out in the sticks nothing goes to waste

Just because I grew up in Bangkok doesn’t mean that I eat the deep-fried insects you sometimes see the street vendors selling. I don’t even eat unusual animal parts. But my mother grew up in rural Thailand, where they’ll eat pretty much anything. Even the occasional squirrel.

Silkworm cocoons. Photo credit: nolosabias on flickr

One of the things they do in my mom’s hometown is raise silkworms. They feed the caterpillars mulberry leaves until they cocoon, then collect the cocoons for their silk threads. But the little pupae inside don’t go to waste. The locals cook and eat them like a snack. I can’t imagine doing it now, but I tried them when I was a kid. We were visiting the village and the other kids were eating these little fried morsels, so I tried some. They didn’t look anything like caterpillars. They were more like small, brownish pods. I remember they tasted eggy, with a slighty plastic texture. Like the white part of an overcooked fried egg. I think I only tried them because they didn’t look that much like insects. They didn’t have crunchy bits, like legs or wings, and no weird bug juices oozed out.

Cooked silkworm pupae. Photo credit: Mai Le on flickr

The only other unusual food I remember trying there was snake soup. It looked like an ordinary broth with vegetables and chunks of whitish meat in it. It looked like fish but that meat was apparently snake. It had a similar texture to fish, and really no distinct taste. Why should eating snake be so scary? From a completely unscientific perspective, snakes and fish aren’t all that different are they? They’re both legless vertebrates with scaly skin.

Okay, you might have the impression now that I’m not that squeamish. But really, I AM. Another thing they like to do in the area my mom is from is make a sort of ant egg salad. I wouldn’t even WATCH someone eat that!

Ant egg dish. Photo credit: hiyori13 on flickr

How does my mom eat that stuff? It’s not gross if you grew up eating it.



Filed under local delicacies

2 responses to “out in the sticks nothing goes to waste

  1. Helmut

    I’ve been to Bangkok and i was offered some sort of fried insect from a street vendor once but i couldn’t get myself to try it. That picture of the ant egg dish looks absolutely disgusting.

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