Restaurants that serve insects on purpose

Richard Auffrey wonders:

Is any Boston restaurant cooking with insects?

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Some answers via Twitter

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I had bugs for lunch

Deep-fried tacos de chapulines (toasted grasshoppers) have been a fixture on the menu at Tu y Yo in Powderhouse Square, Somerville for nearly a decade. I admit to being a little skeeved by the idea of insects as food, but those tacos are delicious. And when you think about it, how far off are you from eating bugs when you enjoy crab, lobster, crayfrish, shrimp?

The best way to broaden your horizons when it comes to foods that your native food culture considers outré is to just not ask what it is. Eat it, and if you enjoy it, who cares if it's a bug / sea slug / animal organ / bird emybro / jelly made from animal bones / smoked/cured fat-laden belly meat from swine?

Follow the food world like a real nerd, and you will recognize that decay, rot, funk, fermentation are the things that many chefs make the centerpiece of their cuisine. If you think your red sauce or chili or lasagna improves in the fridge the day or two after you prepare it, you're already participating. So many things you consider staples -- bread, beer, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, pickles, kimchi, soy sauce, fish sauce, on and on and on -- derive a good part of their wonderfulness from the kind of bacterial action that in most contexts is deemed spoilage.

Bugs or squishy organ meats or rottenness? Stop cringing like a toddler. Judge on flavor, on texture, on pleasure, period.

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Good advice

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The best way to broaden your horizons when it comes to foods that your native food culture considers outré is to just not ask what it is.

Best advice ever. 30 years ago I was in Hong Kong and had some fantastic food. My strategy was to ask what it was after trying something that I liked.

Second the Tu Y Yo recommendation

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Love the chapulines at Tu Y Yo, where they also serve frog legs, stuffed cactus paddles, and corn smut empanadas. Of all of those, only the frog legs were disappointing, because they were just too bony, and the corn smut was amazing -- tastes like delicious mushrooms.

I also have to second the "just try it and find out what it is afterwards" approach. When I was a kid, I loved tripe, and my dad would never tell me what it was until I had been eating it for years. You know what? Still love it. Since then, I've eaten some stuff knowing what it was and hated it (beef tongue, pork brains), and eaten some stuff knowing what it was and loved it (grasshoppers). Americans eat some pretty nasty stuff without even thinking about it, so we should feel free to chow down on what the rest of the world eats without thinking about. We might be surprised.

Karibu in Waltham

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I have heard from a Ugandan friend of mine that Karibu in Waltham serves nsenene during certain parts of the year. Nsenene is a long-horned grasshopper (sometimes called a bush cricket or katydid). I want to try them.