13 Places in the U.S. to Try Bug-Based Delicacies

Insect eats aren't just for intrepid world travelers; some of the best (think Oaxacan grasshoppers, sashimi-grade water bugs and even delicate ant-powder desserts) can be found right here in the States.

Photos

Andrew Zimmern at Minnesota State Fair

Andrew Zimmern at Minnesota State Fair

Andrew Zimmern plays with his food at Mouth Trap Cheese Curds at the Minnesota State Fair. 960 1280

  

Donut called the Dough-sant

Donut called the Dough-sant

Brand-new fair food, the Dough-sant, from French Meadow Bakery. 960 1280

  

Andrew Zimmern tosses Pork rinds

Andrew Zimmern tosses Pork rinds

Andrew Zimmern tosses Famous Dave's new fair food, Cajun Pork Rinds, in Alabama white BBQ sauce. 960 1280

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Cajun Pork Rinds

Cajun Pork Rinds

A close-up of Famous Dave's new fair food, Cajun Pork Rinds, at the state fair. 960 1280

  

Carl's Gizmo creation, an Italian-beef burger

Carl's Gizmo creation, an Italian-beef burger

Andrew Zimmern eats his favorite Carl's Gizmo creation, an Italian-beef burger, at the state fair. 960 1280

  

Comet Corn

Comet Corn

Brand-new fair food, Comet Corn, from the Blue Moon Dine-In Theater. 960 1280

  

Andrew Zimmern samples mutton sausage

Andrew Zimmern samples mutton sausage

Bret Oelke, local sheep raiser, gives Andrew Zimmern a taste of mutton sausage. 960 1280

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Andrew Zimmern at a table of cakes

Andrew Zimmern at a table of cakes

Andrew Zimmern gets an exclusive look at how intense the Bundt cake-judging can get at the state fair. 960 1280

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Andrew Zimmern poses with cows

Andrew Zimmern poses with cows

Andrew Zimmern takes a break from the state fair food scene to see what the cows are up to. 960 1280

  

Andrew Zimmern talks with Ron and Kim Netterfield

Andrew Zimmern talks with Ron and Kim Netterfield

Andrew Zimmern talks with Ron and Kim Netterfield about their success in building a Minnesota State Fair food empire. 960 1280

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Corn Roast workers husking corn in front of Andrew Zimmern

Corn Roast workers husking corn in front of Andrew Zimmern

Leave it to the pros! Corn Roast workers show Andrew Zimmern how it's done. 960 1280

  

Andrew Zimmern on the cookie dough machine

Andrew Zimmern on the cookie dough machine

Andrew Zimmern tests his speed and accuracy on Sweet Martha's cookie dough machine. 960 1280

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Andrew Zimmern

Andrew Zimmern

Andrew Zimmern balances 2 precariously stacked buckets of cookies. 960 1280

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Night falls on the Minnesota State Fair

Night falls on the Minnesota State Fair

Crowds continue to surge as night falls on the Minnesota State Fair. 960 1280

  

Lechon (Jersey City, New Jersey)

Lechon (Jersey City, New Jersey)

I love Filipino food; the post-colonial cuisine combines the best of South Asian ingredients with Spanish technique. Although it hasn’t taken hold in this country like Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, you can still find phenomenal Filipino food on both coasts. The Cebu-style lechon from Legal Beans in Jersey City is as good as it gets. Stuffed with lemongrass and scallions, rubbed with vinegar and spices, and slow-roasted for several hours, this whole hog is ideal tailgating grub for a crowd. 960 1280

  

Flaczki (Pittsburgh)

Flaczki (Pittsburgh)

Pittsburgh is an Eastern European immigrant city with a dynamic food scene that's reinvented itself over the last couple decades. For traditionalists, a stop at S&D Polish Deli is a must. Run by a couple from central Poland, it's a one-stop shop for everything from Polish shampoo to Warsaw-style head cheese and other fantastic Polish fare. One of their specialties is flaczki, a beef tripe soup that hits the spot on a chilly day. 960 1280

  

Burgoo (Eastern Kentucky)

Burgoo (Eastern Kentucky)

Burgoo is a true hunter’s chowder that’s legendary in eastern Kentucky. Although a singular recipe doesn’t exist, there are a few things everyone can agree on -- it has to have at least 3 different types of meat (i.e. squirrel, turkey and deer) and it’s gotta be cooked on an open fire pit. My Kentucky hunting pal, Tim Farmer, makes a killer version with 5 wild meats, along with vegetables from his garden, including tomatoes, okra and his secret ingredient, homemade currant jelly. Served with bacon-rich cornbread, burgoo is ideal cool weather comfort food. 960 1280

  

Fish Boil (Two Rivers, Wisconsin)

Fish Boil (Two Rivers, Wisconsin)

Great Lakes whitefish is one of the only species left for commercial fishermen to harvest from Lake Michigan, and it’s perfect for a fish boil. The Two Rivers Fire Department has a long tradition of manning the raging fire at the annual Door County Fish Boil, where the firemen use a hefty amount of kerosene to create a crowd-drawing spectacle. What’s better to feed a crowd than a fish boil? 960 1280

  

Beef Barbacoa (Houston)

Beef Barbacoa (Houston)

You'll find the ultimate tailgating scene at a Houston Texans home game, where the scale of the food matches the enthusiasm of the die-hard fans. The guys from Pitmaker, a local barbecue manufacturing company, know how to throw one hell of a pregame party, turning Mexican specialties into an ultimate tailgating feast (they even have a live band). I was lucky enough to sample their beef barbacoa de cabeza … yes, all the meat from a slow-roasted whole steer head. Grab a tortilla, and a mix of cheek and tongue, and you have the makings of one of the best tacos I've eaten. 960 1280

  

Crow and Jalapeno Wrapped in Bacon (Gravette, Arkansas)

Crow and Jalapeno Wrapped in Bacon (Gravette, Arkansas)

Crow meat has a bad reputation, but when cooked correctly, it reminds me of canvasback duck, some of the sweeter-tasting species that we have in the North. After hunting crow in the Ozarks, I helped cook up some bacon-wrapped crow and jalapeno bites. Rolled in brown sugar, dipped in soy sauce and then grilled, this is Arkansas-style game day food -- superb Ozarks finger food. 960 1280

  

Caldo (St. Bernard, Louisiana)

Caldo (St. Bernard, Louisiana)

Traditional Isleno cooking abounds in St. Bernard, LA, along what I like to call the "Third Coast." Caldo is a humble peasant stew with its roots in the Canary Islands. It’s a tender braise, filled with a hundred vegetables and in this case, big knobs of pickled pork. It’s a one-pot-wonder that makes use of whatever meat and vegetables you have on hand -- beans, cabbage, corn, tomato, sweet potato and turnip greens are all in abundance in this part of the country. 960 1280

  

Porchetta (Ionia, Iowa)

Porchetta (Ionia, Iowa)

On a small farm, Rustik Rooster Farms, outside of Waverly, Iowa, my friend Carl Blake has crossbred one of the most delicious pigs in America -- he calls his breed an Iowa Swabian Hall in homage to the classic German pig stock. With an ideal balance of intra- and inter-muscular fat and well-marbled muscle meat, this is truly one of the greatest hogs you'll ever eat. I had the pleasure of tasting Carl's porchetta, a boneless whole hog, stuffed with sausage, loins and its own organs, all roasted to perfection. Touchdown. 960 1280

  

Whole Smoked Armadillo (Central Florida)

Whole Smoked Armadillo (Central Florida)

When most people think of Florida, they imagine Disney World and Miami Beach, but if you venture into the heart of the peninsula, you'll find wonderful folks who take pride in living off the land. This means eating and cooking animals like armadillo. My guides, hunters David Tyburski and Rick Stafford, prepared smoked armadillo, cooked in its own shell and filled with seasonings and vegetables. Believe me, it makes for one unique barbecue. And it's delicious. 960 1280

  

Matanza (Los Lunas, New Mexico)

Matanza (Los Lunas, New Mexico)

It's pretty obvious I have a thing for whole animal cooking. And when it comes to ceremonial whole hog feasting, a traditional matanza is solidly at the top of my list. In the community of Los Lunas in New Mexico, for example, everyone gathers together to butcher and cook all parts of the pig, creating dishes ranging from blood pudding and fried pig skin, to <i>adobado</i> and braised red chili ribs. This kind of cooking wouldn’t be out of place outside of an NFL stadium. It's the best whole hog cookery I know of. 960 1280

  

Bigos (Philadelphia)

Bigos (Philadelphia)

Bigos is a traditional Polish pork-and-sauerkraut stew that is rich in soulful Eastern European flavors and ingredients. Czerw's Kielbasy in Philly has one of the best versions I’ve ever tried. These guys are serious about family traditions, using the same kielbasa recipes that grandpa Jan Czerw used back in 1938 when he first opened this smokehouse. It's the perfect meal in a bowl. 960 1280

  

Double Quick gas station in Clarksdale, MS

Double Quick gas station in Clarksdale, MS

Andrew Zimmern samples fried okra, fried chicken livers and koolickle (a sweet-and-sour pickle soaked in Kool-Aid) at the Double Quick gas station in Clarksdale, MS. 960 1280

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Clarksdale, MS

Clarksdale, MS

Andrew is treated to a home-cooked meal in Clarksdale, MS, where fresh bass covered in a sauce of garlic, ginger and bacon is served alongside many other options. 960 1280

  

Clarksdale, MS

Clarksdale, MS

Andrew with his hosts in Clarksdale, MS. 960 1280

  

City Grocery in Oxford, MS

City Grocery in Oxford, MS

Andrew speaks with chef John Currence at City Grocery in Oxford, MS. 960 1280

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City Grocery in Oxford, MS

City Grocery in Oxford, MS

A BLT: bacon, lettuce and testicle sandwich with basil mayo at City Grocery in Oxford, MS. 960 1280

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Blue Front Café in Bentonia, MS

Blue Front Café in Bentonia, MS

Bluesman Jimmy "Duck" Holmes outside his juke joint, Blue Front Café in Bentonia, MS. 960 1280

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The Queen of Hearts Juke Joint in Jackson, MS

The Queen of Hearts Juke Joint in Jackson, MS

Andrew outside of The Queen of Hearts Juke Joint in Jackson, MS. 960 1280

  

Parlor Market in Jackson, MS

Parlor Market in Jackson, MS

Crawfish boil outside of Parlor Market in Jackson, MS. 960 1280

  

City Grocery in Oxford, MS

City Grocery in Oxford, MS

Grilled lamb hearts at City Grocery in Oxford, MS. 960 1280

christopher marino  

Fineberg Packing Co., Memphis, TN

Fineberg Packing Co., Memphis, TN

Andrew learns how to make bologna at Fineberg Packing Co., in Memphis, TN. 960 1280

christopher marino  

Southern Foodways Alliance, Oxford, MS

Southern Foodways Alliance, Oxford, MS

Andrew with the staff of Southern Foodways Alliance at their offices in Oxford, MS. 960 1280

  

City Grocery in Oxford, MS

City Grocery in Oxford, MS

Redneck Ramen: pigs' ears in black vinegar with noodles at City Grocery in Oxford, MS. 960 1280

christopher marino  

City Grocery in Oxford, MS

City Grocery in Oxford, MS

Batter-fried chitlins with homemade ketchup at City Grocery in Oxford, MS. 960 1280

christopher marino  

Fineberg Packing Co., Memphis, TN

Fineberg Packing Co., Memphis, TN

Andrew learns how to make souse at Fineberg Packing Co., in Memphis, TN. Souse consists of processed meat made out of pigs’ hearts, ears, stomachs and snouts. 960 1280

christopher marino  

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