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Jasmine Dispatch

Crickets? For Dinner?
July 26, 2000

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"Tummies full, Mickey and I took the rest of our meal in a doggie bag (or a critter bag)."

Wandering through Jinan, I made friends with a local here named Mickey. It was almost dinner time, and we decided to go get some food. At first, he suggested a nearby hamburger place. I told him I'd rather have some more traditional Chinese food.

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"The impressive dinner menu at this street stall included everything favorites like frog legs, crickets, beetles, and snails and worms!"

"I know just the spot," he smiled, "You'll love it!"

"I asked for traditional Chinese food and that's just what I got - a crackling hot skillet of fried silkworms!"

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My grandmother used to warn me, "Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it." Her words rang in my ears as Mickey smiled happily at the wide variety of treats I had to choose from. I learned that some Chinese favorites include silkworms, crickets, beetles, and all types of snails. There was also a variety of seafood, from small whole octopus, frog legs, fish, crawfish, crab, and eel.

Since I was the guest, Mickey gave me the honor of selecting our meal.

"On second thought, a hamburger sounds great," I smiled. I was feeling a little nervous about my choices at the market.

Mickey was surprised to learn that I'd never eaten such treats. Then, he assured me that they were all quite yummy and encouraged me to sample some.

"We had silk worms, frog legs, and stir-fried crickets, in true Chaozhou tradition. Bon appetit!"
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The wriggling bowl of silkworms was too tempting to pass up. In addition, I chose frog legs, and giant crickets.

" Here goes nothing!"

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We watched as a chef nearby cooked up our selections. I was not too sure about this meal, but I decided to go for it. First came the worm, which had been cooked up with lots of spices. It was surprisingly delicious. It was totally crunchy, more like eating toast then worm.

Now for the cricket...This was more difficult because the legs and head were attached. I could not trick myself into imagining that it was something else. I almost backed down - and then I looked at Mickey's huge smile. He would be heartbroken if I didn't at least try. So, in it went.

"One man's insects are another man's steak!"

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"This is really good!" I exclaimed, digging in for another. The frog legs tasted like tender chicken wings. While I would never have thought to turn insects or frogs into such a wonderfully scrumptious dishes, it made me realize, once again, that trying new things can be really fun!

--Jasmine
LINKS:

- Pictures of silkworms, and even a clip of silkworms eating!
- a whole page with lots of bug-eating photos!

p.s. - Please e-mail me at ...jasminehamlett@bigfoot.com
 

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