Fancy A Nibble?

My nearest and dearest has been promising me a trip to her home in the Isaan region of Thailand, close to Laos, very soon. Something I've been very much looking forward to, if with a little trepidation! During her pregnancy, as with all expectant mothers, cravings for certain often rather odd types of foods are a regular occurrence. Often they consist of 'delicacies' that they wouldn't dream of eating under normal circumstances. However in our case our friendly tuk-tuk driver is regularly sent out on hunts for any members of the insecta branch of the arthropod family that he can get his hands on ... standard fare for Thais from the province of Isaan.

- Bamboo larvae (click on pic for full size)

Six legs is only a minimum criterion, however. Anything up to a hundred, even a thousand, will do. However there is a shortage of centipedes and millipedes in Chiang Mai right now. What a shame.

Alternatively, she'll settle for no legs - earthworms are another delight that I have yet to discover. Along with certain species of venomous arachnid, and giant black wasp larvae.

A selection on offer at a Warorot Market stall: crickets, cockroaches, bamboo larvae, wasp grubs, water beetles ...

Now please don't think me squeamish! I have eaten giant water beetles. Bamboo larvae (maggots to you and I, but 'larvae' sounds better somehow). Cockroaches (I am assured that the ones sizzling in the pan aren't captured near the city drains at the dead of night, but are collected and brought in from the countryside). Crickets (the legs tickle the throat a bit). Even scorpions (a bit like eating crab technique-wise, except they are not really big enough to crack open to obtain the flesh. So if sucking away until you are blue in the face doesn't work, you usually end up munching until there's no taste left, then spitting out the inedible crunchy remains). Impressed? Well, you shouldn't be. When I say eaten, what I really mean is sampled. One, at most a couple of each variety, liberally washed down with Sang Som Thai rice 'whisky'. After close examination to check that they have been cooking away for long enough to ensure that they no longer have any moving parts.

Scorpions, venomous snakes, giant geckos, in rice alcohol (click on pic for full size)

The trouble is, that when the people of Isaan eat these delicacies, they do so in large platefuls. They stuff them down with a relish that you wouldn't believe. Such gastronomic foodfests are a regular happening, and I just know that they are going to lay on some extra special ones to celebrate our arrival, complete with newborn.

Should there be a shortage, I won't be allowed to go hungry. With the recent heavy rains and coolish weather, the dog markets have been doing a roaring trade. Apparently the local inhabitants of Isaan near the Lao border believe that eating dog helps to keep you warm. If it is really chilly, I have another interesting experience to look forward. Lao Kao, a clear rice alcohol from Isaan, combined with the bitter contents of a cobra's gall bladder. 40° proof.

If bear's paw and gecko lizards are on the menu, this could have a rather enduring, uncomfortable and possibly embarrassing effect. To be eaten with moderation, I think, as reputedly both are recommended for those needing a little 'lift' in their sex life. As my partner so delicately put it ... good for boom-boom!

Still feeling hungry? No, I didn't think so ...

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Anonymous said...

Are you sure you have eaten cockroach? There is no cockroach in the picture and I have never seen cockroach in the many places that sell insects (and I tried most of them).


The Frogblogger said...

There were cockroaches on sale .... and I've seen them many many times being sold by the vendors