Need energy boost? Give bogongs a whirl, they're flavour of the moth



They're the springtime scourge of cleaners and cyclists, choking the air and carpeting buildings. But Adrian Brown thinks of the bogong moth as ''a bush muesli bar''. With wings.

The moths are nut-flavoured nuggets, with 100 grams of bogong abdomen containing almost 39 grams of fat and 1805 kilojoules of energy, more than an equivalent chunk of Big Mac.

Indigenous groups traditionally feasted on them as they travelled to ceremonial gatherings in the Snowy Mountains, said Mr Brown, the Caring for Ngunnawal Country ranger with the ACT government.

He said to prepare the bogongs, a large fire was lit on a rock and cleared, with the hot rock serving as a frying pan.

''You mush them up and can eat them later, carry it along with you [for] when you need another boost of energy. They're like a bush muesli bar,'' Mr Brown said.

The annual moth migration began at the start of September. Canberra is on their flight path as they leave western NSW and Queensland for the cool of the southern alps. Those blown off course end up in Sydney, drawn to the bright lights of the big city.

The UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation released a book this year promoting insects as an untapped source of nutrition with the potential to ease global food insecurity.

Head chef at the Eastern Hotel in Bondi Junction, Matt Fitzgerald, who serves roast crickets at the hotel's El Topo restaurant, sampled bogong moths roasted over hot coals as a student.

''On the day we had them straight up, though you could serve them roasted, spiced and lightly salted as a snack or toss the roasted moths in a salad of green mango, macadamia, radish and fingerlime,'' Fitzgerald said. ''I have seen recipes for damper as well, where the moth meat is pounded up and added to the recipe.''


They can be hard to find but not during the bogong invasion of 2008, when John* and his flatmate cooked moths sourced from an ATM near Central station, an experiment he described as ''more Bear Grylls than Neil Perry''.

After euthanasing the moths in the freezer of their Chippendale kitchen, a process of trial and error produced ''strangely consumable'' finger food.

''Once we got some spiced breadcrumbs into the mix, we ended up with a reasonably delicious snack,'' John said.

''The fried bogong was crunchy, with an unusual flavour - very fatty with a faint almond-like after taste.

''The only problem was they shrunk down to the size of a sultana.''

*Surname withheld on request