Dunedin restaurant serves up locusts

A delicious locust meal. (Dave Goosselink/Newshub.)
A delicious locust meal. (Dave Goosselink/Newshub.)

Struggling with ideas for dinner tonight? A Dunedin restaurant has got a new menu option that's sure to tickle your taste buds.

They're serving locusts and there's even a choice: live or deep fried. It's a dish full of life that's sure to have southern diners bugging out.

Dunedin's Vault 21 restaurant has been certified to serve insects and they're one of the first in the country to include the creepy critters on their regular menu.

Chefs say locusts are very healthy, full of omega oils and other nutrients.

"They're full of protein. And I believe they're an aphrodisiac as well. So it'll be great for business!" says Greg Piner, the executive chef of Vault 21.

The idea came from local bug man Malcolm Diack, who's been breeding locusts to feed frogs and lizards for years.

"Most people who eat them sort of go, 'Ooh, no no, I don't want to eat it'. And then once they taste it they go, 'Oh that's actually not that bad'. That's not as offensive as they thought it could be. It's quite a tasty flavour," says Mr Diack of Otago Locusts.

The challenge for chefs was coming up with tasty and appealing ways of serving the bugs.

The more adventurous can try a live and wriggling locust, washed down with a shot of tequila. Locust sliders are another option and staff have a taste-testing this week.

"Every now and then I'll ask the kitchen to deep fry quite a few for me. Sit down with a couple of mates, drink a pint of Steiny," says Vault 21 owner Andre Shi.

The test now is whether Dunedin diners have the stomach for a plateful of crushed critters.