It's hard to feel sympathy for a cockroach. Watching a Madagascar roach hiss nervously and then plop into a small vat of hot oil seems like a fitting end for such a pest. But this whole show is about treats, not torture. Get up the gumption to pop one of the cooked critters in your mouth, and you won't regret it.
The fried cockroach, which had been on two-week water-only diet to cleanse its system, tastes like popcorn butter with a pleasant, pulpy texture. If cockroach hors d'oeuvres aren't your thing, maybe you'd like super worm shots, sheep's heart bruschetta or boar bacon hush puppies. Chefs Lanny and David Chin, better known as the Food Warriors, presented just such a buffet at Fearless, their first extreme food event at the Velvet Dog in June. Ninety adventurous eaters enjoyed the offerings.
For Lanny Chin, bizarre food is nothing new. The grandson of a Chinese immigrant, Chin would regularly eat duck with the head attached. He was inspired to create Fearless first by the popularity of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations television show and then by attending a Cleveland food science event featuring poached ice cream. "Our big goal is to try and open up people's eyes. Just because we don't eat cockroaches every day doesn't mean it's a bad thing to eat," says Chin, of the low-fat, high-protein treat.
The Food Warriors will showcase a new round of creepy eats on Aug. 16 at the Velvet Dog. Sea urchin, the live pièce de résistance, will accompany bear and possibly alligator or crocodile. Gird your stomach.