June 9th, 2011
03:00 AM ET
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Yesterday it was cicadas in the ice cream. Today's taboo is grasshoppers in the tacos - but there's a difference.

While Sparky's frozen critter crisp dessert was invented on a lark, "tacos de chapulines" are a popular cart and bar snack in Mexico City, Oaxaca and even in certain parts of the United States. Devotees cite the cooked bugs' appealing crunch and protein content - said to be twice that of beef.

However, local authorities aren't keen on where La Oaxaqueña Bakery and Restaurant owner Harry Persaud was sourcing his grasshoppers. While he has a permit to import them, the vendor he's using is not FDA-approved, and he has yet to locate a domestic, approved source. In the meantime, Persaud is reportedly considering raising his own.

More from KGO

Previously - Eating bugs may save us all and Mmmm...tacos...

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Filed under: Health News • Insects • Mexican • Taboos • Weird News

soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. Gourment

    Grasshoppers are great fried, they don't have to be in a taco! Grasshoppers don't carry any diseases that might be harmful to humans.
    Fried with some curry powder on them is pretty good, but just use salt and some black pepper and you've got a treat you won't believe!

    June 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • f4xtrafn

      How do you kill them? Or do buy them already dead. I think they would be fresher if bought alive – like lobster.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:39 am |
  2. Bubba

    I have eaten these tacos at a fairly nice restaurant just a few blocks north of the Natural Science building of the Smithsonian in DC. The tacos were excellent. The grasshoppers tasted similar to homemade bacon bits with a little chilli powder.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  3. joe

    i feel no need to expand my culinary experiences into grasshoopers, if you do go ahead, for me i have enough interesting things to eat, yuk!

    June 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  4. ShammaLammaDingDong

    It's really sad that the FDA bans grashopper tacos, which are enjoyed by different cultures around the world (insects are a staple in many countries including Mexico) but allows U.S. "food" producers to put items on the shelf that cause heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer- you name it. I'm sure grashopper tacos might not sit well with the palettes of most squeamish Americans, but I can almost guarantee they're healthier and probably quite tasty (once you get over the stigma of eating a bug) than most of the junk we eat on a daily basis. By the way did you know that the FDA has a tolerance level for the number of bugs tand rodent waste that can be in the food you eat? WE'RE ALREADY EATING BUGS PEOPLE!

    June 9, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  5. Evil Grin

    Raising his own grasshoppers would be a good idea. It's incredibly easy.

    He should also talk to reptile keepers. There are a lot of places to buy grasshoppers. Humans may not eat them, but many reptiles do, so there are also cricket, mealworm, bloodworm and grasshopper breeders. Depending on the source, these insects are kept incredibly clean and gutloaded with a ton of vitamins.

    June 9, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  6. adlen

    The comments are a lot of fun , except for the nasty mouth. ! Ethnic food can be eye opening. What we need is more information and instruction re: the unfamiliar. Try it you may like it,or not. No one knows what chemicals and fillers go into fast food ,and long shelf life food you purchase at the grocery stores, No one wants to know,they just eat their rotting fruit that never ripens normally and pay high prices,in more ways than one. Ahhh! American food..

    June 9, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • jablome

      I agree, people should watch their effing mouth, those nasty crappy fart blowing booger eating turd whacking shit breaths..

      June 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  7. Banana Man

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    June 9, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Sonia

      I can see your point! Peanut butter and jelly trumps any bug every time!

      May 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  8. Dave McGuire


    June 9, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  9. MedicineMan

    I ate them in USAF Survivsl School in the early 80's and let me tell you "They don't taste like chicken".

    June 9, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Jerv

      Really dude? Was it like one or two, or did you have to eat them for a whole week with nothing else?

      June 9, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  10. Jeannie

    I haven't been that hungry yet.

    June 9, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • Jerv

      Yup, I'm with ya' on that one. Maybe one day I will have to eat them, but I ain't eatin' 'em until then.

      June 9, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  11. svann

    Millions going hungry and we have to legislate against bugs because they are yucky?

    June 9, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • Hope

      Genius, did you even read the post?

      June 9, 2011 at 8:57 am |
      • svann

        Oh yea right. Like the FDA does such a good job of protecting our food supply.

        June 9, 2011 at 9:18 am |
      • Hope

        Not perfect, but definitely better than nothing. Look at the slop the Chinese are shoving in their pieholes.

        June 9, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • joe

      Scientific Fact, i know not for CNN, teh world produces enough food to feed everybody 2500 calories a day, no food shortage!

      June 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  12. JST1


    June 9, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Hope

      You should run for office.

      June 9, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • The Lisper

      Your opinion SUCKS,Capt Caplock.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  13. Jack

    So, huge food companies can import ingredients from China, but a small business is slammed for doing the same thing out of necessity?

    June 9, 2011 at 8:34 am |
  14. RabbiDick

    Remember to suck out the brains and eyeballs also. Bless you my child.

    June 9, 2011 at 7:48 am |
  15. NetReacher

    They need to be cooked well as grasshoppers can contain E Coli. Pulling the head off allows the entrails to be removed at same time.

    June 9, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  16. Delta

    No thanks. It doesn't matter what kind of bug/insect, all I'd be able to picture is that I'm eating a cockroach.

    June 9, 2011 at 7:38 am |
  17. Julie

    certain grasshoppers like the lubber has toxind that cause neurological problems like alzheimers, dementia like symptoms when they are bright colored it means they are poisonous. so be careful but enjoy

    June 9, 2011 at 7:33 am |
  18. Ubstupid

    Bibles and peta, good to see no one straying from the subject. All we need is a few more trolls, some anti US sentiment, and lets not forget to use our 3rd grade spelling skills. I'll gladly eat bugs when we run out of dead cow.

    June 9, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  19. Steve

    The headline misses the point – the health department banned them because it could not verify that the grasshoppers were raised in a fashion acceptable for human consumption. Not because eating insects is taboo here. As such, the headline is sensationalism.

    Personally, if insects were a readily available protein source here, I would try them. The few times I have had insects in candy, there was no flavor, just texture. Maybe a proper recipe would help, such as these tacos.

    June 9, 2011 at 7:18 am |
    • Cole

      Seconded. My first impression was that they just banned it for the sake of it, but then I remember places like Toloache and others where it's served. Ultimately, this is no different than any other ingredient – Got to get them from a good source and not just from anyone.

      June 9, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • joe

      correct, would anybody eat a NYC squirrel? Food must be raised properly to be safe. Even though I say yuk!

      June 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Bill in SF

      At least one of the Oaxacan restaurants in San Jose has fried grasshoppers on the menu. I'm vegetarian, so I don't eat them, but my wife got a bowl of them once. She wasn't very impressed, but they were crunchy and fried. Oaxacan is a lot different from the usual US Tex-Mex stuff – lots of black beans, and the corn masa dishes are different shapes and textures.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  20. bubba

    I have always wanted to grab one of those big black and orange grasshoppers and squeeze the intrails out on a cracker.

    June 9, 2011 at 6:08 am |
  21. Mahna Mahna

    The problem with modern methods of food production is the simple fact that it is farm raised. There is no reason to be raising your own when there are plenty out there. Insects, arachnids etc... are staple in many countries. Are these authorities being paid off by the farming industry?

    June 9, 2011 at 6:01 am |
  22. Alan

    hotlix sells scorpion lollipops. they are pretty good too.

    June 9, 2011 at 5:51 am |
  23. Fat Bobby Joe

    I prefer long pig.

    June 9, 2011 at 5:47 am |
    • Smelly feet

      I like hairless goat.

      June 9, 2011 at 8:06 am |
  24. Jaiotu

    I've inadvertantly eaten live bugs in the past while eating some peanut butter wafers. The wafers tasted just fine and it was not until I had finished about half the package of wafers before I discovered that the entire package was infested with larva.
    Honestly, they had been feeding on peanut butter so that's exactly what they tasted like. If I hadn't seen the bugs themselves, I never would have noticed.
    The hardest part about eating insects is not the taste, it's overcoming the aversion toward eating them. I can't say that I would volunteer to eat a meal that includes insects but retraining our diets to include various insects could move us along in terms of sustainability as populations grow and the competition for resources increases.

    June 9, 2011 at 5:36 am |
    • bill

      Excellent points....it is not the taste...I have eaten grashoppers, crickets, mealworms, etc... and they are crunchy like chips and if seasoned correctly they are delicious.

      If you can convince someone to trust you and taste food blind they will be amazed at what they like!

      June 9, 2011 at 5:49 am |
      • The Half Baked Lunatic

        For two hundred thousnd years, homo sapiens have eaten bugs as a primary source of protein. It's only in the last few hundred years that our "politically correct" society has decided that it's gross (except in Africa and Latin America, where they still enjoy the savory treat).

        June 9, 2011 at 8:57 am |
      • joe

        all raw meat is digusting that's how culinary science started. Ancient peoples needed a way to get protein past their developing palates, and man invented cooking and flavoring.

        June 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      I love how people like you love to comment on this. One minded. Animals feel to just like you and me. You may be right about it not being murder. And i agreed with you until you said then you elevate animals lifes. Just cause they can't talk does not mean there just as not important. I like meat to don't get me wrong but you should respect where it came from. You killed something to get it. It is murder. You could look at the same thing about humans. An animal kills a human for food how is that murder then. He is doing it to survive. Animals are just important and their lives shouldn't be held below anything else. Yes we eat meat to survive, but doesn't mean we have to act like animals our selves and not value where it comes from

      June 9, 2011 at 7:59 am |
      • Jeff

        But we are animals.

        June 9, 2011 at 8:03 am |
      • sretakson

        Hey, Did you mean closed- minded or one sided? One minded is what most people are, if not please explain your concept of two or three minded. Did someone say an animal killing a human was murder? If so that is dumbest thing I have ever heard.

        June 9, 2011 at 8:08 am |
      • blowme

        Thanks for pointing that were all animals. Now I won't feel bad when I stuff an apple in your mouth and bbq you..

        June 9, 2011 at 8:20 am |
      • fingerblast

        Ive never heard of a person murdering an animal. It simply is killed.

        June 9, 2011 at 8:23 am |
      • Steve@CC

        Shut yer piehole and feed yourself to the hungry lions.

        June 9, 2011 at 8:24 am |
      • Freebird@CC

        Bask in the light of your own idiocy.

        June 9, 2011 at 8:28 am |
      • Jaiotu

        I never said that animals don't feel. Of course they feel. That's not the point.
        If an animal kills a human for food, I don't think of that as murder either. In the wild we humans are just as much on the menu for predators as they are for us. I don't expect a lion to elevate human life to the same level as the members of his or her pride. Likewise, I don't elevate the life of that lion to the same level as members of my family, my city, my country or my species.
        Equating the killing of a completely different species to being "murder" is simply unreasonable. The only animal I can think of to which the killing of said animal *MIGHT* come close to being "murder" would be the domesticated dog since it's congnitive evolution is so closely tied to the sociological evolution of mankind. The dog more than any other animal comes closest to demonstrating the ability to empathically connect with it's human masters.

        June 9, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
      • Hope@Jaiotu

        Well said. I hope you stick around to spar with some of the nasty vegans that post here.

        June 10, 2011 at 7:37 am |
  25. sudhir

    When I was a child I loved it. Being in America for a very long time has changed my appetite.. and thinking of insecticide

    June 9, 2011 at 4:49 am |
  26. Majormojo

    Ick. If I want twice the protein of beef, I'll eat twice as much beef.

    June 9, 2011 at 4:40 am |
  27. sharkhunter

    They are Kosher ( Knees and cloven hoves). well atlease Locus ( A type of Hopper) are.

    June 9, 2011 at 4:36 am |
    • RabbiDick

      WTH is a Locus? Is that a Jewish locust or a midget Mexican cursing out loud?

      June 9, 2011 at 6:20 am |
      • Rocket Scientist@RabbiDick

        Since you asked (albeit sarcastically),
        locus: "lo·cus/ˈlōkəs/Noun
        1. A particular position, point, or place.
        2. The effective or perceived location of something abstract

        I'm sure the word the person you were replying to meant locust. Thank you for being the smaller person by pointing that out.

        June 9, 2011 at 7:12 am |
      • RabbiDick

        Bless You GrassHoppa!

        June 9, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  28. Jez

    I'm Vegan. Humans murder everything they can and call it "food". So you eat an insect – I think its worse to murder a cow or a sheep. Get real!

    June 9, 2011 at 4:34 am |
    • Jaiotu

      What makes killing an animal for food "Murder?" That's a complete redefinition of terminology.
      While I would agree that Western civilization is overly dependent on meat as a source of nourishment it goes against biology and nature to equate the consumption of meat with the philosophical concept of murder. A carnivorous animal is not a "murderer" because it kills and eats another Animal. It is doing what it must do to survive. Likewise a human being that dines on a hamburger is not a murderer. Human beings are omnivores. Eating meat is often a more efficient way to consume the vitamins, minerals and protiens that our bodies need to survive.
      The accepted definition of "murder" is the taking of one human being's life by another human being. To apply the term to the taking of animal life by a human being requires the elevation of animal life, the demotion of human life or both. Such a massive shift in worldview that is contradicted in natural selection and biology is simply warrantless.

      June 9, 2011 at 5:16 am |
      • lexicondevil

        Awesome. Just awesome. Thank you.

        June 9, 2011 at 5:42 am |
      • Lydia

        If it was possible to high-five someone over the internet, I totally would. Thank you, Jaiotu.

        June 9, 2011 at 6:41 am |
      • Erin

        +10 Internets for Jaiotu. Way to defeat the troll!

        June 9, 2011 at 8:16 am |
      • The Half Baked Lunatic

        Thank you Jaiotu – well said. I also have said many times that it's not healthy to eat so much meat, and Americans especially need to cut down on the amount of meat we consume. But we are, by our very nature, omnivores who require both meat and vegetable proteins in our diet, and neither extreme is healthy.

        That said, the grasshoppers DO look pretty tasty.

        June 9, 2011 at 8:51 am |
      • Mei

        Another great reply by Jaiotu. I've enjoyed your comments.

        June 9, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Mahna Mahna

      If we weren't mass producing meat there would be nothing wrong with eating something you caught, like fish, bore, deer etc... and although insects should not be considered inferior just because they're small, they are an amazing source of protein and are actually really tasty.

      June 9, 2011 at 6:03 am |
    • Craigj

      Noun: The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another

      June 9, 2011 at 6:28 am |
      • Wiser than you

        VERB : To kill, to take a life

        June 9, 2011 at 8:14 am |
      • james

        murder: a group or flock of crows

        June 9, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Steeve-o

      Cobainfucius say, "Poop as hard as rock."

      June 9, 2011 at 8:02 am |
      • Steves little booger brother

        Cobainfucius say "go to bed with itchy butt, wake up with stinky finger."

        June 9, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • Mike

      How can you spot a vegan? They'll tell you

      June 9, 2011 at 8:03 am |
      • Jeff

        They'll shout it at you.

        June 9, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Wiser than you

      While it is true that we do not have to kill to live, killing an animal for meat is not murder, it is wise to thank the animal for what it provides as the Native American would, but it is not murder to kill and eat a living thing. For sport, yes, that IS murder indeed, the needless killing of ANY living thing is indeed murder.

      June 9, 2011 at 8:17 am |
      • Just the facts Maam

        Which Native Americans are you referring to? I asked my Arapaho wife if she had thanked the cow for the Big Mac she'd ordered yesterday. She said it had not occurred to her, but she had thanked the woman at the drive up window – which she felt was sufficient. Perhaps you are referring to ancient inhabitants of this area (They were neither "Indian" nor "American") some of whom would regularly stampede thousands of buffalo (Bison) off of a cliff in order to butcher just a few. But at least they said "Thank you". Just a little nit-picking, I actually agree with you – particularly when it comes to hunting. While all of us meat eaters are guilty of having animals killed for us, those that ENJOY killing animals – have more serious mental issues.

        June 9, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Roman

      and you murder plants, they have life too, so don't eat anything you cow hugging moron

      June 9, 2011 at 8:40 am |
      • Flea

        well its not actually murdering a plant .. its more like giving it an abortion .. taking it's young from it while it is still developing and then ... well you get the picture.

        June 9, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Hope

      I bet vegans taste like chicken. Chicken sh it that is.

      June 9, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • Eta Carina

      Murder? A cow? My G0D! That makes me a serial killer! (by proxy) Yesterday I killed perhaps hundreds of ants that had invaded my kitchen. Is that genocide? I frequently wash my hands with anti-microbial soap with the full intent of killing every germ possible. Is that a hate crime?

      June 9, 2011 at 8:54 am |
      • LOL


        June 9, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Aezel

      Why is it worse to kill a cow or sheep for food than an insect? They both are non-self aware animal life. This gets in my opinion to the REAL reason most vegans are "vegan" in the first place: the cuddly factor. You turn off you brain and get bent out of shape about eating things that appear to be a cuddly animal to you.

      Humans are omnivores man. Any argument against that fact is just undeniably false. Only rich white kids in the developed world can afford to spend their time with ludacris movements like veganism. There aren't any vegans in the 3rd world kiddo, you eat what you can get.

      June 9, 2011 at 9:20 am |
      • Hope

        Vegans are pure evil.

        June 9, 2011 at 9:23 am |
      • Kevin

        Actually the real reason many people from India are vegetarian/vegan is because they simply can't afford meat or dairy. It's not just suburban white kids because thats all YOU hear.

        June 9, 2011 at 9:31 am |
      • NewsToMe

        Ludacris only hangs with rich white kids? News to me.

        June 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
      • Sonia

        Humans ARE ominivores. As long as we don't abuse or mistreat the animals I believe it's okay to eat animals.

        May 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Baxter

      ...and you have varying degrees of what is acceptable "murder". Your a real piece of work.

      June 9, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • c oz

      If we weren't suppoed to eat animals, then why did god make them out of meat?.....

      June 9, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • jacobu7893

      Plants are living organisms and we need to kill them in order to eat them. Your statement "Humans murder everything they can and call it "food" means you are also a murderer too!

      June 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  29. Black Joes

    Don't swear it's bad and unholy like condoms, anal holes, ha ha ha ha ha peace oput suchers

    June 9, 2011 at 4:26 am |
  30. Black Joes

    Don't swear it's bad and unholy like condoms

    June 9, 2011 at 4:25 am |
  31. bob buttmark

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    June 9, 2011 at 4:23 am |
  32. john


    June 9, 2011 at 4:18 am |
    • my name is fred

      you are hooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooosssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

      June 9, 2011 at 4:21 am |
  33. David

    The only insect that God approves as edible in the Bible in the Old Testament is the grasshopper.

    June 9, 2011 at 4:09 am |
    • Jez

      Do you really try to pretend that you run your life based on a 2000 year old book?!!! I doubt you have ever read the dull book from beginning to end. People make up "biblical" passages to match their already existing beliefs. You are ridiculous.

      June 9, 2011 at 4:37 am |
      • Jaiotu

        Chill. Out.
        David merely mentioned the Bible. He did not say that he lives his life by a 2000-year-old book.
        And the portion of the Bible he's referencing is much older than 2000-years. It's just the New Testament that is 2000-years old and in those pages Jesus declares all food "clean," which means that you can feel free to eat any bugs you so choose.
        Seriously... you have to go off on somebody just for MENTIONING the Bible?

        June 9, 2011 at 4:56 am |
        • Sonia

          People look to the Scriptures for guidance and wisdom. No one deserves ridicule for citing kashrut law- I'm not even Jewish, either. The Pilgrims came to America to escape religious persecution, thus, the beginning of our great nation. Nowadays, people are so ignorant in their demeanor toward those that mention any of the Holy Scriptures that it is terrible and rampant.

          May 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • Wiser than you

        Hi there, your comment on the dull book (I assume the Bible, or at least the Jewish one) is ignorant. The book of which you speak actually warns against eating FAT too. It seems there is some science to back that one. while I don't take the book to be literal, I do find some interesting and true advice in there. Hate and bias can keep you from learning.

        June 9, 2011 at 8:10 am |
      • Mei

        I agree with Jaiotu. David has a right to point that out if he wants. Jez needs to read the Bible himself apparently.

        June 9, 2011 at 9:11 am |
      • Baxter

        You need a life. If all you have to do is search the web to find believers to bash, you live a pretty sad esistance. Get a hobby, make pottery, go swimming, learn to laugh.

        June 9, 2011 at 9:21 am |
      • Hungry

        Regardless of what David may or may not believe, taking diet advice from the bible (what you can eat and when you can eat it) is about as irrational and ignorant as can be...

        June 9, 2011 at 9:25 am |
      • LOL

        Why is there always some nutcase that has to bring religion into EVERYTHING. This is about GRASSHOPPER TACOS. We don't care that you believe in 2000 year old fairy tales, how is that even remotely relevant to GRASSHOPPER TACOS?

        June 9, 2011 at 9:26 am |
      • Hope@LOL

        Probably a republican.

        June 9, 2011 at 9:30 am |
      • joe

        Some dull pasages about linegae, etc.

        But most, war, mass killings, whore mongering, screwing others wives and killing their husbands, asking the second son to sleep with the first sons wife and getting killed for dropping the seed. Suicide missions, mass fires. Beautiful poetry about woman, etc, hardly dull!

        June 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
      • Bill in SF

        Wow, somebody makes a reference to eating grasshoppers being a very old and accepted cultural practice and you have to drag out your hatred of religion? He's not telling you that you have to eat grasshoppers just because they're kosher. And by the way, that part of the Bible is more like 3000-3500 years old.

        June 9, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • RichardHead

      I saw the movie,I missed the book.

      June 9, 2011 at 6:11 am |
    • Alexander

      Locusts and crickets too.

      June 9, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • LOL

      If you're gonna bring up religion in comments that are supposed to be about grasshopper tacos you deserve ridicule. CNN has a 'belief blog' you know. Try that.

      June 9, 2011 at 9:31 am |
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