Dubai: In Saudi Arabia, a culinary trend is gaining momentum with the emergence of locust-based dishes, notably the innovative and affordable 'locust burger.' With the locust season at its peak, enthusiasts are experimenting with new methods of cooking and preparing these insects at home.
A standout creation is the locust burger, priced at around SR7.50 per meal, which includes burger buns, locusts, onions, ketchup, and other customizable toppings.
Locusts, particularly abundant in regions like Medina and Qassim, are highly favoured for their taste. Despite their popularity, Saudi Arabia currently lacks restaurants specialising in locust cuisine.
Social media trend
Locust lovers often share their experiences of hunting, purchasing (with bags of about 100 locusts selling for 50 riyals), and cooking various locust dishes on social media.
The preparation of locusts involves cooking them alive in water, followed by adding ingredients like onions and oil. Some prefer to pair them with lettuce, while others have innovated the locust burger.
Prominent Saudi social media influencers are actively promoting these dishes. Iyad Al Hamoud, known for his tweets, encourages the consumption of Saudi locust meals, highlighting their value over imported products like the Swiss locust snack flavoured with alpine herbs, which is more expensive at 172 riyals per bag.
Meshal Al Gharib, another content creator, shared a video of a locust vendor, emphasising the absence of pesticides and the natural harvesting methods.
Public opinion in Saudi Arabia on consuming locusts is divided. Some view it as a matter of personal choice or an ancestral tradition, with references to clerics noting that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) consumed locusts.
Others associate it with poverty and view it as unnecessary given the variety of available foods.