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Entomophagy - The Art of Eating Insects

Updated on April 23, 2013

Entomophagy is defined as the consumption of insects for food. Insects that were once thought of as “yucky” are now becoming elegant food. Slowly, but surely, they have made their way into gourmet restaurants. In fact, eating insects is not at all uncommon, especially in some parts of the world. It is estimated that 2.5 billion people around the world include insects in their diets, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Mexico ranks high in the consumption of insects. Out of the 1,800 species of edible insects registered in the world, Mexico houses 549 of them. These insects are mainly eaten by indigenous families living in Oaxaca, Guerrero, Puebla, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Michoacán and Chiapas. It is not uncommon to find edible insects in Mexican markets, insects such as grasshoppers, ants and bugs. These insects are usually eaten barbequed or fried, with lemon and chile.

However, Mexico does not rank #1 in the consumption of edible insects. In Japan, even restaurants are including these edible insects in their menu. For example, it is not uncommon to see zaza-mushi (aquatic larvae) and hachi-no-ko (wasp larvae) listed in menus; in China, grasshoppers and beetles marinated in soy sauce and ginger; or in Indonesia, fried and salty dragon flies.

In Thailand there is even a restaurant dedicated to edible insects. Its name says it all: “Insect King”. In the capital, Bangkok, grocery markets sell different types of edible insects and arachnids, such as crickets, beetles, aquatic cockroaches, scorpions, and tarantulas.

Are Edible Insects Nutritious?

Yes, they are highly nutritious. Many of these edible insects contain more protein that chicken, meat and fish. For example, 100 grams of grasshoppers contain 62-77% protein, while the same amount of meat only contains 50-57%. Another benefit of edible insects is their high amount of raw fiber and lack of cholesterol, which makes them easier to digest. Among other advantages is the fact that edible insects can be stored for years without spoiling or losing their nutritional value.

Are Edible Insects Gourmet Food?

Because of their flavor, as well as their nutritional value, entomophagy has been winning the hearts of even the pickiest eaters, making these edible insects elegant food. Many restaurants are including in their recipes foods such as tempura crickets, caterpillar salad, pizzas with cockroaches and beetles as toppings, and caterpillars garnished with soy or ginger.

If this trend continues, maybe we won’t have to go to the supermarket anymore. We can just look out the window and grab the insect of our preference.


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    • Silver Q profile image

      Silver Q 4 years ago

      Hi chooy!

      That's a really good question, and unfortunately I don't know the answer to it. I will look it up and post it in this hub if I find the answer.

      Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Chooy 4 years ago

      What's the ranking of the countries with high insect consumption?

    • Silver Q profile image

      Silver Q 5 years ago

      Hi pstraubie48!

      Thank you for reading this hub. I don't mind at all. Go ahead and use it!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      I would like to provide the link to your hub for the hub I am writing to this topic. Do you mind? If so I will not? Thanks either way.

    • Jenne Joy profile image

      Jenne Joy 6 years ago from Michigan

      I've seen candied insects, actually. However, I don't think I could ever eat an insect; though I hear the average person eats 8 spiders a year in their sleep--or something like that. Yuck!

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      I was a science teacher and knew all about this! OMUM deliciaous, but so far not for me. I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. Up one and Useful. Hey! I'm now your fan! RJ

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 6 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      I've never eaten an Insect,intentionally anyway.I suppose if I were hungry enough I'd try it.I like to know where my food has gone through before I eat it.When you hear that vegatables can kill you ,you can't be too careful.I'd have mine well done.