What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Giant Water Bugs
I have enjoyed reading your informational site. I borrowed one of your photos to illustrate the portion of meat I ate when stationed in Thailand in 1969. The Giant Water Bugs were collected under the street lights at the Korat Air Base, in central Thailand. The native guards would roast them over a little campfire. They taught me to stick a bamboo skewer into the abdomen and slowly roast them. They peeled the exoskeleton behind the head to reveal a tasty morsel of white meat. The taste reminded me of a small sweet scallop. The guard did not have me eat the whole bug, but I understand they can be fried or roasted and eaten whole. At the time the locals called them Baht Bugs because the people could sell them for 1 Baht each at the market. The value was 5 cents at the time. That was fairly valuable since a man working hard labor in the hot sun would only make 15 cents per hour. Our guard supplemented his income by collecting dozens of the Water Bugs, putting them in burlap bags.
I forgot to add my name Thanks for maintaining such a great website.
Lucky Ketcham
San Diego, CA

Hi Lucky,
Thanks for the great anecdote. We will post your letter to our Edible Insects page.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

7 Responses to Thai Treats: Roasted Giant Water Bugs

  1. Lyle Buck says:

    I was stationed in Udorn Thailand in 1968. We would collect the bugs out on the flight line and give them to the lady bar tender in our squadron barroom. She would smell them and select the best.

  2. We have also heard them called them Giant Water Scorpions (and Toe Biters). I have never had them roasted over a fire but have eaten them after being sun dried, they taste a lot like roasted pumpkin seeds. Take the wings and legs off then eat the whole bug.

    They are dramatic. For people squeamish about eating bugs, watching you bite the head off of these big bugs will nearly make them faint.


  3. Lyle Buck says:

    We had these gas powered light units for working on aircraft at night and they attracted the bugs and sometimes they would hit you in the head. It was kind of a controlled crash

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