Challenge: Eating Bugs

Yes, that’s right. Today’s smackdown involves eating BUGS. Insects. Those things you usually run away from and try to kill because they look like prehistoric alien experiments gone wrong. The things that I just wrote about because of how much they disgust me.

Yet instead of running away from the bugs, I put them in my mouth and ate them. Voluntarily.

I knew this heat was affecting my brain; I just didn’t know how much until this weekend.

This all came about because the awesome folks over at Bangkok Podcast put out a call for volunteers to attend their Halloween podcast and eat some bugs, and because I’m totally…smart…I signed up and got good buddy Josh to come, as well.

Josh used to be one of my best friends, but now he hates me. :(

What’s funny about this is that recently I was out to dinner with Josh and Brock and we saw a fried-bug cart. Josh was like, That’s your next smackdown! And I was like, That’s my next smackdown if I’m completely brain dead and/or under the influence of very strong mind-altering substances.

I don’t think I was either of those on Saturday night, but I suppose the brain dead part is debatable, given that I volunteered for this.

So, Josh and I went to meet everybody, and turns out it was a really nice, friendly group of people who also happened to be crazy enough to eat some bugs.

Tony’s Thai friend got us a bunch of different fried bugs, and we all looked on with trepidation.

Dammit, I just realized that this needs a horror-movie soundtrack, too. DON'T I DESERVE A ROMANTIC COMEDY, UNIVERSE?

Greg was the first one of us to be brave enough to try the real bugs. He popped a pregnant cricket into his mouth and chewed and chewed and chewed while the rest of us looked on in horror. Well, I looked on in horror; I’m not sure what everybody else was doing because I was too concerned about not having a panic attack.

Greg's on the left, getting ready to eat a pregnant cricket. Think about the babies, Greg! The babies!

I was still trying to plan how I could bow out of this whole thing gracefully while still seeming cool when Tony (on the right in the picture there) picked on me for being the newest Bangkokian and the group peer-pressured me into eating a bug. I mean, why do you hate me so much, Tony? Most people take a lot longer than an hour to hate me enough to make me eat bugs.

What I actually ended up eating was a worm that they call an express train because of its shape and the fact that when you fry them they shoot all over the pan.

Where's the nacho cheese?

Optimistic before eating worm. I should really know better than to be optimistic by this point in my life.

It tasted like a Cheetoh without any kind of flavoring, to be honest. I wouldn’t eat them again on my own, but it wasn’t quite as disgusting as I thought.

I mean, it was still pretty gross. This is a post-bug recreation shot for comedic effect. Also, how I really felt. After I ate the worm I figured I'd gotten my street cred and could show my real feelings.

Josh manned up and ate a couple of ants. I thought he was going to lose it, but he managed to keep it in. I was very proud of him.

I also ended up being peer-pressured into eating a mini deep-fried whole frog, which was just very crispy and which everybody described as tasting like chicken, or fried chicken skin, something like that. Whatever, it was crunchy and fried. I used to say I would eat anything if it was fried, and apparently that is now actually true.

C'mon, I'm from Missouri. I've had fried frog legs before. Not that different.

All in all, I think we were all kind of surprised at how not disgusting the bugs were. The worst part was getting over it psychologically because your brain is telling you, UM, HELLO, DUMMY, BUGS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE EATEN. Stomped on, yes. Sprayed with bleach to kill them, yes. Eaten, no.  Once you get past that, it isn’t so bad.

I mean, you’re never going to see something from me called “Eating ALL the Bugs”, in which I detail all of the different kinds of bugs I’ve eaten for a snack, or anything. Still, I’m glad I did this. It was an interesting cultural experience, which means that I didn’t really enjoy it (although I enjoyed the company), but I can still hold it over other people’s heads and feel culturally superior.

Final Score

Eating Bugs: 0    Megan: 1

Okay, fine, I didn’t technically eat any bugs, but I ate a damn worm, and that’s close enough. And Josh ate some ants, and everybody else there ate a whole bunch of other kinds or bugs, so this was a group effort for my personal win.

p.s. Listen to the podcast and hear Josh and me screeching like a couple of little girls. You can also see much better photos of the whole deal.


Filed under Food, Special Challenge, Thailand

14 responses to “Challenge: Eating Bugs

  1. I was very proud of my my new friend Megan for chowing down on some worms. The firs time I ate a locust I nearly yakked in the middle of the street, but you get used to it. Kind of like you get used to punching yourself in the face if you do it enough.

  2. You are SOOOO brave, Megan. In my years living in Thailand, this was one experience I never did have. It’s an amazing thing, most people in the world do eat bugs as their main protein source. Our minds are amazing in what we deem to be disgusting. Good on you for rising to the challenge and coming out a winner! (and very interesting, too, that this post came so close after your cockroach post!)

  3. I just can’t bring myself to eat bugs – being vegetarian is a great excuse though. My wife likes to eat insects but I’ve begged her not to introduce my son to this habit :-)

  4. talen323

    Bugs, I like them better when I am smashing them with my some. Although, some of the bugs like grasshoppers, meal worms and ant larva are pretty tasty.

    The big ass roaches or water bugs though are really nasty and have a sweet taste…

  5. Jess

    This is a really low way to make me feel guilty about not sending you Reese’s yet….

  6. Christina

    I find this line of conversation quite amusing. :) Sometimes when I eat zatar (a mixture of thyme and other delicious herbs) my teeth look like they have bugs stuck in them. I remember my Dad talked about how they (the military) had to drink “bug juice” (otherwise known as koolaid) hanging from jugs in trees. I also remember how he used to joke about motorcyclists without helmets would catch bugs in their teeth. …. and then my grandfather had me believe that there were ice cream trees on the moon. (no mention of bugs there though) :+)

  7. They look a bit disgusting, but for us Thais, they are just snacks. Personally, I love eating bugs. They are yummy. Maybe next time you could have a go with pupae or a scorpion. You might enjoy them.

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