Holy Shit, I Just Ate A Massive Cockroach

One of the semi-cliche things to do when you visit Southeast Asia is to eat bugs.  In some ways it’s a bit of a coming of age sort of thing. Heading to Florence, Italy? You’ve gotta eat Gelato on the Ponte Vecchio. England? Fish and Chips. Thailand? A portion of creepy-crawlies. But, more than that, it’s also a great opportunity to push our boundaries and try a future-food. What do I mean by future-food? Moving forward bugs will be an increasingly important part of our diets as they’re a valuable, easy, and slightly more ethical alternative to other types of meats. We’ve already started to see bugs pop up in high-end supermarkets such as Denmark’s Irma chain, and dried caterpillars and termites are cornerstones of Sub-Saharan African diets. So, I decided to push my limits and give the bugs a go. Every crunchy, goose-bump inspiring, bite is covered in this video, so…enjoy!

P.S. – I hope you’re hungry!

For this video I found a small food cart at Bangkok’s Sunday Market. The cart was situated in the very back of the market where few tourists go on the other side of the pet/fish section. It was an old woman selling the bugs which I purchased from the vendor immediately after a local woman had picked up a hearty bag of crispy eats. Are bugs a regular part of your average Thai’s diet? Probably not. At least not in Bangkok. But, at least it brought with it some semblance of local flavor.

Unfortunately, as is the case with a lot of fried food around the world, I suspect the bugs could have actually been quite decent if not cooked in a rather old-tasting shrimp sauce and oil. Either way, some were surprisingly good and believe it or not, the cockroach was one of the best! Next time, I’ll be aiming to get them fresh and to try cooking them my way. After all, there’s nothing a bit of salt, olive oil, butter and garlic can’t fix! Still hungry? Don’t miss these videos about bizarre foods here, here and here.

Strange Food & Odd Ideas

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I like odd food. So long as the smell is good, I can usually master my eyes/mind and down most things. Occasionally I’ll find a texture that’s over the top, but the smell is the real decider for me.  This pension for the bizarre and my love of cooking has gotten me in trouble a few times. The most famous of which involved sliced banana in a conventional roast stew (the meat was still good, but my god the banana tasted like nasty bloody slush).

Last night I got into one of my moods.  I was hankering for something new and odd.  Not just slightly odd, but the type of thing I hadn’t had before.  The type of thing that would expand my horizons. I tried to satiate it by trying a new Indian place but that didn’t even come close.  As the minutes ticked by I found myself browsing the food channel, before eventually giving in. It was 9:35 and I couldn’t resist the urge any longer.  I had to experiment. I tossed my shirt back on, recruited Jenny my roommate and we set off for the local Sprouts super market.

By 9:50 I was prowling the supermarket isles looking for something that might satiate my impulsive quest. Eventually I found two objects that seemed as though they might work.  Giblets and pigs feet. I didn’t have any idea on how to cook the pigs feet and had a hunch they required a lot of time so I decided to go with the Giblets.  For those of you unfamiliar; the Giblets are the heart, liver, gizzard etc. from turkeys & chickens.   While a bit unusual and outside the realm of the average American’s diet, it was still far from odd enough.  So instead of following conventional wisdom I decided I was going to have my own go at it..ala impulse.

Giblets in my cart I wandered through the supermarket pondering what to do.  Before long I had a pineapple, lemon, apple, clove of garlic, and bushel of red radishes in my cart.  By this point Jenny had sighed in disbelief and written it off to another of my usual antics.  After some playful gaffing by the grocery attendant we made our way back to the apartment and I began the adventure.

My ingredients were as follows:

  1. Set of Giblets (Chunked into smaller pieces)
  2. One pineapple
  3. One apple
  4. One clove of garlic
  5. Half of a lemon and lemon peel
  6. Brown sugar
  7. Butter
  8. Shiraz wine

The following is the video record of the process:

I really was shocked that it turned out edible.

All in all it’s not something I’d go out of my way to cook again, but it was decent enough that I saved the remaining half portion for a later snack.   The heart was the best of the batch with a full, more mild flavor.  The liver was strong, but still good so long as you like the taste of liver.  The gizzard’s texture was a bit much, but also tasted decent. The Shiraz added an oak undertone to the whole thing which did not compliment the other tastes very well.

A fun adventure!  On that note, I’d love to hear your suggestions for odd foods and your own personal experiences.  Cooked something equally bizarre?  Have a fun story?  I’d love to hear it in the comments below!

Thanks for reading.