Well once they were alive… now they are deep-fried and covered in chili and salt!
To preface: We decided on a cheeky overnight trip from Shanghai to Hangzhou via 300kph bullet train (AMAZING!) to try to escape the city and possibly the heat for a night…
Unfortunately, we experienced Hangzhou’s hottest night in meteorological history with a low of 34 degrees overnight and a top of 42.1 (Celsius) during the day… what better climate to eat some bugs in?
At 5 pm on the dot we emerged from our hotel after our 50th shower that day to 100s of carts being trundled up the street and setting up right outside our door, turning the entire street into a street food market that was easily half a kilometer in length… my nirvana.
There were stalls with chicken cooked in dirt (more on that later!), seafood, every kind of vegetable, tofu everything and possibly every cut of duck you can imagine.
Then we saw the bug stands…
Tarantulas, scorpions (two sizes for your convenience), centipedes, weird lizard looking things, sea creatures and bugs bugs and more bugs.
It took a couple of lengths of the market and a few beers but we settled on a stall with the friendliest looking shopkeeper and took a dip. I chose to sample a giant centipede, a seahorse and a yummy looking row of cicadas… *vom*
Ok first things first… I don’t like spiders and you would have to pay me a LOT of money to eat one of those tarantulas, so before you ask what they were like know this… the thought of biting into the fat abdomen of one of those babies makes me want to get into a fetal position and vomit all over myself… so no… I did not eat a tarantula!
However, I did down the centipede first… which to be honest tasted a lot like deep-fried nothing. It looked gross, and was very crunchy but it didn’t really have a whole lot of substance and wasn’t really any more of a challenge than eating a breadstick… a tiny crunchy breadstick covered with legs?
Next came the seahorse… the cute pretty little seahorse. This was the nicest of the bunch, it was very salty and when deep-fried and rolled in chilli powder actually became something I could definitely recommend as very tasty. It was like an oddly shaped beer snack but for some reason people are really creeped out by the seahorse, perhaps Disney is to blame?
The cicadas were the third of my pick, and this was the most challenging thing to get down. They are pretty fleshy, even when deep-fried you could see that their bodies still contained a whole lot of… how do I put this? Softness?
They aren’t very nice, just an insect flavoured protein bar covered in chilli that doesn’t do much to hide the fact you’ve just eaten a large bug. I managed to finish off the stick, but needed the rest of my beer to wash down the shell.
If bugs are the way of the future for eating, then I’m going to suggest we start farming more seahorses.
According to my other half, we hadn’t been adventurous enough and that we would we doing a disservice to my blog if we did not try the starfish. Agreeing to this, is something I will regret for some time.
Starfish is gross.
You know the smell of cat food? Starfish tastes like that smell. That smell left in salt to dry out then made into something with the consistency of deep-fried shortbread. They also have this horrible brown inside (I assume is either starfish poo or flesh) which tastes like utter crap… salty salty crap.
So that’s it… I ate some bugs and sea creatures… next time I’ll go for a scorpion and a weird lizard looking thing.