Hop to it: Kitchener restaurant to serve crickets in name of sustainability
Crickets will soon be on the menu at a Kitchener restaurant.
“We wanted to make a dish that’s thoughtful and delicious,” said Thompson Tran, owner of the Wooden Boat Food Company.
Tran’s Hopping Wok Sticky Rice includes Ontario-grown crickets. The dish will be offered on the menu at Wooden Boat’s “ghost kitchen” on Hurst Avenue, which specializes in Vietnamese sauces and all-natural food products.
“They’re 100 per cent sustainable, high protein,” said Tran. “Hundreds of millions of people around the world already eat [crickets] in their daily diet.”
Wooden Boat uses ingredients mainly sourced from local farmers and pasteurized meats. Beef products are left off the menu because of their carbon footprint and Tran cooks with Ocean Wise recommended products.
Even the restaurant’s décor is made from upcycled or recycled materials.
“I think if we tried to do this 20 years ago, it probably wouldn’t have worked because of the power of social media, the power to share knowledge and just people really sharing,” said Tran.
The kitchen is also free from plastic wrap, aluminum and parchment paper.
“I think the sustainability movement is a movement to stay,” said Tran. “I believe people can make small changes in their [lives] to make sure they contribute to positive growth in the area.”
According to Tran, “almost zero” food waste is produced because everything is composted: orders are served in compostable containers and customers are encouraged to bring their own containers (BYOC).
“Our planet needs it,” said Tran. “We’re at a crossroads now. Before you know it, we’re going to be in a real dire situation. So it’s now or never, I think.”
Tran’s family moved from Vancouver, B.C. to Kitchener to be closer to his wife’s family.
“We had already been selling our sauce out west and we decided, let’s increase, let’s go to another part of the country that I haven’t lived in and explore,” said Tran. “Now that I’ve been here, it’s been an absolute amazing opportunity.”
Wooden Boat also runs Mekong Brasserie at Village Biergarten in St. Jacobs, in collaboration with Block Three Brewing, and another project is in the works.
“We’ll be aiming high … super high,”he hints.
You can watch Thompson Tran make Hopping Wok Sticky Rice on CTV News at 5 on Tuesday June 18.