The Squirming Sago Grub
Known locally as Butod, Sago Grub or Sago Worm is a delicacy – as well as one of the most disgusting looking foods you can find in Sabah. Sago Grub might look like its straight from a horror film, but it is actually an extremely nutritious food. However, it’s a test of bravery to put this wriggling bug into your mouth (yes they are eaten alive). Butod is the larvae of Sago Palm Weevil, a species of snout beetle that consumes sago palm during its infancy. They can grow fatter than your little finger and look like a giant squirming maggot with mandibles. This creamy yellow colored fat worm is rich in protein and can claim a high price tag when sold. Want to try one? Then head to a local market in Sabah.
Catch Your own Fish Dinner in Japan
There’s nothing quite as delicious as fresh seafood; but of course, roaming the wide open seas to catch your dinner is hard work. Luckily, Zauo, a seafood restaurant in Shinjuku, has found a way for its clientele to catch their fish and eat it, too. Diners sit in replica boats over a sunken pond filled with fish. You are given a rental fishing line and can target the fish you like. Staff will even prepare the fish based on either their recommendation or the diner’s preference. Sushi and sashimi, grilled or boiled, deep fried are all on the menu. If diners can catch the fish themselves, they can also receive a discount!
Fine Insect-dining in Thailand
In Thailand it’s quite common to see fried insects sprinkled with pepper for sale by the roadside. There are many insects or bugs that end up fried waiting for someone to eat them; for example, cicada, cricket, locusts and a number of grubs. Those who try them often mention a salty, crisp taste with added spice from the seasoning. They are regularly eaten as a snack – a bit like French fries!
So how have they been introduced into the fine-dining scene? Well they aren’t without their health-giving benefits. Insects provide quality protein and essential nutrients, they are also low in fat. A local restaurant located on Sirindhron Road, Thonburi, claims to be experts in preparing insects and bugs, adding them to their menu.
The insects are included alongside regular ingredients, such as lobster, to create delights such as, lobster and grass hopper bisque risotto. So next time you are in Thailand, don’t think of these insects as roadside fare, but as high end dining ingredients to be enjoyed in a restaurant!
Jumping Shrimp Salad
A truly unique Thai dish is Yum Goong Ten, or Jumping Shrimp Salad, is a traditional Isaan (and Laotian food), that is cooked from live shrimp caught in the Mekong River. The origins of Yum Goong Ten can be traced back to Indochina, when jumping shrimp salad was a part of cultural tradition – and food was simply whatever was available to them. Nowadays, local herbs and spices are mixed with small live shrimps before being placed onto a tray or bowl and served on bamboo mats as part of an Isaan food set. You will see many little opaque shrimps jumping about. Eaten alive, they are quite sour and spicy – but also delicious.
Jumping Shrimp Salad is a very local dish that should definitely be tried when visiting the north east of Thailand. However, it is made from live, raw shrimp, so if you do wish to try it, we recommend ordering it from a restaurant that has safe food certificates.