12 bugs you can eat on your next vacation

Published On 11/17/2014 Published On 11/17/2014

While Teddy Grahams sadly aren’t available worldwide yet (preposterous, we know), some of the world’s most delectable, nutrient-rich snacks can actually be found squirming and hissing just mere steps from your hotel. Or, in your hotel, if you're staying in one of these terrible spots.

From cockroaches in China to lemon ants in Ecuador, feast your eyes on 12 insects, bugs, and slugs that you can dine on during your next vacation.



Similar to an overcooked French fry, or maybe a Cadbury egg, cockroaches are crunchy to the bite but have a creamy center. Fried twice in peanut oil, they're best devoured without the wings.

Random fun fact: In China, cockroaches are farmed and sold to distributors for medicinal purposes, and in pill form, are credited with curing stomach, heart, and liver ailments.

stink bug

Jumile (AKA stink bug)

Mexico has between 300 and 550 species of edible insects, and the jumile, much like caviar, is considered a treasured delicacy. Because jumiles can survive the cooking process, they are served alive, either writhing on a plate or wrapped inside of a tortilla. The bug is admired for its powerful anise-like flavor and cinnamon finish.


Mopane worm

Mopane worms are harvested after storms from, you guessed it, mopane trees. Their insides are squeezed out and the worms are dried before being eaten straight up, usually by the handful like potato chips. They contain three times the amount of protein as beef and taste similar to everyone’s favorite 7-Eleven snack, beef jerky.



Found in both upscale restaurants and by the basket at street markets, these massive eight-legged monsters are served deep-fried and accompanied by a lemon-pepper dipping sauce. The crispy legs taste like prawn tail, while the abdomen is said to resemble blackened chicken.


Locusts are marinated in broth and rolled in a mixture of flour, coriander seeds, garlic, and chili powder. Once seasoned, they are deep-fried and served warm. The crunchy treat is said to be rather sweet, and flavorful like prawns.

Random fun fact: Locusts are cannibalistic. If they wind up swarming out to sea they eat each other.



South America and Africa
Termites are extracted directly from their wood confines and are delicious when eaten raw, tasting like carrots of all things. For an extra kick, the insects can be roasted over hot coals or fried in oil. Are they good for you? Indeed; they’re extremely rich in protein, iron, calcium, fatty acids, and amino acids.


Huhu grubs

New Zealand
Considered a delicacy in Māori cuisine, the grubs burrow themselves deep into soft tree trunks and eat rotting wood, making them rich in protein. Locals often eat them raw as a quick snack. If you want to get fancy with your grubs, though, you sauté or roast them.

Random fun fact: When the grubs exit the larvae stage, they no longer eat and live for only two more weeks.



United States
Hornworms should be lightly fried in a large skillet or wok, taking care not to rupture the cuticles of each insect under high heat. After seasoned with cornmeal and salt/pepper, the worms can be eaten atop fried tomatoes.


Water bug

Water bugs often live in areas that are rarely cleaned and moved – like stagnant pools of water and dumpsters. They’re widely available from Bangkok street stalls (or sold by the can), and the massive snacks are best served fried (with spicy sauces for dunking) or steamed.


Dung beetle

Dung beetles are like nature’s clean-up crew -- they feast on, well, dung. Of all kinds. So, naturally, you'll want to give them a thorough rinse before eating. Usually crisped in a wok, they’re said to be extra tasty when tossed with oil, basil, chiles and lemongrass.

Random fun fact: Dung beetles reduce greenhouse gas emissions; by drying out cow dung, dung beetles increase the availability of oxygen and reduce the amount of methane in cow pats.


Lemon ants

Lemon ants reside in a desolate area of Ecuador’s rainforest known as the Devil’s Garden, where the sparse Duroia hirsuta trees were once believed to be cared for by the devil itself. Lemon ants taste like, yep, you guessed it – lemons! While you can grab handfuls of the ants and eat them raw, don’t plan on making a meal of 'em -- they’re tiny little morsels.



Scorpions can be prepared any number of ways -- roasted, fried, grilled, or even consumed alive. Skewers of fried scorpions are sold at nearly every food cart in Beijing, and those who are brave enough to ingest the clawed creature have said it's fishlike in taste, similar to shrimp.



Learn More