Grasshoppers On The Menu: You Ate What?
Grasshoppers on a stick! Have you ever considered having skewered grasshoppers? Set a skewered grasshopper on my plate and my eyebrows will raise fast! You want me to eat that? Yet, much of the world considers this to be a delicacy. Insect eating is not as far-fetched as you might think. At least, when you get out of the West, that is. Grasshoppers on a stick are served across much of Asia as a delightful treat. Go to China and you will see bouquets of skewered grasshoppers on the street coroners. Visit a Taiwan Night Market and you will see many varieties of this humble insect served.
The art of eating the humble insect is not as unusual as you might believe. Outside of the West, business is booming! It is so common, that even the United Nations has addressed it. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that there are more than 1,400 protein-rich insect species that are consumed around the world. These are not only consumed, but they are enjoyed!
So will Americans eventually join the rest of the world to consume insects? Maybe, but just not “this American.” School children in American institutions are being taught about the art of insect eating. It is estimated that if Americans would do their part to broaden their diets, that the world would not go hungry. It takes an enormous amount of food, water, and land to raise a cow. Compare this to raising the equivalent amount of protein in grasshoppers.
But do you need to go to Asia to find insects on the menu? Not really, just go to the Bug Bowl! The Bug Bowl at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana is a major festival. This well-liked festival began in 1990 and now attracts over 10,000 people world wide. One of the favorites on the menu is Chocolate Covered Crickets! You might want to look in on the Bug Bowl before you leave for your next next Asian adventure.
If you have an open mind, you will see many keys to avoiding hunger while in Asia. One of them is to eat all parts of an animal. Another is to get part of your protein from the insect world. So if you have an inquiring mind, do try Skewered Grasshoppers and Chocolate covered Crickets on your next trip to the night market. The lines can be long, so they must be good!
What are you waiting for? Pack your bag and grab your passport; make this the year you broaden your mind in Taiwan’s Night Market.