Bun Lai, Miya's Sushi Get Star Turn on 'Saturday Night Live'

Miya's Sushi in New Haven

Owner and chef Bun Lai greets regular patron Rachael Sirianni of New Haven with her 3-month-old son Jack during lunchtime at Miya's Sushi in New Haven. (Bettina Hansen, Hartford Courant / October 6, 2010)

If you watched this past Saturday's season finale of "SNL," one headline on the "Weekend Update" segment (with returning special guest Amy Poehler) may have caught your attention.

"A sushi chef in Connecticut is planning to use cicadas this summer in some of his recipes," Poehler announced. "Said the chef, '...I'm trying to get fired.'"

Watch the full episode on Hulu here.

Update: Lai responds to the show

She was, of course, referring to Bun Lai of Miya's Sushi in New Haven. Lai, known for using invasive species in his unconventional sushi creations, made headlines this week when he announced he'd be incorporating the insects into his dishes this summer. A "17-year" species of cicada has started to emerge along the East Coast, and they're expected to appear in the millions.

In a post on his Tumblr, Lai explained the environmental and health benefits of eating insects.

"Two and a half acres of land can produce about 2000 pounds of insects. Insects contain about the same amount of protein as a steak and much less saturated fats," Lai wrote. "And, unlike mammals and many types of our most popular farmed fish, they are ideal for factory farming because they are resilient and can thrive piled one upon the other. If we all ate insects instead of mammals, there would be a measurable impact on Climate Change."

"... That said, you really gotta try my cicadas," Lai finished. "I promise you, they will be scrumptious."

Lai, who was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in February, began to experiment with invasive species in his recipes several years ago, and introduced insects to his menu in 2010.

"I don't want it to become like [Travel Channel's 'Bizarre Foods' host] Andrew Zimmern, or 'Fear Factor,' " he told The Courant that year. "…It's my responsibility as a chef to translate and reinterpret exotic ingredients to be enjoyable to people of our culture."





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