A good source of protein as well as crunch, fried insects are sold at roadside stalls all over Thailand. But though you'll get plenty of snap, crackle, and pop sampling crispy grasshoppers, crickets, locusts, and mantises, the most popular bug snacks among locals (and the most challenging for visitors) are the fried giant water beetles, known as maeng da
. These bugs, which are about three inches long and look like Brooklyn-variety cockroaches (on steroids), are fried in oil, sometimes with garlic and chili peppers, and then munched like potato chips. Maeng da are also ground up to flavor a popular chili paste, namprik
—used in lots of other Thai dishes. Translation: You may have tasted these bugs, even if you didn't know it at the time.
Where to Find Them: Temple markets around the city, and along Khao San Road.
From the article The World's Strangest Street Food