Eat This

As Snacks Go, You Could Do a Lot Worse Than a Handful of Crickets and Mealworms

Last weekend at Taste of Dallas, we popped into the Automobile Building at Fair Park — navigating past snake oil salesmen pestering us to buy cleaning supplies and $7,000 massage chairs — and hit up a "Pestaurant," where diners could take a break from tacos and boudin to snack on worms and crickets. The booth was run by Presto-X, owned by national pest control brand Rentokil, which made for an interesting conversation-starter. "Wanna go eat bugs at a pest control company booth?" "Totes!"

Presto-X had a whole insect spread laid out: salt and vinegar crickets, barbecue mealworms, ant lollipops. Most people walked past the booth with an expression somewhere between an eye-roll and outright disgust, but those who stopped to pop a cricket into their mouths generally reached the same conclusion. Not bad. 

Yes, really. Here's the thing about roasted bugs: They don't really taste like much of anything. If they're seasoned, they just taste like seasoning. Unadulterated bugs do taste a little gamey, but it's hardly noticeable. I happen to think these little buggers are particularly tasty if you toss them in a little Valentina. As long as you can get past the fact that they've got a face, you've got a fine snack on your hands. 

Just ask my boyfriend, who entered the cricket-eating contest and won by downing two cups of crickets in under a minute and a half. His prize? A $25 Visa card and one free year of pest control. Watch him compete — while I stand by, quietly snacking on mealworms — in this video. Admittedly, I kept snacking on the barbecue mealworms long after the camera stopped rolling. I'd totally buy a bag of those, if for no other reason than to put a bowl of them in the office break room and enjoy the ensuing cries for mercy.

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Beth Rankin is an Ohio native and Cicerone-certified beer server who specializes in social media, food and drink, travel and news reporting. Her belief system revolves around the significance of Topo Chico, the refusal to eat crawfish out of season and the importance of local and regional foodways.
Contact: Beth Rankin