Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fried Bugs in Bangkok

My idea for everyone to try eating insects didn’t go down well with the boys initially. After all, we were in Bangkok, one of the greatest food capitals of the world (to me at least) and insects were being served. I purchased about 60 baht (S$2.50) of various creepy crawlies from a street vendor in Chatuchak with the boys watching warily behind me. The toothless old woman gave me an amused smile as she packed the insects. Obviously, I hadn’t been the only ‘farang’ to buy insects for the sake of experimentation.

All my positive justifications to the boys about how bugs are high in protein and sustainable to the environment went to high hell once I placed the insects onto the plate. One look at the massive water beetle with its cockroach like legs and beady black eyes and I could almost smell the bile rising in everyone’s throat.

“I am not fucking eating that,” Deen declared, the tone of his voice telling me that his decision wasn’t up for discussion. I shrugged. I had expected that response and in that expectation, had bought only two of those foul looking prehistoric bugs. But there were still plenty more grasshoppers, crickets and grubs fried to a perfect crisp to be shared.

Slowly and grudgingly, the boys picked up the bugs and chewed them down between shots of coke and amusingly, a 2008 Marlborough Pinot Noir. Bet those schmucks at Denise didn’t think of including such a pairing at their tastings.

The credit though goes to Khairil for his bold and misinformed decision to eat the first water beetle. I had to overcome the wave of revulsion as he gamely plucked off one of the fat cockroach like legs and tried chewing on it before stuffing the whole bug in his mouth. After visibly fighting the urge to puke everything back up, he complained of a bad tasting pus-like liquid that came out of the beetle’s body once he chewed on it.

It was just disgusting to watch. I had to tell myself that it was all a psychological reaction that had been ingrained in our minds since young that bugs are disgusting creatures. I had to tell myself that because there was still one more water beetle left. And as the foodie in our group, there is no way I’m getting left behind on any culinary adventure. So yeah, I ate it. And just so you know, it’s really FUCKING DISGUSTING.