The experience of eating larvae and grasshoppers in Mexico
Brazilian reporter Helena Fruet tells us what’s it like to try exotic ingredients of Mexican cuisine: insects
For an exotic experience, a food tour of Mexico City must include a traditional ingredient in the country: insects. Gusanos (larvae) and chapulines (grasshoppers) are sold at Mercado de San Juan(Avenida Arcos de Belén, Cuauhtémoc, Centro). Roasted or fried, seasoned with chili, lime and salt, they’re served as snacks or fillings for tacos.
Even though I lived in Mexico, I had never tried anything like this. My experience with insects could be boiled down to mescal shots (a spirit distilled from agave) with gusano — which is different from eating larvae, as I discovered. I did not like the bitter taste and I wouldn’t eat it again. The next challenge was the chapulines. I tried not to think about the insects: I imagined shrimps (they do have a similar texture). And the big surprise was that chapulines, with all the seasoning they use there, are delicious! I had more at the restaurant Casa de los Tacos(Calle Felipe Carrillo Puerto, 16, Coyoacán), where they’re served as filling for tortillas, with guacamole and spicy sauces. To go with them, a quintessential Mexican option is the michelada — beer with lime juice and salt on the glass rim.
My openness to exoticism had a limit: after taking on gusanos and enjoying chapulines, I refused to try scorpions. I was about to eat some, but then I backed down. For the courageous, scorpions are also sold at Mercado de San Juan.