I pride myself in having an adventurous palate and Thailand is the best place to constantly push the limits of my appetite further. So while many tourists hunt for the best Tom Yum Goong, Pad Thai or seafood in whichever Thai destination they end up at, I keep my nose out for... insects.
I love the insect snacks and no matter where I am in the kingdom, whether it is Bangkok, Chaing Mai, Phuket, Hua Hin or Krabi, one mission of mine is to seek out fried insect hawkers. And with some luck, I sometimes encounter them. They are most of the time just a single hawker with his or her pushcart by the side of a road. But in Pattaya, I found not one but three different insect snack sellers!
I met one at the Walking Steet, another one along the main road running the length of Pattaya known as Second Road, and a third one at the Jomtien area. I was happy as a clam and not one night went without snacking on what many would consider pests. So if you enjoy contributing to pest control like I do or just want to try chowing down on some bugs, Pattaya is the mother nest.
|... giant crickets! They look plump and delicious but I went with my usual order of larvae and grasshoppers as they are my favourites. It costs 20bht a packet for each type of insect.|
|Do they make your stomach crawl? These are fried juvenile crickets and they are tasty plus high in calcium but grasshoppers are crispier.|
While we don't have the habit of eating insects in Singapore, some poorer Asian nations look to insects as a nutrition source. In Cambodia, some communities are so poor that they hunt and eat tarantulas with rice as their sole intake of protein. Talk about fear factor food!
|Deep-fried geckos. Haven't tried these before because they look rather boney but ingesting them could be a good source of calcium. Perhaps on my next trip.|
From larvae, grasshoppers, crickets, mealworms, tarantulas, some unidentifiable beetles and the yucky giant water beetle (my least favourite), I've tried them all. But there's one bug that I've heard of but never seen sold. That is until I came to Pattaya and saw what I thought was a streetfood legend...
|... fried scorpions! My eyes literally popped out of their sockets when I encountered them unexpectedly. I've been searching for them for so long. However, they do look rather revolting and I have second thoughts about putting one in my mouth.|
|No cocktail nuts or chicken wings, just chunky bugs to accompany a bottle of Mangosteen Wine (have you even heard of that?) after a full day of sightseeing in Pattaya. What a perfect way to chill! :o)|
The only setback is, when you poop the next day, you will find bits and pieces of wing parts, legs or exoskeleton floating on the surface of the waste water. They are very buoyant and take a few flush to get rid of but it's a small bother for a bite of these delicious nightmares.