Chef Bun Lai is the owner of Miya’s, a New Haven sushi spot known for its use of sustainable ingredients and yes, invasive species. You can check out their menu here.

Wonderama had the pleasure of having Bun Lai on the show sharing some of his crazy, healthy, and delicious food:

Chef Bun Lai used invasive knotweed to make a kind of alternative kale chip and Asian shore crabs to make some crunchy popcorn-style snacks, but if you don’t have those where you are, we’ve provided a list of a few edible invasive species across the United States. Before you start collecting critters though, it’s important to have adult supervision because you don’t want to confuse an edible species for a dangerous one!

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David chows down on some Asian shore crab

  • Garden snail (Cornu aspersum): Native to areas bordering the Mediterranean and Black Seas, Western Europe, and Britain, the garden snail is invasive in the United States and Canada. They are common in French cuisine as escargot. Click here to learn more about this species and for a recipe on how to make sauteed snails.
  • Watercress (Nasturtium officianale): This tea sandwich staple is native to Northern Africa, Europe, temperate Asia, and India, but did you know it’s invasive to the United States? Except, oddly enough, North Dakota. For more information on this plant and how to prepare it, click here.
  • Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida): A type of seaweed, wakame is invasive in California, where it arrived on cargo ships from its native Japan. It was named one of the 100 worst invasive species by the Global Invasive Species Database. Click here for more information and a recipe for wakame-cucumber salad.  
  • Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata): Native to Europe, Asia, and Northwest Africa, garlic mustard is a spicy-smelling plant that has invaded the United States and Canada. For recipes (including a garlic mustard pesto!) and more information, click here.

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