By: Jessica Hernandez
Chapulines (grasshoppers) are an ancient traditional food in Southern Mexico that is currently still enjoyed and cherished by indigenous populations of Oaxaca, Puebla, and other southern regions. As a result of increase tourism, chapulines are now sold in many central locations and are advertised as exotic or a food to dare others to eat.
However, how do they taste? While many will find eating grasshoppers a delicacy or something that would never cross their food plates, chapulines are a traditional and cultural food that represents the many fights indigenous peoples (pueblos) had against colonialism. It is to no surprise that the indigenous communities that still serve chapulines in their cultural gatherings, are one of the strongest in the region and country of Mexico.
Chapulines have been enjoyed for centuries, dating back to pre-Colombian years—before settlers arrived to Mexico. They are often gathered in spring until summer (May to August) and are cleaned and prepared to be toasted in a comal or fried in a frying pan. The seasoning of chapulines depends on the cook, but they are often enjoyed with lime and chile to give it a salty, spicy, and sour taste.
Yes while chapulines (grasshoppers) are relatively small insects, you will be surprised at their nutritional value! 3.5 ounces of raw grasshoppers will provide you with over 14-28 grams of protein—depending on the size of the insects. This is a lot given that you get 53.4 grams of protein from a chicken breast—which is 10 x the size of grasshoppers.
In some places, chapulines have taken over peanuts as they are served as a botanas or bar food. Let us know if you have ever tried chapulines and whether or not you liked them? Remember that they are a traditional & cultural food to many indigenous peoples, so while they may not be your pallet, they hold a cultural significance and importance to many!
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