Make you Fink on Friday

Creepy crawlies

Creepy crawlies

There have been suggestions recently that we may have to look for other food sources like insect and creepy crawlies.

The idea doesn’t appeal to me one little bit.

But, the Chinese and other Asian countries do.

Grub’s up: maggots and crickets on menu at Britain’s first ‘pestaurant’

Rentokil crawls into street food arena with cheesy worms, insect lollipops and pigeon burgers, specially farmed for intrepid diners

An insect pick’n’mix bag at Rentokil’s Pestaurant, in London. Photograph: Jonathan Hordle/Rex

David Cross started out studying the behaviour of the American cockroach, moved on to managing the population of the great spruce bark beetle, before finally settling on a career exterminating flies, cockroaches, spiders, wasps, ants, moths, fleas and woodworm. Ask him his least favourite pest and he looks blank.

He’ll admit, however, to a particular affection for the flour beetle (“it’s something that you develop a bit of respect for”), and “rats and mice will always be posing some interesting and quite complex challenge for you”.

Everything has its limits though, and for the head of Rentokil’s technical training academy, the plain roasted buffalo worms were proving a step too far. “Yeah, I’m not so keen on them. If you are just eating the dry insects you can get a bit of exoskeleton stuck in the back of the throat. You need a drink of water after that.”

Lunchtime in the City, and a pop-up with a difference: Pestaurant, run by Britain’s best-known extermination brand, which aims to interpret the popularity of street food in its most literal sense. On the menu: salt & vinegar crickets, plain roasted locusts, crispy BBQ mealworms and something called an “early bird breakfast pie”, featuring six sausages, eight rashers of smoky bacon and “30g bamboo or buffalo worms”.

A Pestaurant chef shows off their sweet chilli pigeon burgers, garnished with cheddar cheese mealworms. Photograph: Jonathan Hordle/Rex

The stall may have been temporary, but several of the key ingredients, it turned out, are Rentokil regulars. Mealworms, favourites of pet reptiles and fish, can also cause serious infestation problems for flour mills and grain producers, and even for those unfortunate homes that already have a bird population. Crickets can also be a domestic problem, though happily, said Cross, only certain types will occupy a building in numbers.

The company also finds itself regularly engaged in a battle against pigeons which, minced in a burger with venison, bacon and sweet chilli, were proving a particularly hot draw at the city centre stall. (One of the weapons open to pest controllers, if nets and spikes prove ineffective, is to coat surfaces with a “chilli-based gel” which sticks to their feet, and sounds barely less appealing than any number of local chicken takeaways.)

But the dishes on offer were “absolutely not” the fruits of the company’s labours, said Cross quickly — the burgers were of finest wood pigeon, while the bugs had all been farmed specifically for human consumption.

By 1pm, a small crowd of lunch-hour diners was hovering, some giggling nervously, some ostentatiously picking fingerfuls of tiny bugs with the texture of puffed rice and gulping them down, many simply heading for the free pigeon burgers, which didn’t sound too scary, surely?

“Mmm, how nice does that look?” said Alex Campbell, picking up a plain roasted cricket, just big enough for its legs and wings to be clearly discernible. Did he think so? “No, it looks absolutely disgusting.” He gulped it down confidently. The verdict? “Tastes like nuts to be honest.”

Insect lollipops at Pestaurant. Photograph: Jonathan Hordle/Rex

“I like the buffalo worms,” said Peter Hannah, judging them “kind of crispy, a little salty, not a lot of flavour”

Source: TheGuardian Read more

Opinion:

Thanks, but no thanks.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Bleh …

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    Reply

  2. They can have it, I’ll pass.

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    Reply

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