On Saturday there was a night market in Nong Khai with all kinds of food. At one stand a woman sold deep fried bugs and I ordered a mix of four different species. Unfortunately, she didn’t speak much English, so I couldn’t figure out which insects exactly were on offer.
– Cicadas? I asked.
She didn’t understand.
– Are they iiiiiiii, I tried, mimicking the high pitched sound of cicadas.
The woman looked bewildered.
– Twenty baht, she said.
– Right, I said, handing her the money.
Later, in my hotel room, I had a good look, but was not able to identify them all. The ones in the middle are silk worms, which are technically not worms, but the larvae of the silk moth. The big ones are grasshoppers, but the others, I had no idea. They tasted good though. I wasn’t so fond of the silk worms, but I ate them anyway because they’re supposed to be really healthy. And I had paid 20 baht for them.
Eating insects is frowned upon in the West, but when you think about it they are not all that different from lobster or shrimp which are both readily accepted as delicacies. Look at a shrimp up close and you see what I mean. Biologically, these are all arthropods and, given enough brains, would easily enough be scripted into a scary science fiction movie.