The Japanese have always been famous for their food art and aesthetically pleasing food creations like bento boxes as well as sushi. So it really is quite alarming to see insect sushi popping up all over the world as part of a move to use critters as a sustainable source of protein.
While insects are snacks and everyday food in some countries, the idea of sinking my teeth into one, makes me cringe. One too many seasons of Fear Factor and you will know what I mean. The mental image of bug juice bursting into the mouths of the contestants is not something that is easy to forget.
I mean honestly, would you eat a bug that looks like it is resting its face on the sushi rice and smiling at you? Shudders
But to be fair the bugs are not served raw and gory fear factor style. They are fried to a crunch and usually flavoured into delicious tiny little morsels.
So perhaps the rice and bug combo is a little too hardcore. Then what about real sushi that is garnished with black ants and scorpions?
“Like, heya bud, I hear you’re in Brooklyn. Would you eat it on a dare? How much do we have to pay you to eat at Brooklyn Bugs?”
It is easy to say that eating it is mind over matter, but let’s face it, we humans are visual creatures. While some may put on a brave front and chow it down, others like me would be whimpering in the corner. No, it doesn’t help even when it is semi-hidden like these mealworm sushis served at Horizon Insects in the UK.
Or this mealworm and grasshopper sushi served at the Science and Industry Museum down at Manchester. Although I must admit that at least this looks slightly more appetising because they removed the legs.
Or this scorpion yakitori that can be found in between Shinjuku and Toshima in Japan. Can you imagine doing an ASMR or Mukbang video eating this?!
Suffice to say eating insects is no longer limited to countries like Thailand and China anymore. Insect sushi is now accepted worldwide.
So it is a sustainable source of protein but is it good for you?
Apparently, it is! A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition sums up that if you factor in the weight of the food (e.g. 100g of crickets vs 100g of chicken), these little critters actually pack more protein, energy, calcium and vitamins than the later.
Therefore, as gross as the thought of eating bugs might be, they are a somewhat “healthier” option to eating conventional meats. And with world population on the rise, insect-eating could actually be the solution when it comes to the shortage of food.
Hence, insect-eating is not a new food. However, people are starting to consider farming these critters as consumables in the near future. Technically insects are a lot cheaper and more environmentally sustainable to farm compared to livestock which makes them a great food source.
But if one-day bugs are added into our daily food chain, would you concede?
Lead and Feature images are taken from damncoolpictures.com