Sha lyngur is the local name for an edible insect that resembles a bee. It is found in the wild forest of the Khasi Hills and nearby communities. They can generally be found under the shade of trees or any big leaves or stones to protect themselves from the sun and rain. They are small from head to tail, with relatively long wings and six legs. For the most part, the body of these insects is black in color, and the wings are white and black. However, there are also insects that are reddish-brown in color with reddish-bronze wings. Young sha lyngur insects resemble houseflies. Sha lyngur have a strong umami flavor with hints of sweetness. In Meghalaya, in northeastern Inda, only the young insects are consumed, often prepared mixed with onion, chili and salt. They have a slightly crunchy consistency when fried and when cooked with eaten with onion they are a bit chewy. Interestingly, in the past these insects would also be used as bait to catch fish. Today, the changing climatic conditions, coupled with exploitive use of the forests and a lack of food for the insects make it a very vulnerable environment for them to survive in. Over the years, local communities have noticed a steady decline in the number of hives in the forest and have attributed it to the lack of flowers that are very often their source of food.
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.