Eating in Thailand: Beetles, Crickets and Grasshoppers. Yum!

Street Vendor Scooping Up My Buggy Snack in Bangkok, Thailand
Street Vendor Scooping Up My Buggy Snack in Bangkok, Thailand

“Mmm. It’s kind of nutty and creamy,” I said after chomping down a roasted silk worm cocoon in Chiang Khan in the Loei province.

As the group of bloggers I was traveling with walked to dinner, we admired the street vendors roasting a variety of food. Over dancing flames I saw skewers of octopi, legs of chickens, and little balls of meat in which I assume was pork.

Sampling Street Food
We spied a vendor roasting what looked like narrow, shriveled almonds on a wooden skewer but it turned out to be silk worm cocoons. This was my first opportunity to gobble up a pre-butterfly and didn’t know when I’d have another chance.

On the Left Are Roasted Silk Worm Cocoons; #TBEX Blogger Preview Trip, Loei Region of Thailand, March 23 - 25, 2015
On the Left Are Roasted Silk Worm Cocoons; #TBEX Blogger Preview Trip, Loei Region of Thailand, March 23 – 25, 2015

But did I want to? Although I’m a fan of just about any meat-on-a-stick item, I was extremely hesitant and after making the commitment to eat one on camera, I almost gave up. But, I’m a woman of my word – along with being about bragging rights – and two other travel bloggers, Nathaniel Boyle and Noel Morata, were game.

Nathaniel held the skewer and on the count of three, we each plucked off a cocoon and popped in our mouths. It was firm, yet slightly flexible to the touch, kind of like one of my fish oil capsules. After inhaling courage I popped the psuedo-almond in my mouth (forcing myself to believe it was a real nut made it go down a lot easier) and began chewing really fast. There was a slight crunch then a pop of nutty flavor with creamy texture.

Note: Isn’t the video above, filmed by Carol Cain of Girl Gone Travel, awesome???

My Culinary Quest in Bangkok? Insects!
After that little culinary adventure, I made it a goal to find and taste the most bizarre (by American standards) food(s) in Thailand. My goal? Roasted insects.

Following my trip with the bloggers, I spent a few days with a friend in Bangkok. While he worked, I explored a little bit of his neighborhood. Food vendors lined the roadway yet nothing seemed too out of my culinary box. I ended up at McDonald’s where I ate a pork burger and some kind of pie filled with a creamy, purple filling.

Grasshoppers, Crickets, Beetles and More in Bangkok, Thailand, March 2015
Grasshoppers, Crickets, Beetles and More in Bangkok, Thailand, March 2015

The next day, we headed into the city and I told him my goal was to eat insects in Thailand. Our first stop was the Chatuchak Market. Although we saw just a variety of meat on a stick, including chicken ass, we didn’t find insects. It wasn’t until our second to last stop of the day Chao Phraya River, where I spied roasted corn (one of my culinary weaknesses) and a buffet of roasted insects!

“20 baht for photo of all this,” he said before I could ask how much for the beetles, crickets and grasshoppers.

“Ahhh,” he said in a way that made me believe he was impressed with my willingness to snack on grasshoppers, “50 baht.”

Me and the Bangkok Insect Vendor.
Me and the Bangkok Insect Vendor.

I’ll Always Remember My First Grasshopper
Next thing I knew, he filled a small plastic bag with a little bit of everything, including some kind of roasted worm, cocoons, couple varieties of crickets and grasshoppers. He asked if I wanted ground black pepper on them and I nodded, “yes.”

“You like?” he said while holding up a spray bottle with some kind of brown liquid.

I assumed it was soy sauce and nodded my head in agreement. He spritzed my crunchy snacks then handed me the bag. One of my Facebook friends suggested it was Maggi sauce.

He showed me how to eat the grasshoppers – first pull the legs off and suck the meat out then eat the whole grasshopper. How do you eat a beetle? Just pop the whole black sucker into your mouth and chew.

That's me about to eat a grasshopper in Bangkok, Thailand, March 2015.
That’s me about to eat a grasshopper in Bangkok, Thailand, March 2015.

I didn’t sample everything in my bag but tried a couple of cricket species, grasshoppers and beetles. I reckon a bag of roasted insects is the equivalent of the South’s bag of boiled peanuts.

If you plan to dine on crickets, here’s a tip. Pull off and discard the legs – only amateurs eat the legs. Oh! And bring a toothpick along in case an antenna or beetle leg gets stuck between your teeth.

Have you eaten insects? If you haven’t, would you?

Disclosure: I was a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and this post has not been reviewed by the host. Opinions are my own and reflect my honest experience.

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Jenn

Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

5 thoughts on “Eating in Thailand: Beetles, Crickets and Grasshoppers. Yum!

  1. I wish I had the chance to eat more of the street food, not that we were lacking for food the entire time. The silkworm was an acquired taste, I wonder what makes people go back for seconds?

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