Worms, ants and crickets on pestaurant’s menu

As City workers swapped their lunchtime sandwiches for crickets, ants and pigeon burgers, it all got too much for one young boy who vomited after eating a handful of mealworms.

For one day only, pest control service Rentokil set up the world’s first “pop-up pestaurant” in the City of London.

Marking more than 85 years of service, an array of exotic cuisine was on offer, including sweet chilli pigeon burgers, salt and vinegar crickets, barbecue mealworms and chocolate-dipped ants — all of it free to those adventurous enough to try it.

Stan Knight, 9, from north London, may have been too enthusiastic when he scoffed a handful of mealworms which made him vomit — but he claims he enjoyed the culinary experience regardless.

Having eaten about 10 of the yellow worms at once, Stan had to run away from the stall to throw up.

“I don’t know. I liked them. They were really nice. I think it was because I had too much of them in one go. They just felt like normal food.”

Edible insects have recently been identified by a number of different bodies, including the UN Food and& Agriculture Organisation, as a potentially valuable source of food for the world’s rapidly growing population.

Many insects are rich in protein, zinc, calcium and iron while being low in fat.

Pigeons, despite being a nuisance for many city-dwellers, are a well-recognised delicacy, and wood pigeon can be found on Michelin-starred menus across the world.

Tim Guest, 40, from London, also tucked into the mealworms, but he was able to keep the “slightly slimy” nibbles down.

“They’re not exactly very nice to the touch. It feels wrong on a fundamental level. It’s like a pocket of air with spice on top. It’s like a crisp you’d get in the supermarket really.

“I don’t really see why anybody wouldn’t eat them. I think it’s just the concept really, rather than what they actually taste like. I think they taste fine.”

Despite believing they were just like crisps, he said: “I wouldn’t go and grab a handful from the wild and shove them in my mouth.”

David Cross, head of technical training academy at Rentokil, said: “The Pestaurant is all about celebrating the hard work that goes into keeping the UK’s pests under control.

“Common UK pests like wasps, mice, rats, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas and pigeons, can become a problem for anyone, and can affect both commercial and residential properties.

“Much like the rest of us, they are focused on looking for food and shelter. Once they find a good supply of food and an environment where they feel safe, then they will happily set up home indefinitely.

“The Pestaurant is here to raise awareness of common pest issues and demonstrates our commitment to keeping up the heat on Britain’s pests.”

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