You might think that the United States is innovative when it comes to food, but it's crazy how many of America's biggest food trends have actually originated outside of our country. We have Japan to thank for making the sushirrito possible, China for the egg waffle, and Brazil for açai bowls.
A lot of our most popular foods have been eaten in other countries for hundreds of years, but are just recently making their way to the U.S. since historically we haven't been the most adventurous eaters and were unwilling to give them a chance until now.
The edible insects trend follows in the footsteps of matcha and ube, bringing a superfood that has been eaten for years – but previously ignored in the United States – into the spotlight. In addition to the massive health and environmental benefits that come from including crickets in your meal, the rising number of start-ups and restaurants focusing on bug-infused foods means that they're pretty delicious too.
So if you're ready to hop on board with this food trend, here are some of the most exciting companies and NYC restaurants adding insects to their cuisine.
1. Black Ant
Black Ant is an East Village eatery serving food inspired by traditional Mexican dishes in a modern setting. For those interested in trying the edible insect trend, they serve Croquetas de Chapulín, yucca-manchego croquettes (fried, breadcrumb-encrusted rolls) filled with crispy fried grasshoppers and plated with a side of salsa. Even some of their signature drinks, like the smoky jalapeño margarita, are rimmed with black ant salt.
Toloache is Mexican bistro in the theater district with authentic tacos and an extensive list of cocktails. One of the chef's signature dishes is Chapulines, tacos filled with dried grasshoppers, onions, cilantro, jalapeño, and salsa verde.
Qi Bangkok Eatery is a Thai restaurant located just west of Times Square that offers three separate dinner menus: the chef's signature dishes, classic Thai food favorites, and a secret menu written completely in Thai. One of their traditional Thai side dishes is Dug-darr Gub Thuggatan Tohd, fried silkworms and grasshoppers seasoned with soy sauce and pepper
#SpoonTip: If you want to learn more about the edible insects trend, check out Instagram accounts like @lustingforbugs
1. Chirps Chips
Chirps Chips are amazing because they have more protein and less fat than an average corn chip while still keeping the same fantastic taste. The secret: these chips are made with cricket flour. They come in three flavors – sea salt, cheddar, and BBQ – and Chirps has even come out with a cricket flour chocolate chip cookie mix so you can feel healthy while eating all of your favorite junk foods.
2. Bitty Foods
Bitty Foods specializes in creating cricket flour for all of your at home baking needs. It can be substituted into any recipe on a 1:1 ratio with regular flour and has a nutty, toasted flavor, which lets it put a new (and healthier) spin on your favorite recipes. It's even gluten free! Check out their Ted Talk for more info on this fantastic product.
3. Exo Protein
The recipe for Exo's cricket flour protein bars was developed by a three-Michelin-starred chef, so you know they're delicious. Right now, you can buy a sample pack online for only $15. It comes with one bar in each of the company's five signature flavors: cocoa nut, blueberry vanilla, apple cinnamon, banana bread, and PB&J. These bars are all-natural, packed with nutrients, and great for a tasty pre-workout snack.
4. Don Bugito
The folks at Don Bugito have turned traditional Pre-Columbian Mexican cuisine into a modern snack food that comes in lots of sweet and spicy flavors. They make a trail mix of chile-lime roasted crickets and pumpkin seeds, chocolate-covered crickets topped with sea salt, and even coconut-toffee mealworm brittle.
With all of these start-ups and restaurants creating delicious bug-infused cuisine, it's clear that Americans have realized what they're missing out on. The edible insects trend has finally made it to the US, so make sure to try some cricket goodies next time you have the chance. It'll bug you if you don't.