The pop-up restaurant Eat Grub operates once a month inside a popular Thai restaurant in the Highbury section of London, serving up roasted crickets with garden herbs, edible grasshoppers, insect protein powders and energy bars.
"We think that actually they can be easily incorporated into people’s daily lives, instead of having nuts or crisps while watching the football, you can have some roasted crickets,” one of Eat Grub's founders, Shami Radia, told Barcroft TV.
Radia and co-founder Neil Whippey, along with Chef Seb Holmes, serve up a five-course meal that fuses Thai street food and the insects.
“It starts with a snack, Pandan Crickets, which is like nutty, salt and pepper crickets basically," the chef told Barcroft. "Then we go for a cricket flour Miang [Kham, a Thai snack] with fresh ginger, peanuts, coconut, served in a betel leaf. Then we have a play on tempura shrimp, with tempura grasshoppers. After that we go for a crispy vermicelli salad with buffalo worms. Served alongside that we have a som tam salad, which is a green papaya salad made fresh in a pestle and mortar; we just use crispy roast crickets rather than shrimps like you would traditionally. Then to finish off we do a grasshopper praline ice cream.”
Radia added: “Insects are actually a sustainable source of protein. Crickets are 67 percent protein, really high in things like iron, calcium, zinc — they have the complete nutritional profile, the original superfood."
The idea came about after Whippey and Radia were discussing eating bugs and began researching the nutritional factors of eating insects and how to farm them. After trying to make a few dishes on their own, they got in touch with their chef and began their experience.
Eat Grub operates on the last Sunday of every month and more pop-up experiences are expected in the future.
The trio wants to shift the practice of eating bugs away from the taboo and create a positive experience with the critters.