Mexico; one of the only countries in the world where you don’t complain about bugs being in your food because… you ordered them.
Los Danzantes, one of the most popular restaurants in Oaxaca, is giving guests a chance to try some rare and unusual delicacies with their Temporada de Bichos (‘Season of Insects’) menu. Que Pasa Oaxaca was lucky enough to get a sneak preview and we were delighted with dishes that matched Mexican classics with less conventional ingredients.
The first dish we tried was a build-your own taco, featuring chinicuiles – also known as gusano de maguey – which are a type of moth larvae. They look like little white worms, and fried up with the green-bean-like flor de maguey (known as gualambos), are a salty, multi-textured treat.
Other dishes included a memela with yellow mole and escamoles – small, white ant eggs with a similar texture to cottage cheese; and a savoury atole soup with incredible kernels of purple corn and a sprinkling of crunchy chapulines.
Standout dishes however, were rarer treats that we’d never tried before. Acociles are the most incredible tiny fresh river crayfish – bright red and perfectly bite sized, they give a satisfying pop and a shrimp-like flavour explosion. Chef Hugo Arnaud serves them over a fried empanada stuffed with cheese and flor de calabaza and it’s a beautiful combination.
Finally the chicatana, an ant which is harvested just once a year in Oaxaca, comes served in the form of a thick sauce on a crispy tostada, topped with pieces of marrow. The flavour is incredible; rich, deep and savoury, with a slight smokiness.
Mostly because of the challenges of harvesting, and for their limited season, these bugs can be expensive and difficult to find so this is a great time to try them out.
The ‘Temporada de Bichos’ menu features 5 starter plates at $85 each, and runs until June 30.
Macedonio Alcalá 403