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5 surprisingly delicious insect dishes you can try in London

Grasshopper in your guacamole? Or chocolate-covered locusts for pud? We sample London’s tastiest edible insect dishes

By Alexandra Sims
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Eating insects isn’t just reserved ‘I’m a Celebrity’ contestants you know? Plenty of London restaurants are serving up creative dishes made with edible insects, which sound way more appealing than you might think (chocolate-covered locust, anyone?). Intrigued? We’ve rounded up some of London’s best dishes made with creepy crawlies to start you off. Grubs up!

RECOMMENDED: London’s best vegan dishes

Flying Grasshopper at Nightjar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Hoxton

The folk at Old Street bar Nightjar know a thing or two about quirky cocktails and they don’t come much more eccentric than this concoction. The classic Grasshopper is a mint-flavoured, bright green cocktail, named after its colour. But Nightjar takes it to the next level with an actual grasshopper balanced carefully on top. Creepy crawlies aside, this sweet, rich drink has comforting chocolate, carob, date and pistachio notes mixed with a refreshing punch of pisco. The crunchy bugs come in salt and vinegar, and chilli flavours – an ideal contrast to the velvety, sweet liquid below.

£12

Bugs in My Salad at Greyhound Café

Restaurants Thai Fitzrovia

Walk down the bustling streets of Bangkok and you’ll find plenty of market stalls piled high, pick ’n’ mix-style, with crispy deep-fried creepy-crawlies. Originally founded in the Thai capital, Fitzrovia fusion joint Greyhound Café has brought a taste of its home country’s incredible street food to its London outpost. Deep-fried silkworm pupae come served in a cute side dish beside a pile of wispy greens and glass jar of soy wasabi dressing in this take on a green salad. Whack it all together and think of the chestnut-brown bugs – brittly crisp on the outside and soft like gnocchi inside – like a kind of crouton. It’s a tongue-tingling Thai tapestry of tastes and textures. Try saying that through a mouthful of silkworms. 

£9.50

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Andy Parsons

Chocolate-covered Locusts at Archipelago

Restaurants Global Fitzrovia

Decked out with fertility idols and giant peacock feathers, Fitrovia’s Archipelago looks straight out of Indiana Jones and has a menu to rival any dinner party in ‘The Temple of Doom’. Take its Summer Nights dish: pan-fried crickets are dotted over a vibrant swipe of chermoula butter, giving the nutty insects a warm, earthy edge. Game for more grubs? Pair it with the Love Bug Salad, a mix of leaves, spicy guindilla dressing, locusts, crickets and mealworms. Or, if you’re down for eating insects but can’t get over the fact that they look like, um, insects – try the locusts for dessert: they’re dipped in dark, milk and white chocolate.

Summer Nights, £10. Love Bug Salad, £7.50. Chocolate-covered Locusts, £8.

Om Hed Bai Ya Nang at Café Lao

Restaurants Contemporary Asian Covent Garden

If the idea of eating creepy-crawlies fills you with dread then rest assured you’re in good culinary hands at Café Lao, London’s first Laotian restaurant, whose head chef Saiphin Moore co-founded Rosa’s Thai Café. She works her magic on this mushroom curry, which comes with the optional addition of ant eggs (gotta get those protein #gains somehow). The tiny pearlescent grubs, which look like rice, are served in a punchy aromatic broth. If you’d rather ease yourself in with a snack, order a side of Malang Tod: herb-fried seasonal bugs (grasshoppers, crickets and mealworms are the usual suspects) – way more interesting than prawn crackers, right?

£11, add ant eggs for £2. Malang Tod, £3.75.

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Guacamole Nacionalista, las joyas Mexicanas at Ella Canta

Restaurants Mexican Park Lane

Mexico is home to more edible insects than any other country, which means the locals are pretty au fait with eating bugs – and this dish is as patriotic as they come. Its creamy green guacamole, white queso fresco and red pomegranate seeds represent the colours of the Mexican flag and bang in the centre of it all is a glistening gold grasshopper. Chefs prepare the bug by toasting it with a small dash of mezcal before spraying it with edible gold paint. After being left to dry for three hours it’s ready to eat and has the texture of a particularly crunchy crisp – y’know, if crisps were gold (and made of insects). 

£8.

Hungry for more sustainable eats?

London’s best restaurants for vegetarian food

Restaurants Vegetarian

Limp lettuce? Tasteless tofu? Fear not, the bad old days of London’s vegetarian restaurant scene are over. Instead, the city’s best restaurants, street food stalls and cheap eats are eager to create something classy and a bit different for those wanting to feast without flesh.

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