Insect Candy

Status: Real
image Paul Farrington emailed me with a question about the HOTLIX Insect Candy Company: "The site looks real, the products look real, there are no obvious giveaways except the sheer unbelievable grotesqueness of the very concept! What’s your take?" Well, my take is that the insect candy is definitely real, though I've never ordered any of it and submitted it to an entomologist for confirmation. (Nor do I plan to.) But there's no reason to believe the candy wouldn't be real. After all, insects are eaten in many cultures. It's only Westerners who are squeamish about eating them. A recent article in the Smithsonian's Zoogoer magazine discusses insects as food, pointing out that honey is nothing more than "bee vomit," and even notes the existence of the HOTLIX Insect Candy Company:

Although people worldwide have been enjoying edible insects since ancient times, their value—in terms of both nutrition and conservation—is often overlooked by the modern Western world...
An estimated 2,000 insect species are consumed around the world, and people do not just eat insects, they relish them as delicacies. In Africa, caterpillars and winged termites are fried and eaten as roadside snacks (after wings, legs, and bristles are removed, of course), and often considered tastier than meat. Grasshoppers and bee larvae seasoned with soy sauce are favorites in Japan, where pricey canned insects are also available. Papua New Guinea is known for its nutty-flavored sago grubs (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus papuanus or R. bilineatus), beetle larvae that inhabit dead sago palm trees and are honored at annual festivals...
Specialty food shops in Europe have started to sell insects imported from Africa. Even a U.S. company, Hotlix, sells various lollipops with embedded insects, chocolate-covered cockroaches, grubs, slugs, and grasshoppers, and mealworms in barbeque, cheddar cheese, and Mexican flavors.


Posted on Tue Jan 24, 2006


I remember having fried mealworms in the souvenir shop at the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, and I THINK I've seen these sort of lolipops as well.

And FYI, the worms left a rather odd aftertaste when eaten in a bunch, but eaten individually they give very little flavor.
Posted by Sam  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  12:44 AM
You get these in a lot of more 'trying-to-be-shocking' shops over here. I've never tried one, though, as I refuse to pay
Posted by Boo  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  02:35 AM
Hotlix are undeniably real. I have personally seen them for sale in stores across America.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  03:00 AM
I've seen them to, mostly in convenience stores. They did help me pull a pretty good joke on a female coworker.

Hotlix Larvets (cheddar cheese or mexican spice flavors) are also pretty good on salads. Healthier for you than crutons.
Posted by Craig  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  05:23 AM
yup, they are real. When I lived in NYC they had them all over the place, from those novelty gift type stores (which had a huge selection of them) to the korean bodegas(which mostly just sold the tequila lollys with the worm)

I've eaten chocolate covered ants, which was kind of like a more subtle nestle crunch bar, and also chocolate covered grasshoppers. I prefered the ants, although neither was particularly disgusting. They were not hotlix brand however, as this was back in the 80's. I'm going to hesitantly say that the ants at least were purchased from Macy's Cellar at the time, but I'm not 100% sure about that.
Posted by MadCarlotta  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  06:51 AM
A friend of mine said something about eating insect candy on a trip to Toronto, and I have no reason to doubt her. Chocolate covered ants are very popular, and so are grasshoppers.
Posted by Dracul  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  07:40 AM
You can buy their complete range in Selfridge's - of all places! The closest I have ever come to trying any of them is the worm in the tequila bottle, though.
Posted by John  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  10:28 AM
I bought one of these a while ago, with a cricket in it. In that one, at least, the insect was real. It was indeed rather over-priced, though; you can get better tasting candies for less money, and crickets of course you can find for free.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  11:42 AM
I've actually had one of the white chocolate-covered scorpions before. These things are totally real.

And quite tasty too (the scorpion I had I've not been able to find again but had the texture of dry popcorn).
Posted by Alex  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  12:59 PM
Is'nt there a restaurant in england called eddible that does this kinda thing?

I once saw a cricket candy in the Vancouver Aquairium. I checked the ingredients to make sure that it was a cricket, and indeed there was a real cricket in the ingredients list.
Posted by Lady Hedoniste  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  01:31 PM
But scorpions aren't insects, right?
Posted by Joe  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  01:47 PM
They were selling these at the Victoria and Albert museum in London during the aztec exhibition last year.
Mate of mine actually ate one, and apparently had a hell of a job getting the legs from between his teeth.
Posted by Rob K  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  02:27 PM
Restaurant named Edible... indeed there is, or at least was.

"Items on the menu include beer-battered insects, Kentucky fried bullfrog with gumbo gravy and Piranha fish and chips."

The website while not mentioning the restaurant lets you order all the insect sweeties your heart desires.

Posted by Peter  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  02:28 PM
This is a good time to remember that everyone's favorite drink (alchohol) is.... yeast urine!

Brings a new clarity to the phrase pissed drunk.
Posted by Todd  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  04:34 PM
But hey, now that I have looked one the edible website, I have just remembered that we South Africans eat Mopane Worms. That site also mentions mind altering mint. Interesting.
Posted by Lady Hedoniste  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  06:31 PM
But the best sounding thing that can be eaten at edible is Gold Jelly and Champagne with pearl dust in it.
Posted by Lady Hedoniste  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  07:14 PM
I've seen the suckers and lil cheese worm things around.. they do remove the scorpion stingers, yeah?b
Posted by Jenny  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  08:15 PM
A few years back when Fear Factor was just getting big, Coldstone did an in store promotion where if you ate a chocolate covered cricket you would get a free ice cream. I had free ice creams for like a month. They really weren't that bad, just chocolate but a bit crunchier.
Posted by Razela  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  10:06 PM
Oh they're real. I most definitely had a sucker with a cricket inside one time.
Posted by Jordan  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  11:21 PM
They're real; I've eaten them!
Posted by Susan  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  03:37 AM
I've not eaten them but i've seen them being sold in arse-shops like "The Gadget Shop" etc. Like Acci said, you can pick up insects for free (If ou like eating that sort of thing) and sweets usually cost a lot less than these!
Posted by Mort  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  04:36 AM
Mort, I was being polite but not saying something like that!
Posted by Boo  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  04:46 AM
These are definitely real; I've seen them. I haven't tried eating one, though. I would guess that scorpions taste a lot like crickets, which I didn't like much the one time I tried them.

I know I would disappoint some of you if I failed to point out that scorpions and slugs are not insects. Scorpions are arachnids and slugs are shell-less mollusks. Grubs, caterpillars, and mealworms are, however, insects in larval form.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  12:01 PM
I bought a whole dozen of these for my brothers and sister for Halloween one year. they're not bad at all. It's a little weird licking away at candy, then suddenly scraping across bug leg.
Posted by Maegan  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  08:58 PM
I've got one. I'm not going to eat it though!
Posted by Ian  on  Fri Jan 27, 2006  at  08:38 PM
I've eaten the catipillar and worm ones.
They're real.
Posted by Angie  on  Sat Jan 28, 2006  at  10:28 PM
does anyone know of a restaurant in london that serves insects (among other things) as the food?
ant bolognaise etc?
i thought i had heard of one but can't find it so far??..
Posted by becca  on  Mon Feb 06, 2006  at  11:16 AM
Not sure if anyone answered Joe but on the note of Scorpions being insects: Scorpions are actually arachnids. Just like spiders. Therefore, since so many people just compile insects, bugs, and whatnot into one big category, you could indeed say a scorpion was an insect.
Posted by Natasha  on  Thu Feb 16, 2006  at  10:34 PM
Yeah this is real - you can buy these things in the Selfridges Foodhall in Birmingham in the UK. I didn't buy the scorpion in a lollipop but I did buy the chocolate covered ants. They were ok.
Posted by Alex  on  Mon Mar 06, 2006  at  02:41 PM
They're real, I've eaten them. They actually taste pretty good, as gross as that sounds.
Posted by Meerkat  on  Sun Jul 30, 2006  at  12:17 PM
any1 ever had choclate covered roaches ? or choc mice tastee!!! that stuffs da bomb a store here in suzab had this promo where you eat this choclate dung beetle it waz really tastee though i kno it sounds discusting but...try it SEE 4 YOURSELF cheers from suzab
Posted by star flex master12  on  Tue Aug 22, 2006  at  08:16 PM
Posted by .  on  Tue Sep 25, 2007  at  05:59 AM
I simply can't understand why people find eating bugs so gross. I have eaten crickets, scorpions, and silkworms, including many others. They taste just like seafood!
Posted by Thomas Cali  on  Sat Sep 29, 2007  at  04:37 PM
This is a cool one to!
Posted by Mack  on  Sat Feb 23, 2008  at  07:49 AM
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