Sydney – With a twist of lime and a dash of salt Sydney chef Nowshad Alam Rasel flavours a hot pan full of crickets, tossing them over a flaming stove.
The savoury snack, which would not be out of place at a Mexican cantina or a Bangkok street stall, is creeping onto menus at Australian boutique eateries such as El Topo, challenging the inhibitions of diners.
“When they come for the first time, the customer very much wants to know what it is,” says sous-chef Rasel, as he neatly plates up the fried critters, topped with slices of fresh chilli.
Roasted cockroach, honey-flavoured ants, mealworm and chocolate coated popcorn are now available to try and buy — and while the cuisine remains a novelty, there are signs it is growing in popularity.
Consumer attitude toward eating insects are usually split explains Skye Blackburn, owner of Australia’s largest insect supplier, the Edible Bug Shop in Sydney.