Where to Taste Bugs in Prague
Insects: the future of food?
What has 6 legs, is ‘illegal’ to eat in the Czech Republic and is taking the world by storm? Insects are the newest food fad and for good reason. Insects are full of protein so they are super healthy, insect production has low negative impacts on the environment, is sustainable and can do wonders for the word economy.
So why aren’t we already eating them? Well actually, 2 billion people consider insects as part of their regular diet, but Western cultures have somehow missed the memo. For many people, the idea of munching on a scary-looking critter is absolutely terrifying. This comes from the way we were raised: when we were children and tried to shove bugs in our mouths, our parents yelled ‘no!’ and ‘eww!’
But the disgusting factor isn’t the only thing stopping us. EU regulations are strict on food production and distribution. Not only that, but there almost 2,000 known edible insect species. This means that people can potentially eat them and are known to eat them, but an in-depth study on every single one is required to be sure that they are 100% safe. Other studies are being conducted on the various benefits but it takes a lot of time and money.
The current legal standing on insect consumption in the Czech Republic is that insects aren’t suitable for human consumption. However you can still find and taste them in Prague.
Hmyz na talíři is a company that organizes regular bug tasting events in Prague, Brno and other cities in the Czech Republic. The regular monthly event features fried meal-worms, grasshoppers, cockroaches and even a delicious insect desert! While half of the guests are connoisseurs the other half are first time insect eaters, or so they think.
The chef begins his presentation by pointing out that every single person on earth has consumed insects before. The evening is filled with crunchy insects, an excited audience and the chef speaking passionately about the subject. He also explains how and where to buy live bugs to breed and cook in Prague (unfortunately only pet stores at the moment).
Another company that organizes tasting is Klub Cestovatelů (the Traveler’s Club). They actually cooperate with Hmyz na talíři but offer different kinds of events and even private tastings for you and your friends.
Food festivals during spring and summer, especially the one Street Food Festival at Cross Club, are also known to have a bug stand. With the Czech law written in plain sight to avoid potential lawsuits, there are always long lines full of curious and hungry adventurers. Even the larger and more formal food festivals will sometimes include six-legged meals.
Online stores are another place to buy some ready-made grub. This option is unfortunately rarely available, overpriced and/or with a limited selection. Egifts.cz is currently offering friend meal-worms in three flavors: BBQ sauce, Mexican spice and cheddar. Just search ‘peceni cervi’ and you will find several online stores that offer them. This is a great start if you are scared of trying bugs; however they don’t taste half as great as freshly prepared gourmet insects.
It is also much more exciting to see people volunteering to eat live bugs and learn crazy facts like “a handful of fried meal-worms a day can keep a grown man alive for years”.
Finally, if you want to reap the health benefits but want to avoid seeing eyes and legs in your plate, you can opt for some processed insects. Cricket flour and even cricket pasta (made of 20% crickets) can be ordered online from the UK or USA. Currently, there are no Czech companies offering such products.
Since the UN published a detailed paper on the topic in 2013, many people have taken an interest in the topic. Entomophagy is the official term for eating insects but it is considered by experts to be outdated and is developing at a quick pace. So grab some bugs, fry them up to discover what all this fuss is really about.
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