“100 percent real bugs,” the ad reads. Eating an insect, a crab or a shrimp encased in candy may sound disgusting to most, but the “bug lollipop” has proven to be quite a hit on Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao.

Photo: Taobao screenshot.

For only 15 yuan (HK$18), customers can choose among grasshoppers, scorpions, bamboo worms, ants, crabs and shrimps to go with their lollipops.

The transparent rectangular candy comes complete with colourful packaging too – a dotted bow tie and a case.

Photo: Taobao screenshot.

For those who are still unconvinced, the product description highlighted in red reassures shoppers as to why these animals are safe and delicious to eat.

The bug lollipop sells for 15 RMB. Photo: Taobao screenshot.

“Scorpions are carefully chosen and fried. Bamboo worms need little explanation, they were featured in the ‘A Bite of China’ documentary, delicious and nutritious,” the description reads. “The ants are edible ones taken from Changbai Mountain, the shrimps come from little creeks in steep mountains, and the crabs are deep-sea crabs.”

Photo: Taobao screenshot.

The manufacturer in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province has closed over 1,300 deals on the bug lollipop, with more than 400 buyers leaving a comment.

The bug lollipop comes with nice wrapping. Photo: Taobao screenshot.

If The Economist is to be believed, eating bugs makes perfect sense.

Most of the customers indeed approved of the niche product, saying it is quite a decent gift for Halloween, Singles’ Day and Valentine’s Day.

“The packaging is so exquisite,” one said.

“Too perfect, me and my friends love the taste, especially the scorpion,” wrote another.

International shoppers need not miss out. Insect lollipops are also available on Amazon.


Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.