Eating Crickets

by aengelson | April 24th, 2010

Well, check that one off the life list. I have eaten crickets.

Crickets. It's What's For Dinner.

They were quite good, actually. Last night we went out with a few of Joanie’s coworkers. We ate at Highway 4, a kind of odd Vietnamese restaurant that I believe was started by expats but has grown pretty popular among Vietnamese diners as well. It serves all sorts of Vietnamese specialties, with an emphasis on foods from the mountain highlands. Also, they stock a lot of flavored liqueurs based on the classic Vietnamese rice wine, or ruou. They come in flavors like rose-apple, passion fruit, mulberry, ginseng, etc. They’re OK, but a little sweet to my taste.

So, the crickets. They were deep fried to a crisp and served with papery, fried lemon leaves and small pieces of fried pork fat (kind of like pork rinds). I downed one beer first to get up my courage and then popped a critter in my mouth. It was light and dry, almost melt-in-your-mouth. The lemon leaves were a nice touch, giving it a subtle tartness. You could also dip the fried bugs in a lime/salt/chili mix, which I’m convinced would make a fried flip-flop taste great.

But in all seriousness, the crickets were actually quite tasty. I’m struggling with something to compare them to, maybe tiny popcorn shrimp, but that’s not quite it. I’m not much of an adventure-food eater, but this was pretty tame overall. We also ordered some spicy frog’s legs, which were delicious, like buffalo wings, but with tinier bones. Plus, the chicken in passion fruit was great, and so were the minced clams with garlic, which you scooped up on prawn crackers.

Apologies to my vegetarian, vegan, and squeamish omnivore friends!

6 Responses to “Eating Crickets”

  1. Nice one, locusts next?

  2. aengelson says:

    “A plate of locusts.” Yum yum.

  3. Pete Benmar says:

    I wonder if I could adapt this recipe. Deep-fried vegan faux cricket.

  4. I am not squeamish in the food dept and am proud of you for trying something that our culture generally poo-poos. (Crab, shrimp and lobster are pretty closely related – we eat those with no problem.) In certain cultures bugs are a delicacy. So how are they seen there? A regular protein source, or an easy catch from the garden? Perhaps they are only offered in the high-end restaurants to the ex-pats who think its cool :)

  5. aengelson says:

    Wouldn’t say bugs are a regular protein source in Hanoi, although in the market I have seen quite a few grub-looking things for sale in the market. Imagine they’re cooked similarly, probably as a kind of snack, but I don’t really know. I think in the mountainous rural areas you might find more regular bug consumption.
    I think in Hanoi it is sort of for those who think it’s cool–expats and Vietnamese….

  6. my lips are sealed. shut.

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About This Site

Andy Engelson is a writer and editor who lives in Hanoi, Vietnam. He's currently working on a historical novel set in the Northwest United States during World War II. He's also a freelance writer, essayist and member of the Hanoi Writer's Collective. In a former life, he edited Washington Trails magazine for six years and before that was freelance journalist. He likes to hike, travel, and play with his family.

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The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star. — Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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