Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A half-dozen Latin American restaurants in Canada are serving chapulines – a.k.a. grasshoppers (or, occasionally, crickets) – which, honestly, taste a lot like any crunchy, salty snack.

Eating bugs, food futurists have said, is the next big thing.

The problem with this prediction, though, is that trend-watchers have been saying it for so many years now, it's easy to think the insect food fad must have already come and gone. No, it hasn't really landed yet, but now, finally, the bug trend might have legs.

A half-dozen Latin American restaurants in Canada are serving chapulines – a.k.a. grasshoppers (or, occasionally, crickets) – which, honestly, taste a lot like any crunchy, salty snack.

Story continues below advertisement

At Vancouver's La Mezcaleria, executive chef Mariana Gabilondo uses insects in her salsa borracha, a dried chili-and-cricket salsa made with beer and honey that's used in special tacos. In Toronto, the Bloordale neighbourhood's Tierra Azteca sells a chapulin hot sauce and at El Catrin in the Distillery District, you can have crickets added to the house-made guacamole. At Baro on King Street West and Kensington Market's El Rey, chapulines are sold as bar snacks.

"We serve them the same way that you would find them in the markets of Oaxaca, where it's a bag snack, like popcorn," says co-owner Owen Walker of El Rey, which specializes in that Mexican region's food and drink. "We season them with chili, lime, garlic and salt, then toast them up in a little oil for that extra crunch."

Patrons at El Rey have a range of reactions. Walker admits many customers can't get past the idea of eating a bug, while others are inspired by the Fear Factor ethos. Some Mexican expats order them for nostalgia's sake, while a few, such as Walker himself, genuinely love the earthy qualities and grassy flavour of the toasted insect, especially once it's been liberally coated in salt and spice.

At first, the restaurant tried to source local bugs, but found only the inferior (in Walker's view) crickets – he prefers an authentic wild-caught (seriously) Mexican chapulin, which only recently became available in Canada. They're sold here by importer Sovereign Wine and Spirits, which actually has a couple of insect products in its portfolio. That's not as strange a business decision as it sounds, since insects and agave spirits are often paired together in Mexico.

Here in Canada, restaurateurs try to honour the tradition as faithfully as possible. At La Mezcaleria, for example, mezcal flights come with sal de gusano (worm salt) and/or sal de chicatana, which is salt mixed with crushed giant flying ants.

The rising popularity of tequila and mezcal is, in large part, driving this suddenly viable bug-food trend. Of course, it doesn't hurt that chapulines are tiny, slightly oily bits of spicy, salty crunchiness. If you didn't look, in fact, you might think you were eating a very small wasabi pea, or a nicely spiced morsel of pork crackling.

Assuming, of course, you didn't get a tiny leg stuck in your teeth.

Story continues below advertisement

"I happen to really like the legs and wings," Walker says, noting some suppliers do the labour-intensive job of removing them. "I think it's funny when they get stuck, since it gives people something to talk about."

It's not only the perfect bar food, it's also the perfect gateway bug.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies