Three Giant Water Scorpions
Belostomatidae, also called Toe Biters. Despite the common name, Giant Water Scorpion, this freshwater bug is not really a scorpion at all. It gets its name due to the bite they can inflict. Although it can fly, the giant water scorpion rarely does. Instead, it might swim away from predators. Its two sets of hind legs launch forward through the water as it tries to escape or find enough vegetation to hide. It can’t swim far, though.
Get rid of your artificial bag of chips and preserved baked goods, because the Giant Water Scorpion is available and waiting to be your new go-to snack. Popular in Thailand, Giant Water Scorpions are called maeng da (แมงดา) and are commonly used in sauces as a flavor, served whole (great for kabobs) or simply as a snack. Their essence is commonly extracted and added to flavor the ever-popular Thai chili sauce, (there are many variations) known there as “nam prik”. Nam prik is a very general term for any kind of spicy chili sauce. Think of Thai chili sauce as a condiment or a dipping sauce. It can also be used as a glaze, or an addition to kick up other types of sauces.
A good way to prepare the giant water scorpion is to remove wings, legs and head (be careful of the spike on the head) and saute in oil with garlic, onions and tomatoes. Season with salt to taste. Pour the bugs and mixture over rice. Delicious! You can also eat them right away by just removing the wings and dig into the meat found in the body and head.
How Does It Taste?: Giant Water Scorpion tastes a bit like pumpkin seed, although as is true with all bugs, they have a flavor of their own. Some say they have an anise or black licorice taste-and it’s also been said the head has a flavor similar to crab.