Saturday, February 24, 2018

Bugs buffet


Mark Fraser

Anxious pedestrians bolstered their courage and came out in their numbers for Rentokil’s first ever pop-up “Pestaurant” in Trinidad yesterday.

The strains of Ronnie McIntosh’s soca song “Too much of biting insects” boomed through speakers on Brian Lara Promenade in Port of Spain and set the tone as long lines could be seen stretching towards the Diego Martin taxi stand.

The crowd did not have to fear being bitten by insects since they were the ones on the menu. Like a scene from the popular US reality show, Fear Factor, Rentokil served up barbecued meal worms, roasted crickets; chocolate-covered ants, roasted locusts, scorpion lollipops and more. Despite a number of popular fast food outlets located in the vicinity many pedestrians still made their way during their lunch hour to try the exotic menu.

Pestaurant is part of a one-day global event taking place in 14 countries, including Trinidad and Tobago. The event started at 11 a.m. but there were people already lined up as early as 10.30 a.m. While some people came to revel in the new experience others had to be talked into it by friends.

“I want to look first and then I will decide if I want to try anything,” said Mukesh Ramkilawan, who stood in line waiting to try edible insects.

“I felt this would be a great experience that’s why I came out today. I’m really looking forward to the scorpion lollipops,” said Sasha Bachan.

Caribbean Business Development manager Shadia Khell said, “We know it would come as a shock to Trinidadians and many may not want to try it. However, we are pleased with the response. Pestaurant is here to raise awareness of common pest issues. We have a number of Rentokil experts on-hand to discuss the food being served; answer any pest-related questions from members of the public and pass on their - top tips: for avoiding pest problems.”

Khell noted that all the insects come from a specialty food store in the United States, fully prepared and packaged.

“We are not advocating people to include this in their diet but we see it as an innovative way to get people to start talking about their pest concerns and highlight common pest problems,” she said.

The first Pestaurant started last year in the United Kingdom. To celebrate its heritage and over 85 years in pest control, Rentokil unveiled the world’s first pop-up ‘Pestaurant’ at One New Change in London, serving Londoners with Sweet Chilli Pigeon burgers, along with a range of sweet and savoury edible insects.

Shortly thereafter, the UK branch threw down the challenge to its respective branches across the globe.

Khell noted that there is a possibility that it can become an annual event. The event ended at 2 p.m.