Friday, March 18, 2011

We have added insects to our diet

Once a month or so the Women’s International Group (WIG) http://wiglaos.org/  run a cultural evening to encourage people to learn about and appreciate Lao culture. A speaker comes along and talks about a particular topic.

On Tuesday the topic was edible insects and Andrew and I went along.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have a program promoting insects as a source of food. Commercial farming is efficient in terms of land usage, has low effort required and the prices/returns are economically possible. 

our presenters
The presenters were fantastic. Professor Hanboonsong, from Thailand was passionate about the topic but had a great sense of humor. When asked about what you feed a farmed cricket she explained usually they used chicken feed, but had been experimenting with bio-waste from the Beer Lao factories – adding that the crickets had taken to the BeerLao very well and were very happy insects. A young Lao lady also spoke enthusiastically and well about what they were actually doing in Laos to support insect farming. Apparently there is already a number of quite a strong farming operations outside Vientiane.

Apparently 95% of Lao eat some form of insects in their diet and currently in their model farms they are concentrating on crickets, palm meal bugs and weaver ants. Both Andrew and I have had insects as part of our provincial journeys –Andrew had Bamboo Worms up North and I had ant egg soup down south.

Bamboo or Silk Worms in Xiengkhouan

Crickets are a cousin of shrimp – it’s all just perception as to what is food and what isn’t

At the end of the presentation we were all invited to tried fried crickets – they don’t really taste of much at all. And if you you don’t focus on the legs when you put them in your mouth you would never know they were insects.

Our pre dinner appertiser - fried cricket

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