The long UV tubes buzzed, sending out a purple fog that pierced the night. Roaches lifted themselves from grasses and trash piles. They roared softly, hovering toward the light, toward the delicious signal. In Asia, roaches are often the size of birds, sometimes bigger. When you hear them coming, your hands go over your face. The roaches rammed the erotic light. Their little heads clanked, like little pebbles tossed at a window. Again and again, they tried to merge, to be one with the light. Something stopped them. Something was in their way. Roaches being the rational beings we know they are, they tried even harder.
Concussions affect brains both big and small. The little boys smiled and jumped with joy, their arms dancing in the air, as unconscious roaches tumbled into the blue, water filled, bucket. The children watched, their eyes like saucers, as the roaches struggled to swim, and fought with each other to stay above the water. Once they were in the buckets, none escaped. The boys trembled with excitement as they scooped out handfuls of their catch and imagined frying them up. They licked their lips.
She lit up the coal and I watch her fry the roaches. It was not as demented and sickening as I thought it would be. She spooned their cool, limp bodies from the water and tossed them into the wok. They cracked and sizzled in the palm oil. The oil seeped through their shells and fried their insides. They didn’t struggle, they were already dead, drowned long ago. The roaches fried deep and long in the molten oil. The smell, like frying hamburgers, perfumed the air. Their legs and antenna chipped off and floated to the surface. “They get stuck in your teeth,” she told me as she scooped them into the trash.
She tonged out the deep fried roaches and let the oil drip from their corpses. Next she layered them with a spicy peanut paste. She tossed one in her mouth, rolling it around and sucking in air to cool it off. Her molars crunched, snapping its shell and mashing its innards. She chewed for several bites. It sounded like potato chips.
“They’re good, want to try,” she asked.
I shuddered, maybe tomorrow I answered, hopping I could avoid the experience all together. The thought of eating a breakfast full of roaches filled my mind. At least they would mix it with rice I thought, trying to console myself.
Enjoy learning about this tasty snack? Would you take a bite?