B S THE BUZZ ON Crunch­ing on crick­ets is more than just a fad. By Natasha Silva-Jelly. UG

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Beauty Bazaar -

Boldly mak­ing a fine­jew­ellery state­ment with a glit­ter­ing in­sect – even if it hap­pens to be a David Webb jew­elled grasshop­per brooch – may not be ev­ery­one’s thing. But in the same way that fash­ion can tan­ta­lise the ad­ven­tur­ous and ter­rify the tra­di­tional, the culi­nary world has spawned a new trend de­signed to de­light dare­dev­ils. Farm to ta­ble? So last sea­son. The lat­est foodie move­ment has seen grasshop­pers, ci­cadas, crick­ets, silk­worms, bee­tles, spi­ders, and the like wrig­gling their way out of the gar­den and onto menus at up­mar­ket dining es­tab­lish­ments in Lon­don and New York. And if we can be­lieve the ex­perts, in­sects are the way of the fu­ture: They’re tasty, low-fat fare, and an ex­cel­lent source of pro­tein, min­er­als, vi­ta­mins, fatty acids, and fi­bre. Plus, given that bugs are avail­able in vast sup­ply, they have been hailed as a sus­tain­able food source. Un­less you’ve got a taste for dar­ing del­i­ca­cies, em­brac­ing en­to­mophagy – eat­ing in­sects – may seem icky. But ac­cord­ing to a 2013 United Na­tions Food and Agri­cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion re­port, “Ed­i­ble In­sects: Fu­ture Prospects For Food And Feed Se­cu­rity,” we should dine on bugs for both health and en­vi­ron­men­tal rea­sons (in­sect farm­ing pro­duces smaller quan­ti­ties of green­house gases than live­stock). “There is an ex­per­i­men­tal, al­most flirty, ap­proach to food now,” says Culi­nary Tides trend fore­caster Suzy Badaracco, a chef and di­eti­tian. “Eat­ing in­sects has that sexy fac­tor. And the omega-3 fatty acids in meal­worms are com­pa­ra­ble to those in fish,” she adds. Brooch, David Webb Granted, crick­ets may not be familiar to West­ern palates, but it’s hardly new. At least two bil­lion peo­ple world­wide – in Latin Amer­ica, Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand – eat bugs as a key com­po­nent of their diet. Says au­thor and for­mer Gourmet mag­a­zine edi­tor-in-chief Ruth Reichl, “Worm lar­vae and ant eggs have a soft tex­ture like minced sweet­breads and grasshop­pers are crunchy.” She be­lieves they are a “good source of pro­tein that have been over­looked.” Un­til now. Den­mark’s Noma restau­rant serves beef tartare with ants and bee lar­vae pas­try brushed with grasshop­per garum. “It’s all about flavour,” says Noma spokesman Avre Krognes. Sim­i­larly, at Lon­don’s Ar­chi­pel­ago restau­rant, you can or­der the Love­Bug Salad, fea­tur­ing pan­fried crick­ets; sprin­kle weaver ants over mash; or sat­isfy a sweet tooth with choco­late-cov­ered lo­custs. In New York, Toloache of­fers Tacos de Cha­pu­lines – a.k.a. grasshop­per tacos – and tacos with worms from agave plants, while Maya serves Sur Gua­camole, flavoured with to­matillo, cotija cheese, chili, and ground grasshop­pers. Reichl cites the eth­i­cal food move­ment and the rise of nose-to-tail eat­ing cham­pi­oned by Cooked au­thor Michael Pol­lan as a cat­a­lyst. “Why is eat­ing a pig’s leg any weirder than a bug?” she says. For some, it’s not. “I’ve eaten snakes, taran­tu­las, and masses of in­sects, and I’ve seen creepy crawlies on menus around the world,” says Bri­tish ad­ven­turer and Man vs. Wild host Bear Grylls. “But I wouldn’t pay for a plate of bugs, not when I can get a big hand­ful at work.”

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