Penn Valley, CA — According to reports from Penn Valley Drive, a popular Chinese food eatery began offering insect-infested dishes this week. The most popular ones seems to be baby cockroach soup. Patrons also noted “spectator” insects who did not traverse the food items, but rather just sat on the table waiting to be squished.
As with a similar experiment last June at the now defunct Wonderful 3 in Grass Valley, CA, reactions from the community have been largely negative.
“Look, I had no idea they were doing this with their menu items now,” said Sal Smith of Alta Sierra, a frequent patron. “I think they should list the ingredients on the menu.”
A few patrons doubted whether this was an actual menu offering.
“I mean yuck,” exclaimed Bob Holbart of Penn Valley exiting the restaurant. “These aren’t real menu offerings, there must be an infestation that needs to be investigated by the health department.”
Give the popularity of television shows like the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, people have speculated that the popular restaurant was experimenting and thought its customers were ready for a good dose of Third World style dining. In many parts of the world, people are much less prudish about such things. And in many places, insects are considered a reliably protein source. Many foreigners consider Americans as having a collective case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD.
“Food safety is important,” said Julie Dumond of Nevada City, CA who travels internationally. “But Americans have unreasonable expectations of cleanliness. A lot of it is an ‘out-of-sight-out-of-mind’ thing. Other cultures are just more direct and realistic about such things. Which I think is better.”
As for the Penn Valley insect experiment, people exiting the restaurant would only speculate about the motives.
“Maybe they thought they do one of the weird food shows where people eat weird things like bugs and dirty socks or whatever,” continued Sal Smith. “My wife watches all those damn shows. Anyhow, maybe they were thinking ‘Hey, Andrew Zimmern eats bugs all the time. Perhaps the people of Nevada County want that too?’ I’m thinking they screwed the pooch on that idea.”