so much so that Japanese athletes were instructed to consume them before competing in the 2000 Olympic games. This particular insect-based snack features a hornet on a needle suspended inside its own honey, this enabling the release of the beneficial enzymes into it.
One of less common edible insect offerings. This site offers them oven baked (apparently a Cambodian delicacy but once a necessity during the Khmer Rouge period), supplying them with an eating guide and warning diners to remove the fangs before tucking in. Certainly not the meal of choice for an arachnophobic, but apparently quite tasty.
Jolie Johnson is a huge fan of I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! (as well as gourmet cooking). She firmly believes that the two can - and will - be successfully combined.