Long Time No See
Long Time No See is a Northern Chinese restaurant skewering up meats, veggies, and insects. Yes, the creepy crawly kind.
Sitting in an old Chinatown building that has played host to a number of food endeavours over the years, this BBQ restaurant keeps it stylishly gruny with red metal caging separating it from outside and the rest of the mall.
The restaurant is otherwise modern. The scent of cumin comes wafting out of the kitchen in plumes, and the menu is massive: there are scores of items, from oysters to chicken wings, waiting to be ordered a la carte, BBQ'd, and sprinkled in spices.
But of the many uncommon and daredevilish options like beef tongues or lamb kidneys, the menu's bug section easily takes the cake as the most Fear Factory-worthy experience.
There are four types of bugs offered here, which are somewhat common at some restaurants in Northern China.
A bowl of deep fried silkworm pupae ($17.99) served in a pricey bowl of roasted peanuts is probably the best way to ease in.
Optically, they're about the same size as the peanuts, which helps — plus they're actually delicious, I promise.
Whatever 'buggy' tastes like, this isn't it: these juicy baby silkworm have been fried to oblivion and coated with enough cumin, salt, and peppery spices to hide any remaining essence of the fledgling creature it once was.
The grilled grasshoppers kabob ($7.99) offers up a skewer of three shrivelled jumpers, and again, pretty easy to swallow.
They've got a lot of crunch, and take well to the spice mix. Like any skewer dishes, you can keep them warm on the candle-heated grill.
The cicadas (latin name: cryptotympana) weren't available, but the large silkworm pupae ($7.99) were, to the intense distress of some at our table.
These chunky bugs, which come skewered in threes, were visually and texturally the weirdest to eat. I can only compare it to eating a cooked shrimp with the shell on: crispy on the outside, slightly creamy on the inside.
It's definitely not for everyone: I ate them no problem while they induced nausea for others at the table. Keep a can of Jia Duo Bao herbal tea on hand just in case, or just order some regular sausage skewers instead.
If you don't feel like pushing your palate to the next level, an order of juicy grilled bacon wrapped around enoki mushrooms ($5.99) is a must.
There's also a decadent cattle bone marrow ($7.99), served with a skewered piece of toast with the crusts cut off.
Ten pieces of grilled razor fish ($12.99), also known as spoot, come topped with garlic and chilli.
Likely the safest dish you can find is the grilled corn with cheese ($5.99), which will feel incredibly tame after eating crispy insects all night.