Note: if the title makes you squeamish, maybe you should check out another post (like Give flowers to a stranger). This post contains detailed descriptions of what it was like to eat grasshoppers.
Grasshoppers don’t taste like chicken. They taste more like tea leaves.
Ever since my grandma told me they used to eat grasshoppers growing up (only the brown ones, not the green ones, place in empty Coke bottles and roast in hot ashes), it’s been on my bucket list to experience for myself.
Last night, my brother and I went to Poquitos, a local Mexican restaurant that serves chapulines, toasted grasshoppers seasoned with chile, lime, and salt. It cost $2 for half a cup of small grasshoppers (each about 1 inch long).
They smelled like dried chile peppers because of the seasoning, so nothing exciting to report there, and the sight was not surprising if you’ve ever seen pictures of bugs prepared for eating (like the picture I chose for this post). Still, if you have problems with your food being recognizable as a once-living creature, the visual aspect may be a little more difficult to handle. (It’s not like they were looking back at us — or if they were, they were too small to really tell — so even if you’re the kind of person who can’t eat a fish with the head on, you can probably still try a grasshopper).
I thought the weirdest part would be the feeling of the legs in my mouth, but most of the legs had fallen off. Of the grasshoppers that had the legs still attached, I could feel them a little, but it wasn’t creepy at all, just a little prickly.
The texture was different from what I expected. I thought it would be crunchy-hard on the outside and softer/gooey on the inside. Instead, the main part of the exoskeleton ranged from soft-crisp (like nori) to slightly crunchy (like popcorn husk), the legs were crunchy-hard (like the outside candy shell of an M&M or a pin bone from a small fish — basically it felt like what I expected the exoskeleton to be like), and the inside was soft, a little chewy, but not gushy or gooey.
Apart from the taste from the seasoning, the bug itself tastes like tea leaves. My favorite part of the chapulines ended up being the legs, both for texture and taste. They taste much less leafy to me than the bodies did, and have a more satisfying crunch.
Overall, based on taste, I’d say they’re not on my favorite foods list, but I’d have no problem eating them if they were served to me. I’ll definitely try bugs again, but I’d like to try them at different places and compare their taste and texture. My brother tells me there’s an Indian restaurant nearby that serves crickets, so perhaps that’s next…
Have you eaten insects?
Resource: Interested in eating bugs? Here’s a guide to help you choose which insect you might like best.
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