Weird Food

Weird Food 2: Giant Waterbug

Also known as Belatomastids, water scorpions, toe-biters, and alligator ticks. These nasty buggers will happily catch and eat anything from other bugs to lizards, frogs, and fish. They’re apparently a delicacy in southeast Asia. Which is weird, considering that they look almost exactly like cockroaches:

Waterbug Top.png

(Sorry the picture came out so bad. By the time I realized it was blurry, I’d already eaten the damn thing.)

That is one huge bug. I couldn’t find my ruler, but it has to be at least three or four inches long. And its underside makes it look, as Stuart Ashen once said, like a cross between an Egyptian mummy and a praying mantis:

Waterbug Bottom.png

Unlike with the tarantula, I actually hesitated to eat this thing. I looked at its creepy face and its weird legs, and I hesitated. If it was alive, I’m sure it would’ve sensed my fear, latched onto my face, and sucked my brains out through my eyeball. Luckily, someone in Thailand killed it for me.

The flavor is unpleasant. The underlying flavor is meaty and fairly nice. Like well-brined chicken or maybe crab. However, on top of that flavor are two other flavors. The first tastes like the smell of fish food. The second, I can only describe as tasting like the smell of clean laundry. I heard someone say these were supposed to taste fruity. Maybe that weird perfuminess was what they meant.

The texture is also a turn-off. It’s amazingly crunchy, and I had to spend a minute or two chewing each bite to break it down enough that it felt right to swallow. It doesn’t help that the exoskeleton has a texture a little bit like a dry leaf, and the wings (which came off as I was eating the bug) have a texture almost exactly like a dry leaf. Here’s a picture with a bite taken out of it, to prove I actually ate it.

Waterbug Eaten.png

That gross-looking crumbly stuff in the middle was actually the best-tasting part. That was what tasted like meat. I ended up eating the whole thing, and then I got to have a completely novel experience: having a burp that tastes like a giant waterbug. At least I’m expanding my horizons, right?

The Verdict

If you want to eat a bug, and you’re not a lizard and not easily grossed-out by its looks, the giant waterbug is a good place to start. It’s not as intimidating as the chewy spider I ate the other day. The flavor is more food-like than the spider was, and the meaty saltiness is actually kind of nice. Still, I’d only advise buying one of these if you can get it fairly cheap, have a strong stomach, and aren’t allergic to crustaceans.

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