Golden chance to try worms

It was crunch time on Sunday for participants in an insect-eating competition in Lijiang in China's Yunnan province.

One brave Chinese tourist became the proud owner of a gold bar after eating 1.23kg of fried insects in the competition to see who could eat the most of the town's famous delicacies.

The visitor downed the offerings of bamboo worms and locusts within five minutes, pronouncing his first taste of the local speciality "delicious", reported South China Morning Post, quoting news website Yunnan.cn.

The gold bar's worth was not mentioned.

Insects have been a part of Yunnan cuisine for centuries, long before their potential as sustainable sources of protein caught the eye of the Western world.

Bee larvae, grasshoppers and cicadas are just some items found on menus in the region.

Some tourists who took the challenge said they shut their eyes because they felt frightened, the website reported, while others said it was a good challenge.

A woman from Guangdong, who said she ate worms occasionally at home, managed about 500g but could not continue with the challenge because the insects were "too dry", while "some black insects tasted terrible".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2017, with the headline 'Golden chance to try worms'. Print Edition | Subscribe