Brooklyn edible insect expo tempts people with food containing bugs

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Insects are on the menu this weekend at Brooklyn Bugs in New York City. The Brooklyn Bugs food expo is a first-of-its-kind venture to bring together bug farmers, bug chefs and food products made with insects. It also aims to entice the people to try food made from bugs.

Crickets, worms, grasshoppers and about 200 more bug varieties are all edible and are packed with protein and other nutrients, according to organizers.

The three-day Brooklyn Bugs event features food tastings, drink pairings and entertainment - all with the hearty insect in mind.

"Brooklyn Bugs is a celebration of edible insects and it's an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the leaders of the world of entomophagy and also to try and help change the perception amongst Americans of what it is to eat insects and bring more awareness, both on a nutritional standpoint, a sustainable standpoint, but also on a cultural standpoint," explained Brooklyn Bugs organiser and New York City chef Joseph Yoon on Sept 1.

On the lunch menu - cricket daikon scallion cake, vegetable patty with cricket powder and tempura fried adobo chapulines.

"I really like this. I'm not sure what this is with the small crickets in it, but it was so delicious," said Jules, who said she came to the event from Vermont.

She added, "I thought the chapulines, the grasshoppers, had a really distinct taste from the crickets, which I thought was really pleasant and nice."

The food bug has bitten many and the edible food market is booming. Insects are already being used to make items such as protein powder, pasta and snack foods. Some stores in the US have begun selling products made with insects and a few restaurants in New York have edible insect offerings on the menu.

The global market for edible insects was US$33 million (SG$44.7 million) in 2015, according to Global Market Insights, and is expected grow 40 per cent by 2023.