In which food cultures are most insects eaten?
The consumption of insects as food is widespread in many food cultures around the world, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. For example, in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, crickets and grasshoppers are popular savoury snacks and are often fried or roasted and served as an accompaniment to drinks and other foods. In Mexico, chapulines (crickets) are used as a condiment for tacos and other traditional dishes. In Africa, certain insects such as termites and grasshoppers are traditionally considered valuable protein foods.
In general, the consumption of insects as food is considered a sustainable alternative to conventional meat because insects require fewer resources and have a lower environmental impact than intensive animal farming. However, their consumption as food is still considered uncommon and unaccepted in many Western cultures.
The insects considered to be more palatable vary according to cultural and personal preferences. However, some insects are considered more palatable and popular because of their texture and flavour. Here are some insects commonly considered appetising:
Crickets: these are probably the most popular insects due to their crispy texture and slightly salty taste. They are fried or roasted and served as snacks in many cultures, especially in Asia and Latin America.
Grasshoppers: these are similar to crickets in texture and flavour, but with a stronger taste. They are popular in many cultures in Sub-Saharan Africa and South America.
Winged Termites: these are considered a valuable protein food in many Sub-Saharan African cultures and are fried or roasted to be eaten as snacks.
Fly larvae: are popular in many cultures in Latin America and parts of Asia and are fried or roasted to be eaten as snacks.
In general, insects are cooked and consumed mainly in small local restaurants, food markets and food fairs in many cultures around the world. However, with increasing interest in food sustainability, specialised insect restaurants and manufacturers of insect-based food products are also emerging, especially in Europe and North America.
There are no celebrity chefs specifically known for insect cuisine, as this type of cooking is still uncommon and unaccepted in many parts of the world. However, some chefs are exploring this type of cuisine as part of a broader vision of sustainable food and are creating innovative dishes using insects as ingredients.
For example, chef Daniele Barresi, founder of Bug Burgers, a restaurant specialising in insect cuisine in Milan, is promoting insect cuisine as a sustainable alternative to conventional meat. Furthermore, chef Alex Atala, famous for his Brazilian fusion cuisine, has included insects as ingredients in his cooking and expressed his commitment to food sustainability and the preservation of local food traditions.
Overall, insect cuisine is still a rapidly evolving area and some chefs around the world are exploring this type of cuisine as part of their vision for a more sustainable food future.