I believe in experiencing the culture of every place I visit. That's how you really connect with the essence of a location. So I was a little taken aback to discover that Huatulco's essence is buried in little, wiry, grasshopper legs. Located in Southern Mexico, along the coast of the state of Oaxaca, Huatulco pulses with Southern Mexican traditions. Munching grasshoppers or chapulines, is one of those traditions. I was hosted by Secrets Huatulco Resort and when an array of Oaxacan dishes was presented to me on my arrival, chapulines were the first ones. As you can see from the photo above, they are toasted and seasoned into a mound of spicy critter snacks.
Traditionally, chapulines are served with a variety of salsas, guacamole and totopos or tortilla chips or sprinkled on a taco.
I was lucky that my first servings were small ones that once covered with guac and salsa, I could forget that I was munching grasshoppers. I know the closeup above looks like they're dancing on top of the chip but I didn't look at them before I stuffed them into my month. They weren't chewy or really crunchy. They tasted like a savory, spiced snack, with a flavor a little like jerky.
When I spotted the big ones at a Mezcal tasting, I was glad that the wee ones were my first initiation. There was no way that I was crunching on a big ol' grasshopper, regardless of the quantities of premium liquor supplied to wash away the memory.
I saw chapulines for sale all over Huatulco, in beach shacks, in little stores and restaurants. I was glad that I had tried such a big part of Oaxacan culture but I was never tempted to try them again. Although I did buy a bag to bring home. You never know when you'll need a quick dose of spicy protein.....