Jan Norris: Food and Florida

Food, Restaurants, Recipes and Pre-Disney Florida

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Fried Grasshoppers at Hugo’s in Houston

October 18th, 2008 · 2 Comments

What an incredible meal I had tonight with my (former) food editor friend Deb Moose at Hugo’s Mexican Restaurant in Houston. From ceviche to churros — it was an experience. Watch my blog soon for more details, photos and recipes.

But about those grasshoppers — yes, they’re on the regular menu. Chapulines are pan sauteed grasshoppers served with guacamole, tortillas and chipotle-tomatillo salsa. The chef here, Rubin Ortega (Hugo’s brother), tells this story: “When I was a young boy in Puebla, the streets had booths that sold food on both sides. You could buy grasshoppers for a snack — they were toasted on a comal, and handed to you in a newspaper cone. You squeeze lemon juice on them, and put some salt- shake them up a little, and crunch, crunch! Ten pesos!”

The ones served at the restaurant are “farm-raised grasshoppers,” he claims. (Begging the question from Deb — “Are they free-range grasshoppers?”)

The bugs are raised in sunflower fields, so taste slightly sweet, just like sunflower seeds, he tells us. (Truth: We had finished dinner when the chef came to talk to us about the foods; we couldn’t eat another morsel – much less, fried grasshoppers.)

The chef said, “They are traditional in Mexico for everyone as a snack; they’re really good. But when my brother said he was putting them on our menu, I said, ‘Are you nuts?!’ ” Apparently, they’re enough of a novelty that enough folks order them to keep them on the list.

Deb says, however, it will take more than the one great margarita we had to eat them. Next time, we promised.

Tags: Talking Tables

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ben // Oct 20, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Well, I am speechless… however, I must ask, did any indicate if they tasted like chicken?!

  • 2 Trav // Aug 2, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Really all you can taste is lime and sautéd onions.
    They looked more like crickets and were as soft as the onions.
    I would like to try the “street” crunchy style.

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