Next time you are in Oaxaca and want a culinary adventure, you might try chapulines colorados for an afternoon snack. Red grasshoppers of the genus Sphenarium are a common snack food item served as an appetizer in this region in Mexico.

The grasshoppers are collected during the months of May through August and maybe into early October. They are thoroughly washed and toasted. The toasting occurs on a round earthen dish called a comal. When toasted, the grasshoppers turn a bright red color. The grasshoppers are sprinkled with garlic, lime juice and a salt that contains agave worms. This method gives the chapulines colorados a spicy, sour and salty taste that becomes a delicacy that can be eaten as a crunchy snack or as a taco or quesadilla filling.

This appetizer is sold in a small paper bag as a snack at sporting events or at the markets. Chapulines colorados are a healthy snack high in protein and contain no fat. Take an afternoon break and have them as an appetizer with a mescal.

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