As of Monday 3 November, the menu at the sports building will include a genuine insect burger to help promote Meat Free Monday. EM has already tasted this exotic-sounding snack.
Celebrating a meat-free Monday by eating insects, which are also living creatures, does sound rather peculiar at first. But Meat Free Monday isn’t intended to ensure a totally vegetarian first day of the week. The purpose of this day is to generate awareness of the negative impact of cattle breeding on the environment and the available alternatives for meat. Buffalo worms, the main ingredient of insect burgers, barely emit CO² and they take up far less space than cattle, so this snack with worms is a great idea. But are they any good?
These are the buffalo worms inside the insect burger
Definitely not wriggling grubs
We aren’t keen to admit this, but the EM editors didn’t really like the idea of tasting the new insect burger at first. We had a mental picture of slimy wriggling grubs that would be more suitable as fish food, but of course we couldn’t turn down the invitation from our colleagues at the sports building. However, when our insect burgers were served, we were greatly relieved to see that they look just like any other burger served at the snack bar – especially when viewed next to the portion of chips accompanying them.
Hardly any difference between an insect burger and a ‘normal’ hamburger
Just like a vegetarian burger
As you can see in the photo, the insect burgers look fairly ordinary on the outside, but appearances can be deceptive. They might just as easily have had a strong insect flavour, or you could suddenly find a piece of worm in your mouth. But in actual fact, the burgers don’t have a distinctive taste. The texture is a bit floury, but they look a lot like a standard vegetarian burger, and you really can’t see or taste any difference. And the garnish – lettuce, tomato and onion – plus ketchup and mustard make them very tasty. However, if you really want a spectacular creepy-crawly dining experience with insects, China is probably the best place to be.
Insect nuggets and mealworm sandwiches are also on sale at the sports building, besides the insect burgers. Gaby Dijkstra, marketing and communications manager at Erasmus Sport, says it’s supposed to be a publicity stunt for the time being, although it might well be added to the menu on a permanent basis if the ‘insect food’ turns out to be tremendously popular. MvS
Price per burger (including chips): €3.50