Edible Insects Featured in
Sticky rice, papaya salad, and rice noodle soup occupy a large portion of the daily meals of tourists in Laos. However, Lao people eat a much broader diet, as in addition to traditional Lao cuisine it includes about 50 kinds of edible insects.
Until recently collecting insects for food was mostly done by villagers for personal consumption, especially during agricultural activities in the fields. Today modern technologies are implemented for sufficient and sustainable farming of insects, which favors the rising tendency in growing insects for sale. That is why now it is easy to find some dried, fried, or boiled insects in markets. Even though the variety of species which is grown on special farms is still much less than the ones collected in the wild by locals.
Lao people call bugs saep laai laai (delicious) and they have eaten them for centuries. Of course, tastes differ, but the most frequently consumed insects in Laos are bamboo caterpillars, crickets, cicadas, and the larvae and pupae of ants and wasps. Crickets and beetles are collected during rainy months—June and July; grasshoppers, caterpillars, and dragonflies are only available from November to January.