Bangkok Bistro Banks on Bugs

Hey, what was that crunchy bit?

By Ethan L. Johns
October 03, 2017

Image: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As more companies and restaurants explore insect protein as a real (yet still novel) option for large-scale human consumption, many are sticking to the basics—using cricket flour or mashed up larvae. One Bangkok restaurant is taking that caution and throwing it to the wind, aiming instead to add insects to the gastronomic bible.

Insects in the Backyard, under the eye of executive chef Thitiwat “Mai” Tantragarn, is a restaurant that serves an international cuisine, with flavors from America, France, Italy and the Mediterranean. The Thai twist comes from regional ingredients, which are not limited to insects, but which do include ants, crickets, caterpillars, silkworms and beetles. Insects are commonly consumed in Thailand as a snack, but the restaurant is “interested in moving people away from seeing insects from purely as a snack to be a part of a gourmet and a delicious cuisine," said restaurant co-owner Regan Suzuki Pairojmahakij to the Associated Press.

 

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“I’m not making scary food,” said Chef Mai to Bloomberg, though “scary” may be in the eye of the beholder for those who have never eaten bugs in their whole form before. And the whole-form concept can be jarring. Yet the dishes still manage to look delicious. Is this the future of food? Not sure, but I think you’ve got an antenna stuck between your teeth.

Lobster grasshopper bisque risotto with seafood and sundried tomatoes:

Green goddess wild greens salad with pan-fried crickets and grasshoppers:

Nachos with silkworm tomato cherry salsa and sour cream:

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns