Edible Insects By Don Bugito
Mmm, tastes like pork–kind of. That’s how one customer described Don Bugito‘s wax moth larvae tacos which debuted at the San Francisco Street Food Festival in August.
“Come on guys, don’t be afraid!” Monica Martiznez called to passers-by who gave the prominently displayed menu puzzled looks before shrugging their shoulders and digging in.
The owner of Don Bugito first concocted the insect-rich dishes as part of a dinner at the Headlands Center for the Arts entitled Edible Insects & Other Rare Delicacies, where the plates enjoyed “amazing!” success according to Art21. After hesitant foodies thumbed-up helpings of the tacos and toffee mealworm ice cream at the festival, Don Bugito secured a bi-weekly spot at Off the Grid Fort Mason which begins Friday and runs through October. A food cart is soon to follow.
Martinez dreamt up the food project concept from her background in informal food culture and pre-Hispanic cuisine.
“In Mexico, the pre-Hispanic cuisine included a lot of edible insects,” Martinez told Huffington Post. “It’s because it’s such a good source of protein.”
Serving insects isn’t merely to present uninitiated palates with a unique type of cultural delicacy. Insect additives actually may become a feasible source of protein as the world’s food supply dwindles. TreeHugger.com reports that the EU has recently put three million euros (around four million dollars) into researching insect protein. Don Bugito, which uses amounts of insects approved by the FDA for items like rotten tomatoes, is simply taking the next step.
“I want to challenge people’s ideas about current food production processes and means of sustainability,” she told Zagat.
Martinez adds that in addition to sustainability and health benefits, using insects saves money.
“I buy 250 for $8,” she informed Huffington Post.
She knows the concept might be hard for consumers to swallow. But this is an aversion she believes can be overcome with time.
“In general, people are unfamiliar with this,” Martinez acknowledged to Huffington Post. “I know it’s not an easy thing. But I didn’t think it was easy when people started eating sushi in the Western world.”
If that’s the case, there’s only one phrase to embrace before dipping into a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with mealworms caramelized in sugar and rum: Hakuna matata.
Photos from Zagat and Art21