I am not sure what my fascination is with eating bizarre foods, but prior to heading to Thailand there were a couple things that I knew for sure, one was that I would be riding in a tuk tuk and another was that I would absolutely, positively be eating insects. Rumor had it that this could be done at Chiang Mai’s famous Sunday Market.
Guess who’s going to a market?
At about 4 o’clock Peter & I walked out the front door of our hotel, the 3 Sis, and the Chiang Mai’s Sunday Night Walking Market was just a few steps ahead, on the blocked off street. This market is the grand daddy of all the ones in the city, known to showcase the art, craftsmanship and food culture of Northern Thailand.
So, there were a lot more things to do besides just eating insects.
We had arrived early enough for the booths to still be in setup phase and not many people shopping…yet.
There was an initial sensory overload, with colorful booths on each side of you. Shopping was quite difficult for my indecisive self, because I didn’t want to buy anything before I had first explored the entire market. Though I did spot some large beach bags, silver hair clips and wooden coffee cups with saucers, that were on my radar for the second go around. But, by the time I got through browsing the seemingly endless length of the streets, and was ready to make some purchases, the prime opportunity had passed.
The road was wall-to-wall people.
I did wind up squeezing through the crowd to purchase a half dozen of unique smelling soaps including a Citronella one that I hoped would ward off the pesky Chiang Mai mosquitoes. FYI: That didn’t work.
What wasn’t overcrowded was the bee-bee gun shooting station. Why not? Never having had the opportunity to shoot a bee-bee gun before, I stepped right up to see if I could hit the bulls-eye. Nope.
As we walked away from our shooting experience, I saw them.
Insects, discreetly lying on a table.
You could hear chattering from the dozen of gawkers surrounding the booth, “eww”, “you try it”, “gross, I’m not eating insects”. Most of the people actually purchasing the insects were not locals, they were adventurous tourists looking for a new experience, much like myself.
All sorts of varieties of edible bugs were there; crickets, cicada, mealworms and whirligig beetles. How do I choose?
I opted for the insect sampler pack for 20 baht ($0.65 usd), a little of each. I like variety.
I ate a small mealworm first, which tasted like a salty, uncheesed cheese puff. Acceptable. Feeling confident, I grabbed a big cricket. As I bit into it I ended up being more freaked out about eating the crunchy leg than the actual bland taste. And as I chewed more of the body, it only got worse.
Done. Bugs aren’t tasty.
At least I made a couple of checks off my Bucket List of 23 Edible Bugs Around the World. It’s all about moderation, when it comes to my bug eating adventures.
I needed something to wash down my crunchy cricket. I think a leg was stuck in my throat. So, I ordered an intriguing drink that was being sold all over the market, but I had yet to try, a Grass Jelly Milo.
Grass Jelly is a jiggly jelly-like dessert that is used in making Bubble Tea and Milo is a chocolate and malt powder. Shake, stir and a Grass Jelly Milo is born.
It did the trick. No legs in my throat anymore.
Because we couldn’t survive on eating insects alone, there was other interesting street food to be had. Who could resist a waffle with shredded pork and mayonnaise? Apparently me.
What I couldn’t resist was a Pandan leaf flavored cotton candy cone and a bamboo cup filled with fresh coconut juice.
Is eating insects on your bucket list?
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