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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