It doesn’t look like any food I’ve eaten before, but the Huhu grub is a traditional Maori delicacy, so I had to give it a go:
Despite my reaction, it pretty much tasted like nothing at all. The texture was off-putting but only because it was unlike anything I’ve eaten before.
And it made me wonder about why we like some food and not others. It turns our that all of our flavour preferences are learned. When we eat a new food and then find that it was full of nutrients, we remember the flavour as being an enjoyable one. And, since these grubs are so super high in fat and protein, it is little wonder that Maori thought of them as delicious. This adaptation is much more useful than hard wired flavour preferences because it allows us to exploit foods in any new environment that we find ourselves in.
The flip side is that if you eat a new food on the same day that you fall sick from something else, you will likely develop an aversion to that flavour, falsely believing that the food was the culprit.
I had to try the grubs raw, because that is the traditional way, but I also heard they were good fried (what isn’t). They have enough of their own oils that you don’t need to add any to cook them. I passed them around the office and everyone who had one thought it was great – just like peanut butter.