The second to last stop on the $10 Da Lat Countryside Tour was a cricket farm! Forget what your mother told you when you were a toddler sticking bugs in your mouth. They DO belong there! As long as they are raised for human consumption, that is.
Crickets are a great source of protein and contain enzymes that some scientists believe can cure diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Millions of people in the world are eating insects this very second and the United Nations is trying to encourage more people to start eating them! Other than the health benefits, the environmental impact of switching from cattle to crickets is unbelievable. You can read more about that here.
Unlike most of the people on the tour, my husband and I have done our fair share of cricket eating. Although they are not our favorite insect to snack on, we were excited to see the farm and eat some cricket-enhanced snacks!
The farm was much smaller than we expected, which made perfect sense. It takes very little space, not to mention resources, to farm crickets. The crickets are kept in large tubs that they can’t jump out of and they are fed banana leaves. They are organized in tubs based on their age and are starved for three days before they are ready to be eaten.
After walking around the farm and seeing the different stages of growth, we were sat at a large round table. First, we took a shot of rice wine, a common tradition in Vietnam before a group meal. Then we moved on to tea and crickets! The crickets were deliciously fried and almost everyone in the group gave them a try.
Isaac and I probably ended up eating the most, but we did share with a little kitten that lived on the farm and seemed to love fried crickets even more than we did. Before leaving for the last part of the tour, Isaac bought a bag of cricket chips and if it had been cheaper, he would have bought the cricket-infused rise wine too.
Fun fact: if you think insects are yucky and that you’ll never try them, keep in mind that you already have. I’m not talking about the spiders that supposedly crawl into your mouth when you sleep – yuck, that better be a myth. If you’re a fan of beer, bread or cereal it is likely that you eat at least a hundred insects a year. Look into it if you don’t believe me! Also, a lot of red dyes used in food are made from a red beetle. Carmine is a great alternative to the many common dyes that are tested on animals that are then euthanized.
Next stop: coffee plantation!