Tag Archives: entomophagy

Insects return to Mexican menus

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, Mexico has 300 to 550 species of edible insects, more than any other country.

chinivuiles (Red Maquey Caterpillars) Mercado San Juan, Mexico City

The ancient tradition of eating insects is steeped in culinary tradition, not lack of other foods. In pre-Hispanic days insects were an easy power house of protein to gather as ingredients and enjoy as a convenience food.

Chapulines, roasted grasshoppers, Mercado San Juan, Mexico City

The UN report  in praise of entomophagy — insect-eating — as a promising source of sustainable protein stressed that “The case needs to be made to consumers that eating insects is not only good for their health, it is good for the planet.” After all, insects outnumber all other living creatures – and many are edible.

In the past decade there has been a revival in Mexico from street vendors to celebrity chefs reincorporating insects into the cuisine. What was dismissed after the Spanish conquest is chic again.

Mexcal cocktail with Chapulines at las Piramides

At Restaurante las Piramides within the UNESCO Zona Arqueológica de Teotihuacán they serve a traditional Mexican menu with some ancient exotic foods. An appropriate introduction is a Mexcal cocktail with Chapulines (roasted grasshoppers – they do have a nutty taste and texture). Chapulines have been a popular fast food since the ancient Mayan days, especially in southern Mexico.

Chapulines

From their starter menu there is a selection of dishes that would be a perfect introduction to tasting insects.

Fried corn cakes with quacamole y chapulines.

Excamoles al epazote (sauteed ant larvae with wormseed herb)

chinivuiles (red Maquey caterpillars) and gusano blanco (white Maquey caterpillars)

Tacos with Chapulines at El Arrayan, Puerto Vallarta

In Puerto Vallarta at El Arrayán the Oxacan inspired cuisine includes tacos stuffed with chapulines.

serious seafood & fish at Mercado San Juan

The Mercado de San Juan Gourmet is Mexico City’s food mecca for the serious eater and chef. Among the food stalls are small attractive cafes where locals frequent and visitors can experiment with new tastes.

serious meats, Mercado San Juan

I will not address the “disgust” factor when it comes to “exotic” foods. I’m interested only in the “wow” factor that there is so much  to try. The world is a pantry.

serious colors, this is Mexico! Mercado San Juan

 

When you go: Mexico City is well served by international air. For accommodations I recommend the historic Hotel Geneve (1907). It maintains and polishes its glory every day.

roasted insects: fast food at street vendors

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