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We bug out with Wahaca’s new grasshopper dish

Posted at 1:30 pm, March 8, 2013 in Food & Drink

Talk about a Mexican stand-off… Wahaca is about to add a new dish to its menu: grasshoppers. From Monday, the restaurant will be importing them from Mexico, frying them with shallots, garlic and chillies, then serving them straight up, or puréed, slathered in cheese and with tortilla chips. It’s going to trial the experiment for a month at its Southbank branch to see if it’s successful. Why? To promote sustainable protein. But do they taste nice? Here are our experts’ verdicts.

Alexi Duggins editor-at-large

Qualifications for being a judge:
Incorrigible eater of weird crap.

Initial impression?
‘Doesn’t look that bad. Not compared to some of the chicken burgers I’ve bought from Elephant & Castle takeaways.’

How’s the nacho version?
‘Delicious. It essentially tastes like a heavily garlicked-up fondue.’

And the fried grasshoppers?
‘A piquant mix of fish, old cupboards and manky cat food.’

Will it be a hit?
‘Doubt it. There’s a limit to how many people share my refined palate for interesting ingredients, you see. Also, generally, children aren’t allowed into restaurants on their own.’

 Katie Dailey UK Lifestyle editor

Qualifications for being a judge:
Sceptical eco-champion.

Initial impression?
‘I wanted to swat the blighters, not scoff them.’

How’s the nacho version?
‘It’s basically a bowl of melted cheese with puréed insects in it. Doesn’t taste very insect-y, but knowing they’re in there is still a problem.’

And the fried grasshoppers?
‘Can’t really taste them over the bile that rose at the thought of eating them.’

Will it be a hit?
‘I can imagine people daring each other to eat it. It’s not bad, if you get past the feeling you’re in a Bushtucker Trial. But if you want to eat sustainable food, grow it in a window box, don’t ship it over from Mexico.’

Tim Arthur editor-in-chief

Qualifications for being a judge:
Representing London’s wusses.

Initial impression?
‘I’ve eaten bugs before, so I knew I’d be okay – until I saw the critters, remembered I hated them and my tummy went all funny.’

How’s the nacho version?
‘I loved it. Loads of melted cheese, lots of meaty, garlicky, chilli-y grasshopper sauce.’

And the fried grasshoppers?
‘The grasshopper itself reminded me of a spicy, salty, aromatic, er… fried grasshopper.’

Will it be a hit?
‘People will try it for novelty value and then love the taste. Alexi is sick after pretty much anything, so the fact that he kept it down means everyone will be fine.’

Try them for yourself and vote using #ChapulinYES or #ChapuliNO on Twitter.

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