We all have that friend (maybe it’s you!) who has to try everything, from offal dishes to those crafted with the Next Big Thing. While insects such as ants, grasshoppers, and crickets are already popular in parts of Mexico and elsewhere in the world, this sustainable source of protein has recently swarmed menus across the U.S. and Canada. Grab your favorite adventurous eater and hit up one of these restaurants serving insects for an adventurous meal to remember. Not near any of them? OpenTable has you covered with more than 50,000 restaurants for any craving or occasion.
Gusanos de Maguey at Bakan, Miami, Florida Bakan has two creepy-crawlers on the menu. In the gusanos de maguey (pictured), agave worms are pan-fried to crispy perfection with guacamole and served on a blue corn tortilla. The escamoles feature ant eggs sautéed in butter, shallots, epazote, and guacamole served on a blue corn tortilla. The latter are harvested from Real del Monte, a town in Hidalgo, Mexico, while the former comes from Oaxaca, Mexico. Make a reservation at Bakan.
Chapuline Tacos at Oyamel, Washington, D.C.
Named for the oyamel tree of central Mexico (where Monarch butterflies flock in the winter months), Oyamel serves the Oaxacan specialty of sautéed chapulines (AKA grasshoppers), shallots, tequila, and guacamole under the direction of legendary chef José Andrés. Make a reservation at Oyamel.
Black Ant Guacamole at The Black Ant, New York, New York
Insect options abound at Jorge Guzman’s East Village eatery. The aptly named black ant guacamole (pictured) comes topped with ant salt. Several dishes also feature chapulines, including grasshopper-crusted shrimp and Yucca-manchego grasshopper croquets. Make a reservation at The Black Ant.
Toasted Chapuline Tacos at La Condesa, Austin, Texas
Adventurous diners-in-the-know ask for this make-your-own-taco, secret menu item. Featuring toasted chapulines, avocado purée, garlic epazote, and lime juice, it’s served with Barton Springs Mill corn tortillas and two salsas. Make a reservation at La Condesa.
Guacamole with Crickets at El Catrin, Toronto, Ontario Chef Olivier Le Calvez offers crickets as an optional addition to his tableside guacamole because he appreciates the texture, depth of flavor, and protein they bring to the dish. When he’s able to source them, he also uses sal de gusano (worm salt) in salad dressings and chicatana (ants) in salsas or in specials. Make a reservation at El Catrin.
Susan Johnston Tayloris an Austin-based freelance writer who has covered food and business for publications including The Boston Globe, Civil Eats, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fresh Cup, and Pizza Today. Follow her@UrbanMuseWriter.
Photo credits: All photos courtesy of the featured restaurants; Casey Tanaka (El Catrin).