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Chapulines or fried grasshoppers from Casa de la Abuela in Oaxaca, Mexico.

What: These rust-colored grasshoppers, usually served fried and seasoned with chile, lime, garlic, onion, and/or salt, are nearly everywhere you look in Oaxaca—though they’re technically in season spring through early fall. They constitute an old food tradition in these parts as a cheap and plentiful protein. Bug phobes, be warned: These are whole, toasted grasshoppers that look like grasshoppers.

NOTE: We cannot in good conscience recommend eating a whole plate of chapulines, as they are still believed to contain high amounts of lead. Trying a few won’t hurt, though pregnant women and children should avoid them.

Where: Our photo is from Casa de la Abuela (951-516-3544; Hidalgo 616, map) in the zócalo’s northwest corner, where the chapulines are fried in olive oil with minced onion and served with tortillas and guacamole. It’s a little less daring of a presentation than straight-up grasshoppers at a market, where they usually appear as dense, dark heaps with little insect limbs sticking out every which way.

When: Daily, 1pm-10pm

Order: The chapulines (70p), plus some other regional dishes: chilaquiles con tasajo, sopa de guias, tlayudas (available until 6pm), mole negro or coloradito, Oaxacan-style empanadas, memelitas, etc.

Alternatively: Markets like Benito Juárez (Miguel Cabrera at Las Casas, map) are awash with indigenous ladies selling chapulines, should you dare, although you never can tell for sure whether you’re going to get a crispy, (comparatively) tasty bug or a stale one.

Want to read about the delicious ant larvae (escamoles) of Mexico City next? Or move on to more dishes in Oaxaca?


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New Orleans Food & Travel Guide by Eat Your World

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