We're Probably Crazy, But We're Thinking About Eating Bugs
July 11, 2009 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Where can I eat bugs in southern California - on purpose?

I blame this partially on watching too many episodes of Bizarre Foods and partly on y6 for thinking this is a good idea. (It's probably not, but we're silly that way.) We're looking for a place that serves bugs on the menu - and while I can google up a few places (there may be a Thai place in Santa Monica, can't find a link at the moment) I'd love to know if anyone has actually been to a restaurant that served bugs in the US. We can also road trip to anywhere in southern CA, will be going to Las Vegas soon and will be at the meetup in New Orleans. Any suggestions? (Yes, I'm afraid we will take photos.) Or any tips on bug eating, even if you've only had them in other countries?

I'm leaning more towards something small like ants and away from something like the giant cockraoch that would take more than one bite. y6 thinks scorpions sounds like fun.
*eye roll*
Obviously we're hoping that at a restaurant the bug supply will be something raised at home and not just scraped off the wall.

I've done a few searches here but may have missed a thread - most of the ones on bugs were about getting rid of them or eating one by accident. Let me know if I've missed something obvious!
posted by batgrlHG to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The California Museum of Natural History has a Bug Fair every year, with some bug comestibles. I haven't eaten the centipedes, I would rather let the Rose Tarantula and the Emperor Scorpion crawl up my arm and feel there sticky little feet on my skin. Heh. Get thee to yon Bug Fair.
posted by effluvia at 12:29 PM on July 11, 2009

Typhoon at the Santa Monica Airport has:

Singapore-style scorpions
taiwanese crickets
chambi ants
thai-style white sea worms
posted by sharkfu at 12:30 PM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

Eddie Lin of Deep End Dining wrote about experiences at typhoon and bug-eating here, here (with zimmern of bizarre foods!) and here. If you go through his blog, it'll probably act as a guide to eating like Andrew Zimmern in Southern California.
posted by necessitas at 1:18 PM on July 11, 2009

Guelaguetza at Sepulveda and Palms in LA often has fried crickets with cheese. Call first. And nowhere near as expensive as Typhoon, though I do love Typhoon.
posted by musofire at 1:20 PM on July 11, 2009

Oops, I meant to add this. Here's Andrew Zimmern eating bugs in LA.
posted by necessitas at 1:22 PM on July 11, 2009

The Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans. "...sample exotic insect cuisine..."
posted by Night_owl at 1:38 PM on July 11, 2009

Palms in Hollywood has a wild game section on their menu, viewabe online.

I think that the in house menu has some insects, but I don't remember for sure. Its been a while since I was there.
posted by SLC Mom at 2:13 PM on July 11, 2009

I've had lemony, garlicy grasshoppers at La Morenita Oaxaqueña. They were surprisingly tasty and not at all what I had imagined insects to taste like. Grasshoppers will give you a nice intro to insects-as-food because the thought of them isn't stomach turning like, say, squishy critters.
posted by HotPatatta at 2:19 PM on July 11, 2009

According to the new book, The Dangerous World of Butterflies, Dr. Arthur Shapiro at U.C. Davis knows something about the eating of insects; he may be able to point you in the right direction. The book recommends the Audubon Insectarium mentioned above, too, but it's NoLa. The book has about ten pages on the eating of insects and larvae.
posted by AzraelBrown at 2:24 PM on July 11, 2009

Seconding Typhoon. I'm certain that's exactly what you're looking for. I've seen folks try the crickets and the ants, although I've never been able to try them myself, they've insisted they're actually good.

A bonus is that the non-crawly food there is excellent, and so whoever you bring along (insect-eaters or notsomuchontheinsectspleasethankyou-types), a good time will be had by all.
posted by pazazygeek at 3:00 PM on July 11, 2009

Cool, this is exactly the kind of info I needed!

Depending on when we can roadtrip to Typhoon I'll pop back in here and post a link to our photos. From what I saw on tv I could definitely handle the ants dish - maybe the scorpions, but not sure about the crickets. I think I have to say no the worms though - bleh. Texture would freak me out. No matter how good the stuff may taste I may end up making a face anyway - if I let myself think about it too long.

Will also be looking into the LA restaurants too - we may even think of doing all of them - we'll see which one y6 likes the sound of. (This will be funny, I think he thought I'd not actually go through with this!) Though I'm really gonna have to get brave to try grasshoppers. Maybe because the grasshoppers I think of are like 3+ inches long - I just typed grosshoppers instead of grasshoppers, which was definitely a "what she's really thinking" kind of slip.

I'll see if the NoLa has anything we can eat - the only hesitation I have in doing insects in New Orleans is that there are SO many, many great places to eat there, and so little time.

(I'm still new at this - how can I mark any as best answer when ALL are helpful?!)
posted by batgrlHG at 4:12 PM on July 11, 2009

I don't know if the worm texture would be an issue in all preparations. When I was in college, the biology lab instructor was grad student studying entomology and very pro-bug eating. She baked us mealworm brownies, and everyone said the mealworms tasted like walnuts. They were toasted before baking so they were crunchy.

As a vegetarian, I did not sample this. Even if I was not a vegetarian, my status as a wimp would have prevented me from sampling
posted by necessitas at 5:12 PM on July 11, 2009

There's a great Oaxaca-style Mexican restaurant in Fullerton called El Fortin. They have quesadillas with chapulines (sauteed grasshoppers) that are excellent; you can also get the chapulines as an appetizer. If you're in the area, send me a MeFi mail; I live just up the street.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:17 PM on July 11, 2009

I've eaten most of the bugs at Typhoon. They mostly tasted like... crunchy.

The worms are tiny, they don't have any chewy texture to them. They also tasted like crunchy.

One of the things I didn't want to eat but now I don't remember what it was.

The rest of the food there is pretty darn tasty, so even if you don't enjoy the insects you'll have a good meal.
posted by flaterik at 7:53 PM on July 11, 2009

Just pop'd in to mark some best answers - though actually I found everyone's responses helpful!

We'll be going on our bug dinner within the next few months - will post here with our results!
posted by batgrlHG at 1:27 PM on August 18, 2009

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