In the heart of the small city of Tlacolula, just 30 minutes south of Oaxaca, lies one of the oldest markets in Mexico and Central America. People from the villages surrounding the city come to sell their goods each weekend just as their ancestors did hundreds of years earlier.
I came to the market to see what it was like and to try a special snack found mainly in the state of Oaxaca. For weeks while riding my motorcycle from California through Mexico I would see the roads covered in grasshoppers. Who knows how many I ran over. From the carnage I saw on the roads I’m guessing a small percentage are successful in their great adventure of crossing the road. The ones that survive have to be faster than the other threat, humans and their nets.
People throughout the state of Oaxaca catch grasshoppers; which not only helps the farmers but also provides a tasty snack. I found many vendors selling the famed Oaxacan grasshoppers, which are called Chapulin here in Mexico. For 5 pesos you could get a large handful of chapulin. They come in two sizes, large and small. These aren’t live grasshoppers; they are prepared and cooked. Seasoned with lime, chili, garlic, and salt they are then baked. Now they’re ready to sell at the markets by the bagful. I found a nice sized grasshopper and was ready to taste the little creatures for myself.
My friend Marcelino captured my first baked grasshopper dining experience on video. Check it out.
With the seasoning, these little bugs are actually really tasty. I didn’t really want a bag of chapulin but it was only 5 pesos (like 35 cents). When I got back to the children’s home I found out it was one of the kids birthday’s. Feliz cumplanos, Florencio! Buen provecho!
Here’s a few more photos from around the Tlacolula market.