Two researchers search the globe for the best flavors the insect world has to offer in an attempt to make this inevitable future food source more palatable to wimpy Westerners.
When most people think of high-end cuisine, they are unlikely to envision plates filled with fried termite queens or noodle bowls seasoned with maggot fat. Nevertheless, that is the vision of chef Ben Reade and researcher Josh Evans of the Nordic Food Lab in this documentary that serves as one part travelogue, one part food porn, one part political treatise, and one part abject examination of creepy crawlers most would refuse to touch, much less put in their mouths.
Reade and Evans do not share such apprehension, however. As they journey across the world seeking out new and exciting insect cuisine, we watch them catch and kill and taste a myriad of disgusting treats. The film’s great trick being that the more of this we witness, perhaps the more inclined we are to believe their enthusiasm as they describe the great flavors they discover and make plans to incorporate them into dishes that don’t sound half bad.
BUGS has a central mission on its plate. As the world population soars, the need to utilize the high doses of protein offered by insects becomes more and more certain. Food one would only eat on a dare today may become the great delicacies of tomorrow. Andreas Johnsen’s brief, light-hearted documentary offers not only a peek at a culture of eating that we can hardly fathom, but also an optimistic take on the inevitable. After all, noshing on grasshoppers is far more complicated than just picking one up and popping it into your mouth raw. If one has to eat a crate of massive Japanese wasps, it certainly helps if they’re skillfully incorporated into a nice risotto, no? (Evan Saathoff)