Grasshopper Catching at the Linden Centre
With harvest season here, our local friends are excited about more than enjoying the fruits of their six months worth of hard labor. The excitement can be felt every evening when you can see beams of light spiraling around the rice fields as adults and children alike embark on their quests to catch grasshoppers. As much fun as it is to hunt down these quick insects, the locals are not just doing it for amusement. Deep-fried grasshoppers are an extremely popular snack here in Xizhou and grasshoppers can sell for as much as 60RMBper kilo; that’s at least 3 times more than the cost of chicken! Grasshopper season co-aligns with rice harvest season because it is when the rice plants have full grown leaves. These leaves serve both as delicious nutrition for grasshoppers as well as a place to rest when it is dark.
This month, the Linden Centre has been taking out its guests in the evenings to do our own grasshopper catching, a very popular activity with children. We go out equipped with flashlights, empty water bottles and speedy hands under the expert guidance of Ms. Yang, our neighbor across the road. Ms. Yang teaches us where to look for the grasshoppers as well as the importance of removing their wings once we catch them to prevent them from flying away. Once enough grasshoppers have been collected, Ms. Yang helps us boil them before tossing them in scalding hot oil to quickly fry. The result is a savory, crunchy light snack that every one of our guests have been pleasantly surprised by.