Did you know that insects have served as a food source for people for tens of thousands of years, all over the planet? But today insect eating is rare in the developed world, but insects remain a popular food in many developing regions of Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. People from these countries eat insects for nutritional value as well as for taste.
According to the Entomological Society of America insects generally contain more protein and are lower in fat than traditional meats. In addition they have about 20 times higher food conversion efficiency than traditional meats. In other words they have a better feed-to-meat ratio than beef, pork, lamb or chicken.
List of Edible Insects
Agave worm: Also known as the maguey worm, these larvae of either the Hypopta agavis moth or the Aegiale hesperiaris are sometimes included in tequila bottles as proof of authenticity and alcohol content. In Mexico, they are also eaten as part of a meal, and are highly nutritious.
Honeypot ants have abdomens swollen with a nectar-like substance, which is used to feed other ants, sort of like a “living larder.” An excellent “bush food,” they are dug up from the ground and eaten raw by aboriginal peoples in Australia.
Leafcutter ants, also known as Hormigas Culonas in Spanish (which means big-butted ant) are eaten mainly in South America. They are said to taste like a cross between bacon and pistachio, and are usually eaten toasted. In Colombia, they are sold like popcorn at movie theaters.
Lemon ants are found in the Amazon jungle and are said to taste just like that: lemons.
Bamboo worm: Often eaten fried in Thailand, they are the larvae of the Grass Moth, and eat their way through bamboo before metamorphosing.
Bee: Bee larvae, especially, are prized in many cultures as tasty morsels. Think about it, all they eat is royal jelly, pollen, and honey! The larvae, when sauteed in butter, taste much like mushroomy bacon. Adult bees may also be eaten, often roasted (roast bee!) and then ground into a nutritious flour. In China, ground bees are used as a remedy for a sore throat.
Cockroach: Yes, you can eat cockroaches! Just not the ones you find around your house. Contrary to popular belief, cockroaches can actually be very clean and tasty insects, especially if they are fed on fresh fruits and vegetables. They can be eaten toasted, fried, sauteed, or boiled. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches have a taste and texture like greasy chicken.
Cricket: eaten fried, sauteed, boiled, and roasted, these are amongst the most common insects eaten. Eaten in Mexico, Thailand, Cambodia.