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In China, insects are a treat for the palate.

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Variety of insects to eat

I like to eat almost anything. I like almost everything and I am not disgusted by any gastronomy in the world. In theory, because I think I wouldn’t have the opportunity to taste insects. I do not know and you ? Insects are present in Chinese cuisinenot in all of them, but in the gastronomy of certain regions in particular.

The Chinese are not very original in the consumption of insects, that is, they are not the only ones. Additionally, humans have been eating insects for thousands of years. Are you going to China? so let me tell you that there the insects are a delight for the palate.

eat insects

food insects

In medical terms that it’s called entomography. The human species has been feeding on insects for thousands of years, eggs, larvae and adult insects have been part of our diet since prehistoric times and in many cultures they continue to have their chapter in the kitchen.

science knows thousand species of insects that humans eat in 80% of the nations of the world on all continents. While in some cultures it is common, in others it is forbidden or taboo and in others it is not forbidden but quite rude.

insect spikes

Which insects are edible? The list is long but there are many species of butterflies, termites, bees, wasps, cockroaches, grasshoppers, moths, crickets. Eating insects has its advantages and disadvantages, there are advantages for the environment and for our health too, but everything requires care and hygiene.

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Sometimes you might think that eating bugs is linked to poverty, but that’s an idea that has no basis. Imagine that India is a very poor country and yet its population is vegetarian, it does not eat insects. Did you know that the country that eats the most insects is Thailand? Yes, you have a 50 million dollar industry that revolves around bugs.

Chinese food and insects

insect kitchen

China is a very large country and is divided into several geographical areas and each has developed its own style of cooking based on the ingredients at hand. While southern cuisine is more rice-based, northern cuisine uses more wheat, just to give an example.

Fortunately, if you don’t disgust anything and you want to eat insects in China you can do it in Beijing itself, the capital. It’s not that eating insects comes from a distant region, lost in the mountains.

A great place for this is Wangfujing Night Market which is located in Dongcheng district. It is a street full of food and shopping stalls, one of the most famous in the city.

eat worms

The food section is on Wangfujing Street and it is truly unique. It is divided between the night market and the snack street. Either way, the food is on display to the customer and both are very popular with Chinese and tourists alike.

cicadas to eat

Most foods are cooked on the grill, on the fire, fried or steamed and in general you can choose the cooking mode. There’s chicken, vegetables, mushrooms, lotus root, tofu, shellfish and nothing scary…until you get to bugs.

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And there, without disgust, you will see insects strung on toothpicks. Bugs and more bugs and people filling their mouths with them enjoying their nutrients, proteins and minerals. It’s really hard for us to eat bugs, our culture usually kills them so…

scorpions are eaten

I don’t know, eat scorpions, silkworm pupa, parasites, fried centipedes and spiders it can be the adventure of your gastronomic life. You decide. Those who have tried these things say they don’t taste that bad, it’s just that your brain is playing tricks on you all the time telling you that you’re eating bugs… rubbery or crunchy, but bugs all the same.

But many Chinese love it. After all, the food is absolutely cultural. If you want to go around this market, you can find it at the northern end of Wangfujing.

centipede spikes

Not only in Beijing you can eat insects, but also in Kunming. China is made up of more than fifty ethnic groups and although the Han are the vast majority there are many others. The Jingpo ethnic group, for example, is famous for its consumption of insects.. If you are in Kunming, eat bugs!

Here they eat fried grasshoppers, cicadas with legs and wings included, coconut larvae and a few thumb-sized black bugs. A recommended restaurant for having a belly full of bugs is Simao Yecai Guan. The menu has everything I just named and boasts of selling over 150 euros a day worth of insects.

grasshopper to eat

Kunming approaches Thailand in terms of insect gastronomy because in addition to the fact that there are restaurants and people eat insects at home there are stores that specialize in different species and sell them fresh and frozen.

For example, you can buy Yunnan wasp larvae between 23 and 38 euros per kilo and per year the market for this species alone moves about $320,000. Nothing bad. And it continues to grow. There are about 200 insect farms in Qinyuan County, the largest insect cultivation base in China and produces 400 metric tons per year.

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dessert spiders

The fact is that China is a country that must feed a population whose last census, carried out in 2010, reported neither more nor less than more than 1.3 billion inhabitants. And it continues to grow. So if insects can meet a small part of the demand for food, they are welcome.

Another interesting aspect is that some experts say that at present the country is not ready to massively consume insects, even when the industry is more environmentally friendly and would help with the crisis. Because? problems of hygiene safety.

insect market

China still has a long way to go in this area, it must reach at least one food safety standard before promoting insects as food. we can’t forget that some insects contain toxins, pesticide residues and bacteria and that cooking methods are sometimes not enough to eliminate these dangers.

Chinese cooks, shop and restaurant managers, they are usually not people trained in food safety. They believe that if scorpions and worm larvae are used in traditional Chinese medicine, there is no problem eating them. If they are cooked at the right temperature, that is enough.

The truth is that if nothing intimidates you and you want to eat insects, China is a good destination because here they are delights for the palate. Enjoy your meal!

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