Cape Town Restaurant serves an insect-only menu

The restaurant was opened by Gourmet Grub that already introduced Cape Town to dairy-free ice cream made from insect milk
Mario Barnard, chef at Gourmet Grubb, works at his food stand
Mario Barnard, chef at Gourmet Grubb, works at his food stand specializing in using insects in cuisine on July 17, 2019, in Cape Town. – Mopane worms are a traditional snack in South Africa, but a Cape Town restaurant is set to crawl into the history books as the first to serve a full menu of bug-infused delicacies. Barnard uses mostly dried, ground up worms or pupae, which he sources from people producing them to feed exotic pets. These dried insects are high in protiens, fats, and a variety of minerals, making them very healthy to eat. (Photo by RODGER BOSCH / AFP)

Mopane worms are a traditional snack in South Africa, but this Cape Town restaurant may crawl into history books as the first to serve a full menu of bug-infused delicacies. The Insect experience, which opened its doors this month, is offering an alternative food source to the city’s mainstream culinary experience. 

A picture was taken on July 17, 2019, shows a dish of Mopani worms, imported from Zimbabwe, an ingredient at Gourmet Grubb, a food stand run by chef Mario Barnard (not visible) specializing in using insects in cuisine, in Cape Town. (Photo by RODGER BOSCH / AFP)

The restaurant was opened by Gourmet Grub, a company that has already introduced Cape Town to dairy-free ice cream made from insect milk. Co-founder and head of product development Leah Bessa has been investigating insects as a viable protein substitute. She says the insects are also high in dietary fibre and have no carbohydrate value.  

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Mealworms and mopane worms are some of the creepy-crawlies that chef Mario Barnard has included in his dishes. The bugs are bred by two local farmers and delivered straight to the restaurant. 

Dish of Meal worms in a Cape Town restaurant with insect-only menu
A picture was taken on July 17, 2019, shows a dish of Mealworms, an ingredient and garnish at Gourmet Grubb, a food stand run by chef Mario Barnard (not visible) specializing in using insects in cuisine in Cape Town. – Mopane worms are a traditional snack in South Africa, but a Cape Town restaurant is set to crawl into the history books as the first to serve a full menu of bug-infused delicacies. Barnard uses mostly dried, ground-up worms or pupae, which he sources from people producing them to feed exotic pets. These dried insects are high in proteins, fats, and a variety of minerals, making them very healthy to eat. (Photo by RODGER BOSCH / AFP)

He was inspired by a trip to Thailand where he experienced dishes made with tarantulas and scorpions. The restaurant serves mopane worm polenta fries, and black fly larvae chickpea croquettes paired with a mopane hummus and topped off with a sprinkle of dried mealworms. 

For dessert, it offers a deep-fried dark chocolate black fly larvae ice cream. Many insects used in the dishes offer vital minerals as well as proteins. It’s an alternative to meat that may just keep the doctor away.

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