Review: ‘Bugs’

Good grub!

3 mins read

(Denmark/Netherlands/France/Germany, 73 min.)
Dir. Andreas Johnsen


How many of you would consider eating the following for dinner: stingless bees, earthworms, black soldier flies, June beetles, silkworms, mopane caterpillars, cheese fly larva, waxworms, cockroaches, locusts, wasps, termites, crickets, grasshoppers, Asian giant hornets, palm weevils, giant water bugs and red wood ants?

Welcome to the future.

In Bugs, a funny and thought provoking Danish documentary, we follow chef Ben Reade, food researcher Josh Evans and producer (and now culinary expert) Roberto Flore as they travel around the world finding the best new insects for us to eat. That’s right. Insects—the last frontier.

Billed as “A Gastronomic Adventure with Nordic Food Lab,” Bugs comes out of the forward-thinking chef behind the famous Danish restaurant Noma, Rene Redzepi. It’s the profits from Noma that fund the lab, which is billed as matching food with science. Over the course of the film, the trio of Reade, Evans and Flore go from Kenya and Uganda to Italy, Mexico, Japan and Australia in their quest to find the tastiest and most nutritious insects.

Part of the fun of the film is watching the three young men try to out-do each other in their search for the perfect insect. They dig through a hill covered with termites to find the delicious queen, a delicacy. In Uganda, they devour honey from very odd-looking stingless bees. The trio shout out their love for insects, going on about the exquisite tastes of the strange food they’re eating.

Behind the humour is the very real situation that the Nordic Film Lab is trying to address. The UN has already recommended that people should consume edible insects in order to combat world hunger. If more people eat insects, there will be little ecological concern because its impact on the planet is minimal. And the nutritional content in insects is considerable.

So what’s the problem? We know what it is; many people are repulsed by insects. What Noma and the Nordic Film Lab intends to do is brilliant. They want to change our perceptions of insects as unsavoury creatures. By finding interesting bugs from around the world, the chefs and researchers hope to create meals that culinary experts—and gradually the public—can embrace.

Bugs is a film well worth watching.


Marc Glassman is the editor of POV Magazine and contributes film reviews to Classical FM. He is an adjunct professor at Toronto Metropolitan University and is the treasurer of the Toronto Film Critics Association.

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