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Foodies chirping over cricket-based dishes

Chef Nathan Isberg admits the deep-fried critters are a novelty but says “there’s some people who really dig them.”

Crickets have hopped back on the menu at Toronto’s Atlantic restaurant.

Chef Nathan Isberg admits the deep-fried critters are a novelty but says “there’s some people who really dig them.”

Strange though it may seem, there are many people who delight in platters of ants, scorpions, worms and even bullfrogs — if they are cooked just right.

Isberg said some diners may be turned off by the squishy or crunchy delicacies.

But for more adventurous types, he’s happy to whip up dishes like chili-fried crickets with greens, cricket-fried rice or grilled crickets and jellyfish on a skewer.

The insects were briefly swatted off the menu until an insurer recently gave the OK for their return. Isberg uses rosemary or oregano to spice them up but admits he doesn’t cook them every night since it takes a while to raise them to the right size.

“If people are particularly interested in it then I have them available, but they are pretty labour-intensive.”

The manager of Toronto’s public health food safety program says he has seen crickets, mealworms and other unusual delicacies during his 32 years of inspections.

Pests usually come to mind when people think of insects at restaurants but Jim Chan says most bugs are edible if cooked and handled properly.

He’s seen frozen turtles in a supermarket freezer, dried snakes at grocery stores and dried sea horses in herbal stores.

 
 
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