A stink bug, known for eating the flower buds of popular fruits in South China"s Lingnan, has recently become an expensive delicacy in Guangdong province - a province long known for its delicious Cantonese fare.
The bug is mainly found on the litchi and longan trees in Guangdong. Locals find the bug dish a novelty, not only for its fragrance and crispiness, but also because they dare to eat something that has never been tried before.
The litchi stink bugs can now cost up to 900 yuan ($134) a kilogram in many local farm restaurants in the cities of Guangzhou, Dongguan and Shenzhen - areas which are major production bases of litchi and longan.
Dai Dongnian, who runs a litchi orchard in Houjie township, Dongguan, said many local farm restaurant owners will usually ask him to help them catch the stink bugs when his litchi trees begin to bloom every year.
"This year, the prices for the stink bugs have become a bit higher compared with previous years, as the litchi trees produce relatively few flowers due to frequent rainfall in the last few months. And that has caused fewer litchi stink bugs to be caught this year," Dai told local media.
Dai also said the litchi stink bugs used to cost between 600 and 800 yuan per kg in previous years.
The litchi stink bugs can be cooked as a dish that goes with liquor, but the duration to enjoy this dish usually lasts no more than a month.
"The special dish will be off the menus in local farm restaurants when farmers have sprayed pesticide on litchi trees to ensure their fruit harvest," said Dai, who is in his 50s.
Many other litchi and longan growers have also caught the stink bugs to earn some extra money before spraying pesticide on the trees to prevent more stink bugs from infesting their trees.
The yellow-brown bugs, which are the size of a thumb, mainly rely on eating the flower buds of litchis and longans. Serious attacks on the trees by the stink bugs would result in the trees failing to fruit.
According to a farm restaurant owner in Guangzhou"s Huangpu district, the litchi stink bug dish can attract a certain number of diners every year when local litchi trees begin to bloom.
"Fried litchi stink bugs, seasoned with salt and pepper, is often a major dish to lure diners during the season, as it tastes crispy and delicious when the stink bugs have been fried in oil," said the owner who declined to be named.
Litchi stink bugs can also be used to make a soup with pork and some Chinese herbs.
In addition to its delicious taste, the litchi stink bug can be used as nourishment for vitality.
"It is said the litchi stink bug used in cooking is particularly effective to improve impotence and children"s frequent urination conditions," the owner added.images of rubber band braceletssiliconeband cabuy rubber wristbandsrubber wristbands for eventspersonalized heart bracelet