Cockroach farming is booming in China as the country looks for new, cheaper medicines for its rapidly ageing population, says Malcolm Moore.
The correct way to eat a cockroach, at least in this corner of northern China, is to fry it not once but twice in a wok of smoking hot oil.
The cockroach, whose innards resemble cottage cheese, has an earthy taste, with a slight twinge of ammonia. But they have become popular in China not for their taste, but for their medicinal benefits.
“They really are a miracle drug,” said Liu Yusheng, a professor at the Shandong Agricultural university and the head of Shandong province’s Insect Association. “They can cure a number of ailments and they work much faster than other medicine.”
For a decade, Mr Wang farmed another type of insect, Eupolyphaga Sinensis, which is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
But in the past two years, the demand for cockroaches has soared, and Mr Wang has switched his entire production to Periplaneta americana, or the American cockroach, a copper-coloured insect that grows to just over an inch and a half.