Big Bug Man

I stayed near the backpacker haven of Khao San Road on the first journey through Bangkok–it was a two week trip during the Spring Festival holiday while living in China.

A more typical street food vendor in Bangkok
A more typical street food vendor in Bangkok

The Khao San Road area is a lively backpacker haven filled with restaurants, bars, hostels, and travel agents. And around dinnertime the street market opens and the area becomes more crowded and boisterous.

My favorite part about walking through the neighborhood was discovering the food vendors. Most were stationary, roadside vendors with fairly typical Thai specialties, such as pad thai and spring rolls. There were also food carts that roamed the streets. Most of the carts sold fresh fruit that I eagerly purchased for 10 Baht–it was cold, refreshing, and cheap. But there were some that were just a little different.

One night I came across this curiosity–a food I couldn’t identify until I got up close. Fried insects.

bangkok bugs
Looks tasty

I consider myself to be an adventurous diner, but I have to draw the line somewhere. I don’t judge people for eating such things, but I’m not too keen on eating them myself. I guess I couldn’t take over Bizarre Foods for Andrew Zimmern.

Even though I wasn’t willing to eat the variety of insects, I was tempted. The vendor knew his audience and had a perfect sales pitch. As a crowd gathered, he offered a free sample (not quite Baskin’ Robbins style). However, if the tourist sampling the bugs didn’t spit it out, he/she had to buy a whole bag. It worked, and a few curious tourists purchased bags of fried bugs to crunch on as they walked through Khao San Road.

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