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Chapulines in Oaxaca: Eating Grasshoppers — Nothing to it!

on June 10, 2019

a plate of food

If you’re visiting Oaxaca, Mexico then grasshoppers are certainly on the shortlist of must-try foods to sample. Here’s what you need to know about Chapulines in Oaxaca.

a close up of food on a red carpet


A Regional Delicacy

Chapulines can be found throughout Mexico but they most often come from either the state of Oaxaca or the region around Puebla where producers have perfected the harvesting process. The grasshoppers (genus: Sphenarium) are collected during their season which runs from May until late October. The name “chapolin” derives from the Aztec language Náhuatl, and means “insect that jumps like rubber ball.” Because of the salt used in preparing Chapulines, they have a long shelf life and can be enjoyed year-round. Visit any of the local markets (Tianguis) throughout Oaxaca and you’ll find bags and baskets full of this tasty treat seasoned with chile, lime, and garlic or just natural. Most vendors are more than happy to give you a free taste. Take them up on their offer and try all kinds.

a group of fresh fruit and vegetables on display

Grasshoppers and Insects Are Big Business

While insects aren’t a common menu item in the US or Canada, they are a no-fat source of protein served around the world. Bug protein has already found its way into pet and plant food, fish food for aquaculture and other applications, and it’s poised to become a billion-dollar-plus industry. Besides their nutritional value, grasshoppers offer the additional benefit of being easier on the environment than other agricultural protein sources with virtually no carbon dioxide or methane gas emissions.

There is a local saying “If you eat chapulines, you will return to Oaxaca”. Ready to give grasshoppers a try? If so, you can check them out along with 20+ other regional food and drinks with Oaxaca Eats Food Tours. Come hungry and discover what Oaxaca eats in 4 hours.