About eating bugs

It’s hard to avoid eating insects here. Today we were having quesadillas with squash blossoms and a little green worm fell out of Jenny’s tortilla and onto her plate. We don’t think it was supposed to be part of the dish, but you never know. Later the waiter told us that there were gusanos de maguey, maguey worms, in the soup we had. Fortunately they must have sunk to the bottom and avoided the scoop of our spoon.

Whether or not you think you’ll like bugs, Oaxaca is the place to open your mind, let go of your notions about where to get your protein, and try some critters. In many places all over the world insects are a part of the local diet, so before turning up your nose realize that your aversion to eating insects makes you the weirdo. Outside of the Benito Juarez market in the city center, women sit with giant baskets of chapulines, grasshoppers that have been toasted on comals with salt, garlic, lime and/or chile. Unless you’re brave enough to start poppin them like popcorn (as is the norm here), we recommend you head to one of the many nice restaurants in Oaxaca where chapulines are featured on the menu in a more palatable way. We went to Casa Crespo, where we ordered sopes with Oaxacan cheese, chapulines and a thick layer of guacamole topped with two maguey worms. Restaurant Los Danzantes had a more sophisticated special the day we went, a steak dish with a salsa of pasilla chiles and chapulines.

At Casa Crespo we slathered on the guacamole and bit in. Crunchy. Salty. Tasted like those peanuts with chile and lime, just a little more… leggy. On the whole, not bad at all. Later we asked a chef friend what the deal was with chapulines, is there some significance? “I don’t know, the Zapotecs went crazy for chapulines, they used to believe that they could see a grasshopper in the moon.” Maybe we didn’t see any chapulines in the full moon walking home that night, but we were glad we saw them on our plate. While they say it about mezcal, chocolate and any other Oaxacan delicacies, they also say that if you don’t try chapulines you’ll never come back to Oaxaca. We wouldn’t want to risk that.

Casa Crespo: Allende 107, Centro
Los Danzantes: Macedonio Alcalá 403 interior 4

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3 Responses to “About eating bugs”

  1. Peggy
    June 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Love the mezcal, love the chocolate, but haven’t taken the chapulines plunge yet. You ladies are leading the way and setting the bar pretty high for adventurous eating. If I just think of peanuts with legs, maybe that will help me get them down…

  2. June 18, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    ayer hablaba con un amigo aleman que conoci en el restaurante y me decia que comer chapulines es una de las experiencias gastronomicas mas interesantes que ha tenido en su vida. porque? simplemente el sabor despues del primer chapulin es salado o picante, pero mentalmente estas comindo un INSECTO!!!! lo cual no es muy agradable para tu cerebro, para los oaxaqueños no es solo una experiencia es una tradicion que ha trasendido por muchos años, cuantos? no lo se…. simplemente es una de las tantas cosas que Oaxaca tiene que ofrecer al mundo..

    las esperamos de regreso…

    Buen Provecho hermosas.


  3. gabriela
    June 21, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    Very impressive ladies, keep it up!!