One man took extreme eating to the next level over the weekend, consuming 1.23 kilograms of deep fried insects at a competition held in the tourist city of Lijiang.
The man, surnamed Peng, stuffed his face with fried grasshoppers and worms, devouring more than a kilogram in under five minutes. His prize: a 24K gold bar and some (pretty strange) bragging rights.
Peng hails from Chongqing, but adventurous eaters from all around the country showed up on Sunday to take part in the competition while dressed up in traditional costumes.
The scenic town of Lijiang, located in China’s southwestern Yunnan province, has a long history of eating bugs, including bamboo worms, locusts, dragonflies, and silkworms. Locals there have recognized creepy crawlies like bee larvae, grasshoppers and cicadas as excellent sources of protein for centuries.
According to the news site Yunnan.cn, Peng took one bite of the Lijiang delicacy and proclaimed it “delicious.”
Others at the competition weren’t as convinced. The same website reports that some tourists had to close their eyes before digging into their plate of bugs.
One woman from Guangdong had to quit after eating 500 grams of assorted insects, saying that some of the black insects “tasted terrible” and that all the bugs were “too dry.” She was reportedly an experienced bug eater, consuming worms occasionally at home.
The competition’s popularity reflects a growing worldwide obsession with eating bugs. Even in the West, where they are typically considered a taboo food reserved only for extreme foodies, insects are becoming more popular.
American companies like Exo and Chapul, who make protein bars made out of crickets, have gained millions of dollars from investors in recent years, but for the people of Lijiang, eating bugs is nothing out of the ordinary.
Just be glad they weren’t alive when Mr. Peng gulped them down.
By Caroline Roy
[Images via ECNS / ChinaNews]
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