Traveling to exotic locales opens up a world of opportunity to experience new things. You might not plan for it, but grasshoppers, ant larvae, and mezcal de pechuga are all things you must try when you come to Oaxaca. Mexico is the home of Mexican cuisine, and even though Mexican restaurants can be found all over the U.S., it’s likely you’ve never tried these Mexican foods before.
No, these are not the mint and fudge Keebler elves cookies. Chapulines might sound like something only foodies would enjoy, but ignore the fact that these are grasshoppers for a moment. Think protein. And then remind yourself of what a good Mexican chef can do with a protein. Mexican spices. Deep fried. Crunchy. Chapulines are often sprinkled on other foods (like guacamole), featured in a taco, or eaten straight from the bag as a salty, chile-lime flavored snack.
Escamoles (ant larvae)
Let’s be honest. Ant larvae was probably featured on Fear Factor: contestants had to eat it to win the big prize. But sometimes delicacies are those foods that are the most foreign to us, maybe even lacking in appeal. So it takes a little more gumption even just to try it. This weird food is really an ancient delicacy of the Aztecs.
“Ant larvae, or as it is often lovingly described, insect caviar” aren’t very sexy, but you’ll find the taste and texture might surprise you in a good way. Served in tacos, omelets or by themselves, escamoles have a nutty taste and soft texture.
Mezcal de pechuga
Tequila is not the only Mexican spirit that comes from the agave plant. After harvesting and roasting the agave plant (usually the espadin variety), mezcal is distilled in clay or copper stills. After two distillations, a third distillation is necessary to produce mezcal de pechuga, which involves usually a raw chicken or turkey breast which cooks in the vapors, giving the mezcal a unique flavor. Other ingredients include fruits, nuts and grains, “a melange of flavors that some pechuga drinkers swear they can detect when sipping.”
“Mezcal de pechuga (pechuga translates to breast), is made when a finished mezcal is redistilled with local fruits, grains, and nuts, and a raw chicken or turkey breast is hung over the still, cooking in the emanating vapors, supposedly adding to the spirit’s final flavor.”
While not every experience in your travels is noteworthy, you’re bound to have memories of the exotic foods you taste.
Where to Stay
Casa Divina Oaxaca is a charming and intimate resort located four blocks from the many fascinating historic sites and wonderful restaurants of downtown Oaxaca. The resort, located within a lovingly restored 19th-century Oaxacan home, reflects the culture of this fascinating city. Authentic Oaxacan art hangs from sun-dried clay walls, making Casa Divina Oaxaca truly feel like a home away from home. Oaxaca is a historic and cultural marvel famous for its spectacular architecture and delicious food. Immerse yourself in this magical place at Casa Divina Oaxaca.