MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Grab a fork and get ready to dig into a feast full of insects.
This isn’t a challenge on a new reality show, but the so-called “extreme foodie movement” that could be bringing bugs to a restaurant menu near you.
Crickets may look like a bunch of creepy, crawly pests to you, but now they are being cooked and served as toppings in salads.
“Thai cricket salad,” said Executive Chef Thomas Hugenberger.
Hugenberger has been eating insects since he was a kid in South Korea. Now he sometimes dishes them out in the U.S.
“If you can just get over the visual part of it, they’re quite delicious,” said Hugenberger. “They’re nutty. They’re crunchy.”
Thomas said bugs aren’t just for adventurous eaters anymore. Thanks to the so-called “extreme foodie movement,” they are slowly crawling onto more people’s plates.
“It’s like an underground trend with people who are willing to try something different,” said Hugenberger.
A trend that seems to be spreading, some restaurants have insect items on their regular menus. Online you can easily get salted ants, seaweed scorpions, barbeque worms and plenty more.
“Edible bugs in other countries are very common. Currently about two billion consumers worldwide regularly consume insects,” said culinary tides trends forecaster Suzy Badaracco.
However, if you didn’t grow up in a bug-eating culture and can’t stomach an entire arthropod, products on the market made of bug parts might be more appealing.
Badaracco expects growth in this type of insect product.
“The best way to prepare them is probably to grind them. For instance, grind them into flour, like a cricket flour, and put them into protein bars,” said Badaracco. “As long as the insect doesn’t look like an actual insect, I think it would probably have a better chance in the U.S.”
So why the push for bugs and bug parts?
Vandana Sheth, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, doesn’t eat them herself said “bugging out” can be healthy.
“Insects can be an excellent source of protein. In fact, they have all the amino acids similar to what’s found in beef, chicken, and fish. Insects also are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, polyunsaturated fats,” said Sheth. “And they are also especially high in B vitamins, iron and zinc.”
If you do decide to get in on the insect trend, experts have advice.
“You really want to make sure the source that you’re getting the insects from is well versed in how to handle them, clean them and make sure they’re free of microbes,” said Badaracco.
As for Hugenberger, he encourages everyone to give bugs a try.
“You never know. You might actually like it,” said Hugenberger.
Sustainability advocates said more people are swallowing the idea that insects, either prepared whole or ground up into flour, will eventually help address world hunger problems.