While here in Oaxaca, we have been fortunate enough to sample a great many of the region's culinary delights.

As guests at the Hotel Chocolate Posada, we wake up every morning and have homemade hot chocolate, flavoured al gusto; my favourite is moka, Kenzo's chocomiel. Neither of us have tried what has been translated into as "Snake" flavour yet, though.

And being next door to the Market of 20 de Noviembre, we've also been offered numerous times sips of mezcal, tequila's local cousin. As expected, I prefer the mezcal derivatives, such as "sweet sweet mango pudding with alcohol taste added", or you know, mango creme liqueur or whatever they call it. Tasty!

We've even tried the local version of chorizo, bought for us on a late sunday night in the market by a Mexican man named Gregorio, who at first we thought was really friendly but then realized was just really drunk. Why does he keep telling us he's from the Universidad Autonome Benito Juarez de Oaxaca? Isn't that the 3rd time in 30 seconds he's asked us our names and shaken our hands? ...Ohh.

But it was not until only yesterday that we discovered the local snack that had been mentioned in our guidebook numerous times but whose name never appeared on any menu: chapulines.

See, curbside vendors sell everything from combs to pirated DVDs to fruit with chile on top. And near our hotel entrance, bulging sacks of crimson chiles and bead-like beans abound. So at first, our passing, non-descriminant eye told us that the bags overflowing with small, dried red-orange flecks were merely chili peppers of another variety.

But then we noticed the big peppers.

Only they weren't peppers, and had antennae and folded legs. The elderly woman tending her bag of huge, legged chilis took advantage of our double-take and proffered the word that solved our mystery. "Chapulines?"

Grasshoppers. I pointed, Kenzo gawked. We looked like major tourists.

What I didn't know was whether the grasshoppers were sold raw, like many other products in the market, or whether they were ready to eat as-is. So I asked the vendor in hesitant, crappy Spanish:

"Es... posible de comer..." (is it possible to eat)

I wanted to finish with the hypothetical "solo como este?" (as-is?) but she had already understood that I wanted to eat a sample and dropped a grasshopper into each of our hands.

I blinked in surprise then blinked again at Kenzo. That's our secret code for "You first," so he popped it into his mouth. "Mmm! Its not bad!"

I tried. Mmm! It was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, like a french fry! Slight hint of lime, and the lingering smell of olive? chili? oil that wafted though the aftertaste. Kenzo and I nodded approvingly, but our eyes said to each other "one's enough".

We both thanked her and continued on our way, picking legs out of our teeth. Clearly we considered bringing some back for y'all, but really, who likes week-old soggy french fries? Not I.



This entry was posted on 1/22/2009 07:24:00 AM and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 comments:

    Kered said...

    "who at first we thought was really friendly but then realized was just really drunk..." lmao :D
    lol too for your secret code ^^

    Good to know you're open-minded enough to try that very special kind of local food! :p But if it was so tasty, why didn't you buy some more?

  1. ... on January 22, 2009 at 8:44 AM  
  2. Kenzo said...

    Our budget doesn't allow for splurging on grasshopper snacks. That is our official statement.

  3. ... on January 22, 2009 at 10:57 AM