Friday, 24 August 2007

Insects and fish tacos

A short while ago a Mexican friend who we are staying with assured us that it is possible to got to the market and eat (ascending order of what the fuck my own)-

Grasshoppers ('chapulines' - especially in Oaxaca)
Fried ant eggs ('escamoles' - everywhere, San Juan market in Mexico City)
Fried mosquito eggs
LIVE beetles. ('Jumiles'- especially in Taxco, where he is from)

Really. My Spanish is ok, but I took great pains to make it clear that these beetles were actually eaten alive, and actually beetles. And that the whole process was done on purpose! But yes, apparantly the vendors keep them in little bags, and you can either get them like that, or they'll pop them in a taco for you, which you have to hold a certain way to stop them escaping. The interesting thing is that this custom originated because the species in question can live for
about a week after cooking! Its not invincible, just takes a while to die from its injuries.

Despite my dedication to food exploration I am a little unnerved. But I may now be closer to being Indiana Jones then I ever have been before. A crisis is festering in my soul. I may not seek out jumiles, but one day soon they may find me- and that day I will be forced to stand alone with my own cackling existence and decide why I am here at all.

In the mean time I am trying to seek out the dead versions. Me and Linz had a long search for the escamoles today in Mercado San Juan, and got a lot of strange looks, but nothing like they didn't know what we were talking about. More like if we had gone up to people on the street and said "do you know if there is anywhere near here where we could perhaps buy a poster of a rasberry?"

But I got a fish tostada from a stand to keep me going. A tostada is a tortilla that has been fried so its
like a big crisp, with stuff on. This was really nice, all the prawns and stuff tasted really fresh and cold and almost crunchy.

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