The festival was definitely a different experience! We drove over in the morning through some clouds in Arthur's Pass and just as we got to the Westland sign the sun started to come out for us. By the time we got to Hokitika it was sunny and warm. We did a tour of all of the vendors first then headed straight for the Whitebait fritters to coat our stomachs with something real before we got onto the more serious stuff.
Once we had something in our stomachs we decided to be semi-safe at first and had escargot in garlic butter which pleasantly delicious! Then we had some grilled Crocodile and Kangaroo. Crocodile was amazing. They had this spicy rub on it that gave it a lemony kick. It's a white meat, compared the to the darker and richer (and chewier) Kangaroo. That also had a spicy rub on it, but for me the crocodile was the clear winner.
As we built up our courage we went for the scorpion. I can put that one on my checklist and move on. It was cooked in Chili and garlic and when I took a bite (after you remove the hard to digest stinger) the body explodes in your mouth and fills it with this hot chili taste. then it leaves behind the rest of the scorpion for you to chew and chew and chew.
Luke was bold and went for the grasshopper satay next which was basically a piece of bread, peanut sauce and a grasshopper on top (a dead one). He reported that it tasted mostly of the bread and peanut sauce with a little crunch added in.
The live grasshoppers were enough to put me off from that stand for a while! So we moved onto the Huhu grubs. Huhu grubs are a Maori delicacy and up until the moment I took my first bite, I was told they taste just like peanut butter. We shared a pickled one. And it didn't taste like peanut butter. Actually, it wasn't so bad... if you didn't look at the inside once you took a bite! In hindsight it probably would have been better to take it all in one bite because the skin was tough to bite through but I still did it!
One of the last 'wild' foods I tried was back over with the grasshoppers. I had a chocolate covered beetle that would have been fine if there wasn't a beetle underneath the chocolate. The chocolate tasted great. So great in fact that I ate all the chocolate and then realized that underneath it were legs and wings and the rest of a beetle!
Ok so we ate some weird and gross things, but it was so much fun. Even if most of that fun came from seeing Luke's reaction to the weird things he was eating! There was live music and lots of people came dressed up in silly costumes. And now I can say I've eaten bugs (whether or not thats an accomplishment I don't know).