An Ohio eatery embraced cicadas swarming parts of the US this summer by baking the big, buzzing insects into pizza.
The Pizza Bandit in Dayton, Ohio tested out what it calls a Spicy Thai Cicada Pie, which is made with cheese, onions, mango, spicy Thai sauce — and blanched and sautéed locally foraged cicadas.
‘These crunchy cicadas add a heck of a note to an otherwise wonderful Thai inspired pie,’ the restaurant wrote on Facebook.
The Pizza Bandit in Dayton, Ohio tested out what it calls a Spicy Thai Cicada Pie
It was made with miso hoisin sriracha sauce, mozzarella, provolone, mushrooms, cabbage, green onion, mango, cilantro, and a spicy Thai sauce — and sautéed cicadas
They even baked cicada wings into the crust. They said: ‘Opinions of the pizza range from absolutely delicious to…well…uh…yeah…’
The Pizza Bandit is not actually selling the cicada pizza because, it says, they are ‘not even sure if we can legally can sell you locally foraged cicadas.’
Cicadas are edible, though the FDA warns that those with seafood allergies should avoid them.
Instead, they hosted a taste test this week and livestreamed it on Facebook.
The restaurant’s recipe calls for miso hoisin sriracha sauce, mozzarella, provolone, cicadas, mushrooms, cabbage, green onion, mango, cilantro, and a spicy Thai sauce.
They also baked cicada wings into the crust.
‘From a distance this pie looks delightful but once you get closer you realize those are no raisins,’ the restaurant wrote.
With Brood X cicadas emerging this summer for the first time in 17 years, most Americans are thinking about how they can avoid the large, noisy bugs at all costs
The pizza is not for sale because the restaurant is ‘not even sure if we can legally can sell you locally foraged cicadas’
‘Opinions of the pizza range from absolutely delicious to…well…uh…yeah…’
Commenters have had mixed reactions as well, with one writing gamely: ‘My dog finds them quite the delicacy. I’d try it.’
‘Since cicadas are basically flying tree shrimp, you could sub shrimp for the cicadas to sell this pie to the public. Yum!’ said another.
‘I know eating insects is much more common in other parts of the world, but I think I’m good without. Looks like a really well made pizza though,’ said a third.
‘Just one question. Why. Just why. I could understand if you were dying on a deserted island with nothing to eat but you’re not dying so what is the reason you would eat an insect?’ pleaded one more.
ChouQuette Chocolates & Confections in Bethesda, Maryland is selling chocolate-covered cicadas
They are then frozen, boiled, and covered in oil before they are put in an air fryer. The shop then covers them in milk chocolate or dark chocolate and adds bay spice or cinnamon
The cicadas are collected from nearby in Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, and Potomac, and the shop says it takes about three to five days to move to the top of the wait list
The shop also sells some other cicada-themed treats, like cicada-shaped chocolates with no actual bug inside
Meanwhile, ChouQuette Chocolates & Confections in Bethesda, Maryland is selling chocolate-covered cicadas — plus some other cicada-themed treats, like cicada-shaped chocolates with no actual bug inside.
For the chocolate-covered bugs, the cicadas are collected from nearby in Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, and Potomac.
They are then frozen, boiled, and covered in oil before they are put in an air fryer. The shop then covers them in milk chocolate or dark chocolate and adds bay spice or cinnamon.
A dozen chocolate-covered cicadas sell for $22.
The cicadas are only available for advanced orders, with the shop saying it takes about three to five days to move to the top of the wait list.
‘We are happily inundated with orders,’ they said. ‘We are gathering, preparing, and packing cicadas as fast as we can.’
Frank’s RedHot has release a digital Cicada Cookbook, which comes with 13 recipes for hot sauce-infused cicada dishes
Recipes include Buffalo Bug Dip, which is made with ‘two cups blanched cicadas, coarsely chopped,’ cream cheese, ranch dressing, blue cheese crumbles, and Frank’s RedHot
There are also Air-Fried Buffalo Cicada ‘Wings,’ which are made with blanched cicadas that are air-fried and covered in buttered and hot sauce
Perhaps the most palatable is the Spicy Cicada Mary, a Bloody Mary with a roasted cicada garnish
Recipe for the Spicy Cicada Mary
For home cooks, Frank’s RedHot has released a digital Cicada Cookbook, which comes with 13 recipes for hot sauce-infused cicada dishes like Air-Fried Buffalo Cicada ‘Wings’ and Cicada Corn Dogs.
‘There are basically billions of flying shrimp all around you. Probably right now. So grab a net, follow the extremely loud, extremely persistent buzzing, and you got yourself a good amount of the ingredients in this here spicy, creamy, Buffalo Bug Dip,’ says the brand.
The dip is made with ‘two cups blanched cicadas, coarsely chopped,’ cream cheese, ranch dressing, blue cheese crumbles, and Frank’s RedHot.
There are also Air-Fried Buffalo Cicada ‘Wings,’ which are made with blanched cicadas that are air-fried and covered in buttered and hot sauce.
Perhaps the most palatable is the Spicy Cicada Mary, a Bloody Mary with a roasted cicada garnish.
Bun Lai, the chef of New Haven, Connecticut’s Miya’s Sushi, told the New York Times this week that cicadas taste like walnuts, chestnuts, and adzuki beans, and have a crunchy exterior with a ‘creaminess’ on the inside ‘like a soft shell crab.’
US chef serves up sustainable ‘Brood X’ delicacy
After 17 years underground, swarms of cicadas are emerging across the eastern United States — and for one Washington chef, the rare bug invasion was his cue for a cookout, with a side of food ethics.
Bun Lai, an advocate for the sustainable food movement, invited locals for an insect hunt in a city park followed by a taste of his fried cicada sushi.
‘In a world where we’re suffering from the biggest pandemic in history — which is not Covid, but diet-related diseases — we’re going to have to take a revolutionary approach to how we’re used to eating,’ he said.
Over the weekend, the Hong Kong-born American chef showed residents how to harvest, cook and prepare cicadas as a way to talk about alternative methods of farming and eating.
Chef Bun Lai seasons cicadas with salt as he fries them at Fort Totten Park in Washington
The group collected cicadas and edible greens from around the park
Billions of Brood X cicadas are appearing in US states including Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana, and Tennessee.
Using his Instagram and Twitter accounts, Bun announced when he would be catching and cooking a few — and then sharing them free of charge.
‘Free cicada hunt and cookout,’ Bun tweeted. ‘Bring ingredients to cook with and join me in getting creative or just eat!’
For those who answered the call, the culinary adventure began by collecting some of the tastiest-looking bugs.
Stella Roque, a 36-year-old who grew up with a fear of insects, was not overly eager, but she viewed it as a way to overcome her phobia.
‘I’m here today because Bun Lai invited me to try cooked cicadas, and I thought it was going to be an interesting experience,’ she said.
Cicadas are fried as they are prepared for the sushi recipe
Ready for tasting: fried cicadas in a sushi roll
‘I decided to come along, given that I had heard about the whole cicada apocalypse happening in the area.’
And she’s not alone in trying some creepy-crawly cuisine. Cicada tacos are popular menu items in restaurants just now, according to The Washingtonian magazine.
However, Bun cautioned against cicadas becoming a ‘gourmet food,’ fearing they could even be ‘eaten away like we have with so many species that we’ve become obsessed with over time.’
The group collected cicadas and edible greens from around the park under Bun’s guidance. The cicadas were then placed in a jar near other fresh ingredients beside a charcoal fire.
The chef seasoned the cicadas with salt before frying them in a large skillet. Finally, the fried insects were rolled into sushi, getting wrapped in large leaves with rice and vegetables, before being served.
Roque, expecting the worst, said she was in fact ‘delightfully surprised.’
‘I was actually terrified when holding it in my hand,’ she said. ‘But… it was actually really tasty.’