A month ago I added a new category to my list of edible insect products: The food subscription box. It is the guys I interviewed in 2018, Leo and Aaron that have taken their company BUG (Better Universal Grub) one step further and transformed their collection of edible insect recipes into a subscription service. It is a fantastic way to introduce early adopters to edible insects.
It was also about a month ago I had a video call with Leo and learned more about the concept and their ideas. Leo is the design guy, trained architect, which have made their website and all their visual communications so compelling. Co-founder Aaron is the bug geek that is an expert on insects. To complete their team their friend Will “the food Jedi” and “the marketing queen” Cynthia have joined. Leo explains that Will plays an important role as he is the guy behind the recipes.
The concept is beautiful: If you are a “buginner” you can try one box for 12 GBP, A box contains two recipes, and the base ingredients for two portions of each recipe. Ingredients that are hard to get at your local store (like the dried crickets or mealworms). It is also ingredients that don’t weigh much, have a good shelf life and are easily sent in a small box via mail (the box is small enough to get through your letterbox!). If you live in the UK delivery is free, if you live in the rest of EU it takes a couple of more days (7-10 days) and costs another 5 extra pounds. The rest of the world has to wait for Bugs expansion.
But why just try one box? Get a box delivered every week, fortnight or month! If you subscribe each box costs 10 pounds that is a reasonable 2.50 pounds per portion (plus the money you pay for other ingredients).
As I have experimented quite a lot with different Bug burgers, I had to try a box with a bug burger recipe using mealworms and a “cricket ‘bacon’ carbonara recipe using… yes you guessed right: Crickets.
My daughter Vanna (who is the only other family member who really appreciates the ento cuisine) and I decided to try out both recipes during a weekend. We cooked, filmed and ate. Below you see the two films, and if you scroll a bit more you find our thoughts and comments.
Our thoughts on design and recipes:
First of all: The design of the box is brilliant. Almost everything is flawless, with a lot of clever design ideas. The packaging is 100 percent biodegradable, which also might explain why the scent of the Tamari Soy Sauce “leaked” through the package, making the whole box smell of Tamari. Not really a problem for us, but maybe it can be a problem for the sauce shelf life?
Following the instructions is easy. I missed one instruction though: How to handle the black beans you use for the Bug Burger recipe. In Sweden the can with black beans you buy is filled with liquid. I got rid of most of this, but when making the patties I realized that I should have got rid of all the liquid to get a different kind of burger dough.
Another thought: Maybe there should be instructions for “ento vegans” on how to replace dairy products and eggs in the carbonara?
Otherwise the recipes were great and the portions are generous. We made three large burger patties, and it was really enough to feed three people if you served the burgers with fried potatoes.
I have eaten quite a few bug burgers and I really liked the taste of this one. My daughter Vanna liked it to. As you can se in the film she even appreciated the “dough” before we made it into burgers and fried them. A problem with many vegetarian (and ento-vegetarian) burgers is the texture. I worked a lot on texture when I was trying out bug burger recipes a couple of years ago. Using beans never was a big hit. And unfortunately I feel the same way here. The burger became really heavy and compact, and when you have eaten half the burger you feel “like your mouth is full” as Vanna explained it. Maybe a reason for this result also is that the beans I used contained too much juice. I would love to try the recipe again and see if I would get different results. Because the burger really had great taste!
When comparing the bug burger to the carbonara I think the latter is our favorite. The carbonara was rich, and the crickets were crunchy. Like crunchy bacon. I still can’t help to feel that fresh crickets are much better then dried ones, but unfortunately providing frozen crickets in a package delivered to your letterbox isn’t a realistic alternative.
All in all it made me curious on trying more, and if you live in the UK where the delivery is free I really think you immediately should give it a go! I am also thinking that this can be a great gift, a way to surprise and at the same time educate friends. Edible insects are food, and if you have the ingredients and a great recipe it is easy to cook them!
So what are you waiting for? Visit: www.bug.recipes, buy a box or subscription and give it a try!
Regarding this review:
This is not a payed post. The only bribe I got was the test products :)
If you have products that you want tested by Bug Burger, please contact me.
But beware: if I don’t like the product I will say so :)