Water Bug

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water bug

Mang Da   แมงดา

The Thai water bugs are about 3 inches long, and look much like a big big version of its North American buddy. The water bugs live in the rice fields and farmers catch them at night by using a light to lure the bugs into a net.

The scent of the bug is important in Thai cuisine, especially in nam prig or chili sauce type of dishes. The wings and head are removed, and the rest of the body, including the legs, are eaten.

Water bugs are very difficult to find at Oriental markets. So far, I can only locate them at a few markets in California. However, the artificial scent is a lot easier to find. It comes in a tiny jar with a dropper wrapped in a tiny box that says "Mangdana essence".

A few words on How to Speak Thai: Mangda has two meanings. One refers to a water bug. The other refers to a pimp!

Recipes made with water bug

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