Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Grasshoppers and Crocodile...for Dinner

Outside the wind is blowing as if someone is paying it to blow. It steadily increased its willingness to blow as the day came to a close. On the one hand it takes the edge off a warm day, but it also stirs the white Monterrey dust up into a small frenzy.

Tonight for dinner my colleagues took me to a traditional Mexican cantina, the Botanero Santa Lucia in the Barrio Antigua, the cobbled-stoned, oldest part of Monterrey city. On the menu they had some interesting or what they called exotic, foods. Among the exotic items on the menu were grasshoppers and maguey worms from Oaxaca, one of the southern states of Mexico, where they are known to eat unusual foods. Other menu items were escamoles (black ant larves harvested from the agave plant (from which they make tequila), and crocodile. The other usual stuff like steaks, pork, etc. was of course also on the menu.

Now the whole week I have been struggling with stomach problems. I lay no blame on Mexican food. It is something I could have picked up anywhere or maybe it is a return of Mr. Helicobacter pylori, a baddy that came to visit me back in January of this year too. Nevertheless, someone around the table thought it would be a good idea to expose me to some of the more traditional delicacies of southern Mexico and they ordered the grasshoppers from Oaxaca, to be eaten with guacamole (avocado with spices and onions) in a tortilla. The grasshoppers were fried and it tasted a little bit like carne seca (Mexican dried meat) and a little like dried fish, the kind you get on the west coast of South Africa, called harders. The grasshoppers were not bad at all. Although I had a steak for the main course, I did taste the crocodile too because one of the guys ordered a crocodile kebab. Taste just like chicken.

But it all made for an interesting evening.

The Exotic Foods page of the menu at the restaurant Betanero Sta Lucia.

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