The Nanfang / Blog

Throw In Some Garlic, and Locusts Are A Hot Meal Ticket in Guangdong

Posted: 06/25/2014 6:27 pm

locust farm guangdong jiangmen farmer

The term “locust” is one of the unfortunate things to emerge from years of strife between Hong Kong and mainland China. It is used by Hong Kongers to describe the hive mentality of mainlanders who consume Hong Kong’s resources – like infant milk powder, medicines, and other goods – without remorse. But while the term has a negative connotation for some, others believe locusts bring many benefits — especially when eaten.

We told you back in April about a Guangzhou farmer named Xie Bozhen who raises locusts for food, and it looks like it’s catching on with others, too.

READ: Guangzhou Man Farms 7 Million Locusts for Food

Like Xie, several farmers in Heshan near Jiangmen, Guangdong, have decided to turn the tables on pestilence and raise the insects on the farms where they had previously been seen as a nuisance.

Li Bo, 60, is one such farmer. Having raised pigs for 30 years, Li made the switch to locusts after discovering they are more cost effective than pigs. Every year, Li raises about a million locusts for consumption, reports Southern Metropolis Daily.

locust farm guangdong jiangmen farmer

Li is able to raise four to five crops a year in three tents. Each tent can produce 500 kg of locusts annually, in which each kilo is made up of 600 locusts. Annually, he produces about 300,000 of the edible insects.

The harvest, if it can be called that, is sold to Guangzhou businesses for RMB 100-200 per kilogram.

READ: Is the Cantonese Tradition of Eating Bugs Set to
Take Off Around the World?

If you’ve ever wondered what a locust eats when it isn’t decimating the fields of poor farmers, it turns out they enjoy sweet-flavored foods. Their main food is “elephant grass”, but they will eat rye during the winter.

As witnessed by the Southern Metropolis reporter, tens of thousands of locusts took flight and wildly descended upon the oatmeal Li scattered around when he went into feed them. It’s a metaphor that’s been waiting too long to be made.

locust farm guangdong jiangmen farmer

Li Haiwen is the farmer credited with starting the local craze of raising locusts after having gotten the idea by watching TV. Li says locusts are a real treat:

Locusts are insects that are high in protein, and are more nutritious than bee chrysalis. They are eaten by frying, have a fragrant scent, and are delicious.

The Nanfang suggested last year that the Cantonese culinary tradition of eating insects may be catching on, and it looks like Li and his fellow locust farmers have found their market. If you’re still not convinced why you shouldn’t be eating insects, here’s a recent instructional video from AsapScience:

Now that you’ve been properly overwhelmed with science, here’s how to prepare an adult locust for dinner:

  1. Remove their wings; boil them in water to remove their excrement, and then deep fry them.
  2. Add hot peppers, scallions and garlic with a bit of salt.
  3. Enjoy.

locust farm guangdong jiangmen farmerPhotos: Southern Metropolis Daily


Hong Kong May Restrict Mainland Visitors by 20%

Posted: 05/30/2014 11:53 am

shenzhen hong kong borderMainland tourists: your days of peeing on the streets and eating in the subways of Hong Kong may be numbered. A proposal has been made to the Commission on Strategic Development to reduce the number of Mainland visitors allowed into Hong Kong by 20%, reports the SCMP.

Tensions with Mainland visitors has finally drawn the attention of Hong Kong’s lawmakers. Years of “locust” references, pee controversies, subway fights, and retail favoritism have recently culminated in Hong Kong street demonstrations that have called on the government to close the border to the north.

Protestors want the government to restrict entry to mainland visitors to Hong Kong under the independent traveler plan. There were 40 million mainland visitors to Hong Kong last year, which now accounts for a full two-thirds of all inbound tourists.

RELATED: Macau Buckles Under the Weight of Mainland Tourists,
Considering Limiting Visitors

And what do you know: it seems like demonstrations do work. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the government is interested in listening to “the views of the public, businesses and the tourism sector”, an overall sentiment that has coalesced into this proposal to deny entry to eight million mainland visitors.

And to ensure that the process of governing is working properly, lawmakers disagreed. One unidentified member of the council said, “Everyone [is] opposed [to] such a drastic cut,” while Ben Chan Han-pan voiced his doubt that individual mainland visitors under the plan in question are the source of the problem.

RELATED: New App Gives Waiting Times at All Shenzhen-
Hong Kong Border Crossings

Local tourism may suffer if the proposal goes through. First to be affected will be luxury stores that employ guys with white gloves who follow you around the store until you leave.

Since Hong Kong lawmakers are debating the will of the people, we can’t wait until this contentious issue is boiled down to this: Are crude manners tolerable in order to accept mainlander money, or will an adherence to introverted regionalism in fact stagnate Hong Kong’s progress?

Photo: Welcome to China


Is the Cantonese tradition of eating bugs set to take off around the world?

Posted: 10/10/2013 11:00 am

China Daily has published a report claiming that the Cantonese tradition of eating creepy crawlies may be set to take off around the world.

It is famously said Cantonese will eat anything with four legs but the table and anything with wings except planes. The China Daily article was published in reaction to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations titled Edible Insects: Future prospects for food and feed security.  It argues that eating insects is one facet towards a sustainable food supply.

Calls for humans to eat bugs is nothing new. In 2010, ecologist Martin Dicke pointed out in a TED lecture (video below) that humans consume an unhealthy and unsustainable amount of meat. He claims that delicacies like locusts and caterpillars compete with meat in flavour, nutrition and eco-friendliness.

If you don’t have time to stream the lecture, here are some of his key points about the benefits of eating insects:

1. Human Health – Insects are so distantly related to us that there is no recombination of viruses harmful to humans such as swine flu.

2. Conversion factor – For every 10kg of feed, 1kg of beef and 3kg of pork can be produced. This is in contrast with 9kg of locusts.

3. Environment – Point 2 shows how much manure is produced through the farming of cattle and pigs.

4. Why not? – 80% of the world eats insects anyway. Europe and North America are simply lagging behind.

Here are some of the Cantonese staples that the China Daily article recommends:

Peanut worms

In Zhanjiang, peanut worms are harvested in shoals. Zhanjiang restaurants clean the worms and clear them of sand by first turning them inside out with a metal wire equipped with a small hook. They are either steamed with chopped garlic and glass noodles, fried like French fries or boiled in rice porridge.

Peanut worms, also known as sipunculus nudus, via Google Images

“They are a bit expensive, like 50 yuan per kilogram, but they’re cheaper after a typhoon because many are washed ashore,” Zhang Li, a Zhanjiang resident, told the paper.

She said peanut worms go particularly well with rice porridge. Dried peanut worms are also available and can be used in soup to give it a medicinal quality.

Scorpion soup

Scorpion soup is often recommended by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctors to cancer patients. The doctors believe the poison of the scorpion’s stinger combats cancer, making the critter a key ingredient in TCM.

Scorpion soup, via Google Images

“We make scorpion soup once a month on average but one cannot drink too much of it,” said Chen Yingkui, another resident of Guangzhou.

Chen added that eating scorpions acts more as a preventative measure against illnesses than as a cure.

Water beetles

It is recommended to use only the relatively soft and protein-rich abdomen, which tastes vaguely like the meat of a turtle or a crocodile.

They are also used in medicine and are believed to help combat diarrhoea.

There are many more so if you plan to delve into this world, it might be a good idea to have a Cantonese person lead the way so you get the most out of the experience.

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