Crunchy Cicada Goodness

"Eating insects fascinates me from a historical, nutritional, and ecological standpoint, but when I actually have a cicada in hand I start getting second thoughts," says RealMenJulienne. Giant, noisy cicadas are totally edible, and there are tons of recipes available—if only you have the nerve to cook them. "I researched preparations, and am having serious second thoughts myself," says onceadaylily. "One set of instructions advised me to remove the wings, and to be mentally prepared for the 'scream,' and then toss them into hot oil. The word 'scream' put a whole new perspective on this." RealMenJulienne has heard it firsthand, having seen a wasp the size of a ChapStick jackknife a cicada out of the air. Indeed, "it let out this bloodcurdling scream as it was carried away."

While no Chowhound admits to having eaten cicadas, runwestierun accidentally sampled some giant Thai water beetles, also known as mangda. (In other news, mangda chutney is NOT another word for mango chutney.) "I'm thinking they are very close to cicadas," says runwestierun. "The chutney was extra hot, so I think I mostly got chili and fish sauce taste. People tell me when you eat them alone they are strangely fruity, like bananas. But I think the only way I'd ever eat them again is by accident, just like the first time."

Discuss: The cicadas are driving me insane with their seduction chatter . . . so, I got to wondering, how do they taste?

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