Munch Crickets Like Potato Chips at Typhoon

The bugs and grubs cooked up at the restaurant overlooking the Santa Monica Airport are hardly a reason for squeamishness.

I’m always sleuthing for the new and unusual in restaurant dining. I’ve sampled cuisine from around the world, and most of it would be classified as edible. But it was time to up the ante at, known for serving bugs and grubs.

Typhoon’s been around for about 20 years, owned and operated by Brian Vidor, an entrepreneur and accomplished world traveler, who brings his eclectic tastes to this famed establishment. Because it’s Pan-Asian, it features a wide display of edibles from many countries around Asia.

The menu features feasts from China, Korea, Thailand and many other surrounding countries. But it’s the creepy critters that set this restaurant apart.

Strangely enough, in many cultures, bugs are a no-brainer. Throughout history, the popularity of bugs is widespread.  Today, they remain a traditional food throughout many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The Japanese often favor aquatic fly larvae sautéed in soy sauce and ginger.  In Bali, they often rave about de-winged dragonflies boiled in coconut milk with ginger and garlic—talk about a wing and a prayer.

Fire-roasted tarantulas are common in Latin America, and who hasn’t toyed with the agave worm, tempting you at the bottom of mescal liquor in Mexico?

And lately, bug eating has been getting a lot of press. Bugs have tons of protein. Bugs can be adapted into a variety of recipes. And lately, bug eating is becoming quite chic.

For many, the “ew” factor is quite high, but the bugs are dead, and they’re harmless. They’re also crunchy, tasty, and, they’ll give you good party banter if you’re willing to give them a try.

At Typhoon, we decided to start with the crickets. I had my first glass of wine to get me prepared. Stir-fried, they included raw garlic, chili pepper and Asian basil. Honestly, it was like inhaling a crop of potato chips.

Next came the Thai-style sea worms, deep-fried on top of baby lettuce leaves, with ginger, chile pepper, peanuts, lime, and accompanied with a tamarind dipping sauce. I love escargot, so maybe worms would be similar to snails. This was a beautiful presentation; the tangy little worms hardly a reason for squeamishness.

Ordering my second glass of wine, I decided to bring on the Singapore-style scorpions, which were smiling at me on top of shrimp toast. I had already visualized this one, pretending the scorpions were baby lobsters. I love lobster, and that fantasy seemed to work well. 

I peered closely at the little darlings.  Don’t scorpions kill people? What am I thinking? Again, it was another harmless dish. I’m ready to star on “Survivor!”

For those who want tamer game, there are many other Asian menu items available. But how about being a bit adventurous in your dining?

Typhoon is at 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South (overlooking the Santa Monica Airport runway). For more information, contact (310) 390-6565 or visit typhoon.biz/.

Nancy Mueller March 02, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Thanks for the global snapshot of bugs & grubs across cultures! What an adventurous eater you are, Mary! Good idea on fortifying yourself with wine before digging in :-).
Mary McGrath April 12, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Thanks for your comment Nancy...It was an adventure!


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