‘Tis the season for chapulines, grasshoppers of many different sizes and stripes that spring up throughout the summer and are harvested in early autumn as food. In markets throughout central and southern Mexico, chapulines are sold in big, rusty mounds; they’re often toasted on the comal, seasoned with salt and lime, and eaten as a popular snack food.
We are in the minority in the United States, as 80 percent of all countries practice some form of willing entomophagy, or insect consumption. (Of course, we all consume the occasional bug or bug bits unknowingly through processed food.) However, the habit of eating insects is becoming increasingly normalized in the Western world due to environmental concerns, sustainability, and the search for new spectrums of flavor. There have been recent efforts to introduce bugs, ground up into indistinguishable meal, to form the base of flours, snacks, and protein bars.
But part of the pleasure of eating bugs is in their textural components. You can find chapulines — bodies, eyes, and all — in a taco ($3) at La Superior (295 Berry Street, Brooklyn; 718-388-5988), a taqueria in Williamsburg. Thoughtfully, most of the spiny legs have been removed, and the little hoppers are wedded to the tortilla with a swipe of guacamole. They are irresistible, like the crunchiest bits of popcorn left in the bottom of the bag, and deserve the tiniest dab of salsa.
Scarlett Lindeman is a Brooklyn-based writer covering the city’s best taquerias, fondas, and cantinas.