Have you ever thought about snacking on a scorpion… maybe crunching a cockroach…or even tasting a tarantula?
Many Cambodian people find these bugs very palatable and it is something that you may like to try while here in Siem Reap.
1. Good Source of Nutrients:
Most of us have swallowed a bug at sometime in our life – and for me being brought up in Australia – I know I have.
On these occasions, I remember whining to my mother coughing and spluttering. Her standard answer was always “It is good protein”…..and guess what…she was absolutely right.
The United Nations recognize this fact that indeed bugs do hold a great source of protein and 3 million pounds is being spent to explore this option further.
Bugs have surprising nutritional value:
Crickets for example per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) contain: 12.9 grams of protein, 5.5 g. of fat, 5.1 g. of carbohydrates, 75.8 mg. calcium, 185.3 mg. of phosphorous, 9.5 mg. of iron, 0.36 mg. of thiamine, 1.09 mg. of riboflavin, 3.10 mg. of niacin and .05% fat.
Caterpillars are rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and iron, as well as various other vitamins.
Snake contains plenty of Vitamin A, B6, C, copper, iron and magnesium.
Tarantulas are rich in protein, folic acid and zinc
Scorpion contain high levels of protein and potassium
….and are all low in calories.
2. The Health Benefits Of Eating Bugs:
Eating bugs has a range of health benefits that may just surprise you:-
- Chitin is a polysaccharide found in insects and crustaceans but not mammals – it has anti-viral and anti-tumor qualities.
- The nutrients in bugs boost the immune systems to help prevent disease.
- According to the UN, “Increasing the consumption of insects in early childhood could support against allergies in later life.”
- Insects are taxonomically distant from humans, which makes them less likely to transmit disease like H5N1 and mad-cow disease.
3. Humans Have A Long History Of Eating Bugs:
The Ancient Greeks served cicadas at feasts, which were grand and elaborate banquets. While the Romans dined on stag beetle larvae that was considered a delicacy. Native Australia aboriginals still eat bugs and lava today, while the Americas Native Indians have been eating a variety of nutritious grubs for thousands of years.
A tradition of eating bugs is nothing new, has been part of cuisines all over the planet throughout our history and throughout many cultures.
Even today there are some exclusive restaurants around the world that serve up a plate of very expensive fried tarantulas.
4. Eliminate World Hunger:
Bugs are being explored could offer up a solution in the struggle against world hunger.
It is estimated that today over 1,000,000,000 people are chronically hungry and the numbers are increasing. Bugs take very little water to grow and because they are cold-blooded, they are more efficient at turning feed into protein.
They also produce much fewer emissions than traditional livestock and they do not need a large amount of land to grow. Many insects can actually safely consume agricultural waste, which helps to clean up the environment as they grow and are much easier to produce that conventional farms.
5. If More People Ate Bugs:
If more people switch to an insect-rich diet – replacing the traditional forms of protein such as chicken and beef with crickets, ants and termites – the world would be a much different place.
Greenhouse gasses are said to be produced from emissions coming from grazing cows – and a drastic reduction in these emissions would have a great impact on our environment.
Up to 30% of the world’s land surface could be reclaimed from the farming industry – by producing bug farms this would reduced the number exponentially.
Up to 33% could be cut from average food prices in most countries because eating bugs is cheap.
Up to 18% of our global greenhouse gas emissions could be eliminated…because bugs don’t fart.
6. Ethical Considerations:
Many people do not eat meat because of the ethical issues and bugs have nutrients that a plant based diet do not contain.
From a moral standpoint – it has been shown that insects are further down the food chain than other livestock and this would reduce many animal welfare issues. This could potentially be among the important reasons to eat insects for vegans and vegetarians, especially as they are high in Vitamin B12, which is not obtainable from plants.
Bugs require less space and studies have proven that they like to be in close proximity to each other.
7. Bug Comparison Test:
Currently, two billion people eat insects around the world…and in some countries, they are considered a delicacy,
Some people love eating bugs and have acquired quite a liking to them – they have compared the taste of everyday foods that we know.
Insects can be pan-fried, boiled, sautéed, roasted, or baked with a bit of oil and salt. They can also be made into flour and used for bars, breads, crackers and cookies.
Deep Fried Tarantula tastes like crispy chicken.
Fried crickets have been compared to Doritos.
Deep fried locusts taste like popcorn and when battered taste similar to prawn.
Meal worms taste similar to tamarind and once caramelized can be used as an ice cream topping.
The raw grub tastes like almonds, but after cooking develops a crispy skin like roasted pork and an inside similar to a fried egg.
Some larvae depending on the type taste like bacon.
There are over 1,000 varieties of bugs and edible insects that are being looked at as an exciting new food source packed with nutritional benefits. Not only are scientists finding out the potential of bugs – but how many health benefits these little critters really do have.
Maybe bugs are the way of the future and with the many varieties available ….maybe there is something for everyone’s taste.
If you would like to eat a bug while here in Siem Reap…
Just find one of our Eat – A – Bug Vendors
Get it on video – Send it into us
We will put YOU in our Cambodian Buzz Eat – A – Bug Hall Of Fame