Tarantula cocktail at the Langham London – yes, an actual tarantula

It’s a Scorpion & Oven Baked Tarantula Tea Punch, to be exact. Happy Halloween, right?

Actually, it has nothing to do with Halloween. This unprecedentedly creepy cocktail is the result of the Courvoisier Spirit of Punch Masters competition this year, and was created by the Langham Hotel‘s very own Francesco Orefici and Alex Kratena. They decided to infuse the cognac with a real tarantula and scorpion. They won.

From their creepy recipe:

“Tarantula is baked in primitive fire heated oven. It is traditional and delicious snack, which if infused in spirits gives nice smoky, woody and tobacco notes. Scorpion, according to old legends, is known for healing properties as well as stimulating ones libido.”

This is starting to sound pretty good. They combine 50mL of the VSOP cognac infused with tarantula and scorpion with …

  • 25ml Poire William eaux de vie
  • 25ml Velvet Falernum
  • 25ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 dash Regans Orange bitters no.6
  • 50ml Sencha tea
  • 3 pcs allspice
  • 3 tbspoon Mandarin peel infused sugar

… and serve it to you like it’s totally normal. Who knew tarantulas and scorpions created tobacco notes? What are these creepy-crawlies up to on their breaks?

[Photo by mikebaird via Flickr.]

8 great bug-eating videos from around the world

There’s nothing better than having new and exciting experiences while traveling the globe. But, are you gutsy enough to try eating delectable delicacies such as grasshoppers, cockroaches, and gigantic worms?

Me neither … but these eight people are.

Giant Chinese Cockroach – Thailand

This cockroach is so big, I’m surprised they didn’t sell it by the pound.

Fresh Weevil Grubs – Amazon Jungle

Bear Grylls stars in this “Man vs Fresh Weevil Grub” clip. Oops, sorry for the squishy bits. Hope you didn’t get squirted.

Large Crunchy Cockroaches – Thailand

These guys went looking for the “Bug Carts” in Bangkok. I’m not sure that’d be my first stop.

Scorpions – China

“Kinda like eating an eyebrow,” he says. This guy eats four of them!

Giant Mangrove Worms – Philippines

Giant worms pulled from trees… and I mean GIANT. Could you eat the whole thing?

Deep Fried Tarantula – Cambodia

“Eat your heart out.” Looks kinda chewy if you ask me.

Giant Waterbug – Thailand

This poor guy had no idea what he was in for. Is he crying? There’s no crying in bug-eating!

Grasshoppers – Thailand

Thai Lady: “It’s crunchy.”
Director: “Like potato chips.”
Thai Lady: “Yeah. Kind of.”
Director: “$15 bucks and you got a whole meal here.”

Enough said.

British Airways plane grounded after tarantula sighting

A London bound plane was grounded in Edinburgh after a passenger spotted a tarantula walking through the cabin.

The plane was filled with 100 passengers, and the sighting forced BA staff to evacuate the plane. An exterminator was flown in from London Gatwick, but the spider was nowhere to be found.

Eventually, the plane was flown back to London without any passengers. According to a British Airways spokesperson, if the spider is still on the plane, they’d need to pull the whole thing apart in order to find it. Surprisingly, this would be the second time in a week that a British plane was involved in a lost item that required things to be torn apart.

Personally, I hate spiders, and I’d gladly leave the plane if someone thought they spotted a tarantula. Tarantula bites won’t kill you, but they will cause several days of pain, something I’m no big fan of either.

Tarantulas are found all over the world, but British Airways staff are baffled how the spider made its way onto a domestic UK plane. Sadly, since passengers regularly try and smuggle all kinds of items on their flight, it could have been something as “innocent” as someone trying to bring their pet on a trip.

Cultural Delicacies: Tarantula

When opportunity knocks, you have to take it. That’s what happened when I was standing in the shade of a bus stop on my way from Laos to Cambodia two years ago. Stretching my limbs, I looked over my shoulder, and a Khmer lady with a sun hat had a huge plate of what appeared to be big, black, fried spiders for sale to eat.

“What is that?” I asked the lady.

“Tarantula,” she said in nearly perfect English.

I had heard of Cambodian people eating insects like grasshoppers and ants before, but never had I encountered a delicacy like this one. Nor do I understand how the lady came across so many tarantulas (at least 100! do they raise them in cages?) and thought to kill and fry each and every one of them. Regardless, my “Survivor: Gross Foods” mode kicked into high gear, I purchased a fried spider and crunched it down.

Fried tarantula tastes just like a crispy potato chip. There’s nothing spidery about it. In fact, it’s not just a delicacy in Cambodia. According to Wikipedia, tribes deep in the Amazons of South America eat them too. I have seen a BBC program on the preparation of fried tarantula, and it appears they can be undercooked and you have to removed their teeth sometimes. Aside from this, though, eating fried tarantula is a harmless and unique cultural experience! I hope you have a chance in your lifetime to try it!

GADLING’S TAKE FIVE: Week of November 5

It’s weekly recap time. Grab a P&J sandwich, chill out, read and relax.

5. Finally! A Cool Looking Sleep Mask:
Personally, sleeping masks cramp my style and bug the heck out of my eyes. However, I know there are many who enjoy keeping unwanted light from their lids as they rest and for you I direct you back to this potential travel gear or stocking stuffer you might wish to get for yourself or someone you know.

4. Moscow: Now Open 24 Hours:
Those who dislike the idea of city shops closing at early hours and lack of nightlife in big areas can leap with joy to learn that Moscow is changing things up these days. No more retreating to your hotel room at 9 PM for drinks. They are bending the curfew it seems so you can stay out late.

3. Forget Flying for Cheap: Have Them Pay You to Fly:
Get paid to fly? Is this too good to be true? Maybe. Maybe not. You decide.

2. Spider Pepper:

Sadly this isn’t a recipe for making black pepper from tarantula, but it does provide some interesting info on how spiders and peppers defend themselves in sort of the same way.

1. The Real Borat?:
Borat, Borat, Borat… It seems this Borat stuff is all I’m hearing about and I still haven’t gotten in theaters to see the flick. In any case there are mixed emotions about the comedian, especially from Mahir Cagri who seems to be completely sure that he was the inspiration for Borat. He had been doing similar comedy acts in Turkey before Sascha Baron Cohen came along. Who knows?