Yep, you read that right. I’m about to discuss eating bugs. I originally planned this post after finding a package of snack crickets in Charleston (more on the Charleston trip soon!), but then I realized that crickets are a Filipino delicacy. Kamaro, a cricket based dish in the Philippines, is actually an appetizer originating from my parents’ home province of Pampanga. In fact, I was told by my mom and dad today that my late grandmother on my dad’s side knew how to make this dish really well and subsequently taught one of my aunts. My mom says it’s pretty pricey over there— I can only imagine; I mean just think about the effort it takes to catch these things!
According to CNN Travel, Kamaro uses mole crickets which includes cooks removing the legs , wings, and heads in some cases so that the body can be cooked. I’m sure you are just dying to know how they’re cooked. Well, this is how it goes down: cricket bodies are boiled in vinegar and garlic (some of my favorite flavors and very much part of the Filipino cooking profile), then sauteed in oil, onion, and chopped tomatoes until chocolate brown. Once that’s all said and done, you’re left with a crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside kind of texture. *Raise the roof*
Sooooo…. at this point, you might be wondering what exactly are the benefits of eating bugs? Certainly cultures that eat bugs find something tasty about them and I totally respect people’s varying culinary palates. But, being the registered dietitian that I am, I’ve got to be curious about the nutritional content of these little critters. After doing some Google searching this afternoon, here’s what I’ve found:
I know, I know, you’re probably still trying to convince yourself about the bugs. Though Thailand may be considered the bug eating capital of the world to most, some of our very own American celebrities have adventurous palates. I was not shocked about Angelina Jolie, as I can’t figured out if she’s trying to be “that guy(chick)” or genuinely has a passion/interest/taste for all the things that she does.
In terms of my own encounters with these little critters, I actually found some crickets while perusing the Historic Charleston City Market. While walking among the candy and food vendors, I found the most peculiar shelf that included candy underwear and something else. Upon closer look, I realized that this “something else” was different flavored crickettes.
After consulting with the cashier, I decided to get the Bacon and Cheese flavor since bacon and cheese makes everything taste better, right? Though these are not on par with the cricket/beetle looking things that are typically snacked on in Southeast Asia, it’s still pretty foreign to me. Below are some closer snapshots of my purchase:
So you’ll notice I went with the bacon cheddar flavor
I had to zoom in so you could see that these were legit crickets. They’re definitely not the bigger beetle-looking mole crickets from the Philippines, but they are just as intimidating to me.
I don’t know about you, but all my life I have been deathly afraid of bugs. Not wanting to touch or see them certainly affects my interest (or lack thereof) in eating them. Looking back at the video below I agree that I was a bit dramatic. I know that I am no Andrew Zimmerman or Anthony Bourdain, and I am totally okay with that. I respect people of other cultures that enjoy these ingredients, but I’ll respectfully say that this wasn’t my cup of tea (or bugs).
Probably the most redeeming thing about this video is my good ol’ pup Lou (you can find him hiding on my disclaimer page as well). I keep asking my husband if they really taste like bacon since he told me he ate one the other day when he saw the box in our bedroom. I’m assuming it was no big deal to him; I’m ashamed to say it was a big deal for me. I should have had my glass of red wine prior to my snack. P.S. I’ll apologize in advance for my disheveled look; I just had finished chasing my dog in the rain and giving him a bath :)