Get served a cocktail or an appetizer with a bug in it and you'd send it back and probably find a new place to eat. But insects are actually an incredible source of protein with a long history in Latin cuisine and they’re showing up on many a restaurant menu these days, from appetizers to desserts.
David George Gordon, aka The Bug Chef, has a cookbook on eating bugs, Richard Sandoval’s restaurants feature a guacamole with grasshoppers, and there’s a restaurant in New Orleans dedicated completely to serving bug dishes. From a cocktail with a salt worm rim to tacos with crickets to a chocolate fondue dessert, here are 5 recipes to bug out for.
Ease into eating bugs with a cocktail. Brian Means, the bar manager of San Francisco’s Dirty Habit, recommends the Chupacabra cocktail for tequila drinkers (or anyone who enjoys a good margarita or a Paloma). Tequila, mezcal, lime juice, grapefruit cordial, and aperol give this cocktail hints of black pepper, smoked agave, bitter orange, and grapefruit and a salt rim made with sal de gusano gives it a spicy kick.
Famed chef Richard Sandoval has been introducing diners to bug dishes for years. His Guacamole Sur, on the menu at Maya in New York City for a limited time, makes insects the star ingredient. Take a bite and be greeted by the flavors of southern Mexico: tomatillo, cotija cheese, onion, chile cascabel, cilantro, lime, and sea salt. And of course, the ever popular grasshopper. And this recipe calls for whole grasshoppers, so you’ll taste them in all their crunchy glory.
The Bug Appétit Buffet inside the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans is all about eating bugs. The buffet menu changes to allow diners to try different buggy treats but one of their staples is mealworm salsa. Start with your favorite recipe for homemade salsa or buy some from the store and add in mealworms. Add in 150 mealworms for every 8 ounces of salsa but of course, up (or lower) the amount to suit your tastes.
The 750-square-foot, Tacos Perla in San Diego specializes in street tacos. And for just an extra $0.75, you can add crickets to any of the tacos on the menu. Overseen by chef Jaison Burke, Tacos Perla recommends the adobado pork tacos with pineapple, onion, cilantro, and crickets. For a delicious and crunchy taco you can enjoy on the go, sprinkle in about 10 crickets!
Chef David George Gordon knows a lot about eating bugs, after all he’s a bug chef! He was inspired to create this Chapulines con Chocolate Fondue dish while visiting Switzerland a few years back. The idea came to him he was while indulging in Swiss chocolate and thinking about the popularity of salted caramels: why couldn’t combining small baked and seasoned grasshoppers from Mexico with chocolate fondue from the Alps yeild the same delicious result? Mix up a pot of fondue for your next dinner party, pour some mezcal, and enjoy.