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For All Of Your Bug Eating Needs

Bug Carts About Bangkok

By Scott Bowers

No sooner had I stepped off the airplane in Thailand when I was looking for bugs to eat. Stories that I heard had whet my appetite for baskets of bugs in every market. Alas, the bugs were hard to find. I searched high and low for three days in the markets of Bangkok for some buggy goodness, but none was to be found. I figured that bug season was not at hand, and I gave up the chase. Following that you get what you want as soon as you stop searching, however, I hit the jackpot on day four. I was wandering around the grounds of the temple of the Emerald Buddha. I ran into a couple of people that I had met at the hotel, and we decided to go out to get some dinner. As we left the sacred grounds, I saw it. Before my eyes was a huge pile of fried giant crickets. If that wasn't enough, the same cart featured a pile of grubs, beetles with a metallic green colored shell, and another grasshopper type insect. For a mere 40 baht, I could have a bag full of bugs! Well, we couldn't resist. The three of us snacked on fried bugs, and they were good. A very helpful security guard showed us the proper ways of bug snackdom, and before long we were pros. The crickets, with their crunchy legs, tasted the best to me. These bugs, however, were only the start of the adventure.

The best bug eating occurs at the Weekend Chapultapuk Market. Everywhere I looked, there were carts of any kind of food you could imagine. Of course, I was looking for the exotic, and I was not disappointed. At one cart, I found what was probably the most tasty of all the bugs. I am not certain to this day what it was, but it looked like some kind of underwater praying mantis. The abdomen was very large... about the size of two thumbs, and the meat was very tender like a tater tot. It was served with what appeared to be a typical mix of salt and pepper. I could not find any other insects that I had not yet tasted, but as fortune had it, I came across a cart full of scorpions and deep-fried chicken embryos. Jackpot! The lady running the bug cart sold me a very large scorpion for 10 baht. She removed the stinger, and I ate the scorpion from the tail. The claws of the scorpion were too hard to chew, so I used them as toothpicks. I have to admit, the scorpion tasted better than any insect that I had tried. I placed my "toothpick" in the trash and started on my way, but I could not bring myself to leave. Even though I am a vegetarian, I could not pass up the exciting spectacle of eating embryo. So, I paid another 10 baht for one baby chicken. I figured the best way to go about eating it would be to dive in so to speak. I bit off the head expecting the crunch of bones and the gush of brains, but I was very surprised to experience neither. It seems that the embryo was killed before the bones had a chance to harden. Instead of a mouthful of variety, I found the consistency and texture of the chicken head to be quite pleasing. It tasted similar to, but much tastier than a chicken nugget from some fast-food restaurant. The entire chicken had the same taste and texture. It was wonderful.

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