I know I have written about bugs and the nutritional value that insects contain for some time now. I’ve even indicated that a large percentage of the world’s population dine on edible insects. However, I’ve never really indicated what some of those countries are other than to point out that insect protein is in many cases a vital part of many different cultures. So this time around my goal is to focus on the top bug eating countries in the world.
1 – Thailand
Entomophagy is nothing new to the people of Thailand. In fact, many snack on fried bugs and chase them down with a frosty cold beer. Outdoor markets in the larger cities feature vendors selling fried edible insects and one very popular national treat is a deep-fried cricket covered in a soy sauce-like seasoning with pepper. Other insects that are commonly eaten in Thailand include grasshoppers and wood worms.
2 – Ghana
Termites happen to be viewed differently by Ghanaians than they are by most of the rest of us. While many find them pests, the people of Ghana usually dine on them along with other insects as a normal part of their daily diet. Termites are actually high in proteins, oils and fats and are typically fried, roasted or ground into flour for baking. Bugs fill the meal plans when food is in short supply during the spring.
3 – Mexico
If you think I’m heading towards talking about worms in bottles of tequila, you would be wrong. Bugs have been on the Mexican food radar for centuries and have become somewhat of a delicacy in many cases. Choices range from French-fried caterpillars and ant eggs smothered in hot butter to candy-covered worms and chocolate-covered locusts. And, yes, there’s also that bottle of mescal with a moth larvae inside of it to drink.
4 – China
Insects in their larval state are often served in the fanciest of dining establishments in China. The Chinese are also known to snack on boiled water bugs soaked in vinegar and live scorpions swimming in liquor. Roasted bee larvae and fried silkworm larvae are top choices simply because they register high in iron, copper, zinc, thiamin and riboflavin. When the people of China start to feel the winter chill, they warm with a bowl of ant soup.
5 – Brazil
Queen ants are the national edible insect of choice in Brazil. In fact, celebrations revolve around the massive winged ants that pop out from underground late each year. They are collected where their wings are removed and the ants are either fried or dipped in chocolate as snacks for Brazilians. The ants are so popular that they are celebrated in many different ways throughout the country. Apparently, they taste like mint.
6 – Australia
If it wasn’t for the high concentration of protein found in edible insects, they probably wouldn’t be eaten in Australia. The Aborigines are the primary diners on bugs down under and are fond of cooked moths. Honey-pot ants and wood-eating moth larvae are also favorites. When roasted the insects taste a little like almond although the practice has not really gained a foothold in the urban centres that house large populations of Aussies.
Other Countries That Enjoy Insect Protein
Japan and The Netherlands are the last two countries to make our list. Bugs have been a common dietary item in Japanese culture for centuries and are still featured items in many a restaurant. The Netherlands is fairly new to the concept of eating bugs. Insect breeding is commonplace in this country and the popularity of eating them is starting to sweep the nation. I have an eBook on the subject of edible insects. It’s called ‘The Foodie Guide To Farming Insects For Protein.” Order your copy today. My eBook is available at Amazon.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.