SOUTH African (南非的) chef Mario Barnard said he was “grossed out” and did not entirely enjoy eating grilled scorpions and crunchy insects mixed with garlic and spices on a trip to Thailand (泰國) four years ago. But the experience inspired Barnard to start experimenting with insect-based meals and in July he opened a pop-up restaurant in Cape Town (開普敦) that only serves bug meals.
‘Insect Experience’ is the first restaurant in South Africa to serve insect-only meals, Barnard said, though they have proven to be increasingly popular in various countries around the world.
Barnard has teamed up with local start-up Gourmet Grubb, who turn black soldier fly larvae into protein powder and milk, which can be used to make insectbased ice cream.
“A couple of months ago I met Jean and Leah (of Gourmet Grubb) and they’ve got the same problem as me, where we don’t like the insect as it is in its whole form, so we decided to do it in a powder form and make gourmet dishes,” Barnard said.
Adventurous customers can try small bowls of insects, including mealworms, as well as larger dried mopane worms, which are already considered a delicacy in some African countries.
Diners at Insect Experience can also tuck into mopane polenta fries with tomato chilli chutney or black soldier fl y butternut ravioli with roasted chilli garlic sauce, both reasonably priced at 50 rand (HK$25.50) a meal.
“It’s good for the environment and it’s the food of the future,” Barnard said.
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 18 September 2019)
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