Craving the Crawlies

When Tongchart Nusu, a food distributor in Phitsanulok, Thailand, yanks open the heavy steel door of his cold-storage locker, you get the expected burst of snowy frost—along with a moist, overpowering, rancid stench. Nostrils flaring, Tongchart draws the mist into his lungs, this sweet aroma of hard work, money, success: the odor of bugs.

Tongchart's freezer holds 10 tons of boiled and freeze-dried giant water bugs, dung beetles, grasshoppers and a fine assortment of succulent worms. The 40-year-old former butcher and noodle salesman is president of United Insects of Phitsanulok, and that, he says, makes him the king...

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