In the center market of Lijiang is an expansive food market with vendors selling everything from candy to chicken feet. As we walked along the stalls absorbing the sights and smells we noticed some of the cuisine was quite unique compared to what we are used to. One stall in particular had skewered a variety of insects on kabobs. Worms, larva, and of course grasshoppers were all looking rather unappealing but this was the closest I had ever been to achieving this goal. After passing the stand two times as we were meandering around Old Town I finally decided it was time.
I pointed to the grasshoppers on the skewer and the gentleman operating the coal grill told me it would be 10 yuan (roughly $1.60). I anxiously handed over the bill and watched as he prepared my next snack. He grilled them for about a minute and a half per side while covering them in a sauce. Then handed the kabob over to me. As I turned from the stand I quickly became a new attraction in the market for the Chinese tourists; no doubt they were entertained by a wai guo ren (foreigner) eating these insects. I pulled a hopper off the skewer as did Tom and we popped them into our mouths...
Immediately I noticed how crunchy it was, and how awesome the sauce was. The spicy, smokey flavor made the thought of crunching wings, legs, thorax, head and abdomen between my teeth much less intimidating. In fact upon popping the second one into my mouth I realized that grasshoppers are not half bad. They crunch like a potato chip but the body of the grasshopper has a consistency similar to a french fry. The sauce is down right good and would be an addition to any BBQ. It was a very pleasing experience, although I was unable to finish the whole kabob (maybe due to a sense of unfamiliarity or snack confusion). I would certainly try them again if the chance arose.
The best part about this story though I have left for the very end. As we walked toward a coffee bar I stopped Emily, looked at her and said "You have to try one!" She replied "Why? Is this some sort of bonding experience?" To which I said. "Yes." Just as in our life together so far she exceeded my expectations. She pulled of a grasshopper and threw it in her mouth, chewed, and swallowed. In fact sadly enough, the grasshopper went down better than fresh WI cheese curds. It was a very memorable snack to say the least and a moment of growth in our marriage :)