The bee's knees of bug dishes
June 3rd, 2013
04:30 PM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

It’s already been a big year for bugs. There are the horror movie-style warnings of the cicada invasion that is supposed to hit any minute now. More recently, Eatocracy highlighted a new United Nations report, "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security," that tells you everything you need to know about its message in the title.

If you don’t eat insects, you might one day be in the minority. Two billion people worldwide chow down on them, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which sees bugs as a terrific source of viable protein.

Even better, you have lots of choices: It’s estimated that there are 1,900 different insect species to eat. Here, a couple good options to get non-insect eaters started.

What: Blue Corn Tacos with Wax Moth Larvae
Where: Don Bugito (
San Francisco, California)
This food truck from chef/artist Monica Martinez brilliantly calls itself a Prehispanic Snackeria. Its website features glorious pictures of dishes like Chocolate-Covered Crickets with Itty Bitty Grains of Salt, and the truck and catering company specializes in dishes like Blue Corn Tacos with Wax Moth Larvae. “All our dishes contain edible bugs” is the proud tagline on the menu.

What: Peas with Carrot Foam and Mealworms
Where: Aphrodite (Nice, France) 

This Michelin-starred restaurant offers a whole insect-focused "Alternative Food" prix fixe menu for 59 euros, which includes a corn crémeux with foie gras and crickets (chef David Faure says crickets have a popcorn-like flavor), and peas with carrot foam and mealworms.

What: Amazonian Ants with Germinated Coconut
Where: D.O.M. (São Paulo, Brazil)
One of the world’s great chefs, Alex Atala, spotlights the diversity of his native Brazilian ingredients at D.O.M. That includes raw Amazonian ants served on top of cubes of germinated coconut with seaweed. Atala told the British newspaper The Guardian that he encountered the ants on an Amazon trip: “I was with the Baniwa tribe in the far north, near the Venezuelan border. Interestingly, they don’t eat these ants for protein, the way other cultures often eat insects, but as a treat, a bit like sweets.”

What: Bee Larvae Beer
Where: Noma’s Nordic Food Lab (Copenhagen, Denmark)
It’s not just elite South American and French chefs who are pushing bug cuisine boundaries. Last summer, chef René Redzepi of Noma - which was named the World’s Best Restaurant by Restaurant magazine for three years in a row - made headlines when he served live ants at his restaurant. Now, his food lab, located on a houseboat, is experimenting with beer, including one made with bee larvae. Lab director Michael Born Frøst was asked if there’s anything he wouldn’t put in the beer. “No,” he said.

What: Cicada Sushi
Where: Miya’s Sushi (New Haven, Connecticut)
Of course someone was going to get creative with the billions of cicadas we’re expecting. That person could well be sushi chef Bun Lai, who has already garnered tons of accolades for his environmentally focused restaurant, Miya’s Sushi, not to mention the attention for his fried rice with mealworms and crickets. He told the New Haven Register, in a story headlined “If You Can’t Beat Them, Eat Them,” that he’s going to fill a freezer full of cicadas. Then, he’ll steam or boil them with flavorings. “I don’t want to take something that’s inherently nutritious and deep-fry it,” he explained. “If I’m going to interrupt this amazing, 17-year life cycle, I’m going to honor it and respect it.”

More from Food & Wine:

Best Burgers in the U.S.

America’s Wacky Fair Foods

America’s Weirdest Regional Foods

America’s Best Bars

Summer Grilling Recipes

Where to eat insects in the U.S.
Eat insects, save the world says U.N.
Get your grubs on around the world
Mexico's insects may hold the key to battling hunger
The case for eating insects
Health department bugs out over grasshopper tacos
I scream, you scream, we all scream when there are cicadas in the ice cream

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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Ingredients • Insects

soundoff (7 Responses)
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    September 26, 2014 at 3:20 am |
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    June 11, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
  3. rh

    Only issue is where the bugs are from and how they were grown. I would NEVER eat a cicada near where I live (NYC) because there are so many pesticides and pollutants around.

    June 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  4. foodieinternational

    Don't forget the popular insect dishes of Southeast Asia! I recently visited Romdeng, a restaurant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia that serves up several unusual signature dishes, from citrus-flavored red tree ants to deep-fried tarantula.The restaurant is part of an organization that trains and employs disadvantaged street youth in the food and hospitality industry. Romdeng's self-proclaimed "creative Cambodian cuisine" and corresponding cookbooks have won multiple international awards.

    June 3, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • epenguin

      Yet we live in a civilized 21st century society that is not a 3rd world country, why would we have to eat insects? Seem disgusting. Id prefer to eat grass.

      June 4, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  5. Edwin

    Slimy yet satisfying!

    June 3, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
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