Boiled, baked or dried lobsters? Kuwait serves a swarm

CITY OF KUWAIT: Some people like baked goods, others prefer them dry. They are surprisingly nutritious and many consider them a delicacy in Kuwait, but not everyone is in love with the crunchy culinary offer.

I love its taste, it is one of my childhood memories and it reminds me of my grandparents and my father, said enthusiastically Moudi al-Miftah, a 64-year-old journalist who writes a weekly column in a newspaper.

Miftah waits for winter every year to stock up on lobsters, which she cooks herself, preferably for the crunchy.

In his kitchen, he poured a bag of insects into a boiling broth where they quickly turned red, filling his kitchen with a scent similar to lamb stew.

After simmering for half an hour, the lobsters are ready to eat, but they can be baked to obtain an additional crunch or dried so that they can be enjoyed throughout the year.

But most of Miftah's loved ones stopped eating insects a long time ago.

Lobster consumption is declining, particularly among the younger generation, many of whom are disgusted by the prospect.

Ali Saad, a man in his twenties who was buying groceries, felt visibly repelled by the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčeating insects.

I never thought about eating lobsters, he said. Why would an insect eat when we have all kinds of red and white meats?

Lobsters are consumed in many parts of the world and are a staple of some kitchens. Experts say they are an excellent source of energy efficient protein.

In Kuwait, they retain a solid fan base among older citizens.

The first shipments, imported from Saudi Arabia, arrive in the markets in January, transported in distinctive red bags weighing 250 grams (nine ounces).

They are stored next to the white truffles of the desert, another delicacy sought by the Kuwaitis in winter in the Al-Rai market located in an industrial area in the northwest of.

Abou Mohammed, 63, is originally from Ahvaz in Iran and normally sells fish in the market.

But when the season comes, he becomes a lobster and truffle seller.

Lobsters are caught during winter nights (when they are not flying) and we import them from Saudi Arabia, he said.

He described the insects as a shrimp and was excited that the meat is very tasty, especially the females that are full of eggs.

The largest females are known as el-Mekn in the Kuwaiti dialect, while the smallest males are called Asfour.

He says he sells almost a dozen bags a day for between three and five Kuwaiti dinars ($ 8 and $ 16) each.

I sell about 500 bags during the season, which is from January to April, he said.

Mohammed al-Awadi, a 70-year-old Kuwaiti, has delivered lobsters to retailers for many years and keeps a useful supply of dried insects in his snack pocket.

Nicknamed the king of the market, the seller demonstrated how to eat the insect: eating a first lobster, then another and another.

It is the best dish. I'm full, so I don't need lunch today, he said.

The drier they are, the better. My father always had a supply in his pocket.

The authorities have sought in vain to ban the consumption of lobsters for fear that they may become contaminated.

Lobsters can multiply rapidly and form swarms that damage crops, forcing some countries to fight them with pesticides.

Adel Tariji put his stock of two black bags next to his vehicle and potential customers stopped by him to examine his products and haggle prices.

Tariji, who has sold lobsters since he was 18, said that despite the reluctance of some, he had seen flashes of interest from younger buyers worried about health.

They are more willing to pay higher prices because they are convinced of the benefits of eating all-natural products, he said.

Some people are even accumulating stocks for next year for fear that there will be no lobsters next season.