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Grasshoppers Now Available in Nuevo Progresso

One of several buckets filled with toasted grasshoppers on sale in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

The Mexican border town of Nuevo Progreso has been a magnet for Winter Texans and for residents from all over the Rio Grande Valley.

Some of them go to seek dental work from the dozen or so clinics that charge as low as one-third of what U.S. dental clinics charge. Others go to buy over the counter and prescribed medications that are a lot cheaper than in the United States.

Many others like to go to Progreso to shop for Mexican curios, liquor, to drink and to eat either at a restaurant or at a sidewalk vendor or street taquerias where an order of six tacos go for as little as $4.

Streets vendors abound on both sides of the four-street tourist district.

On a day, month or year, they sell some of the same products, while on others they offer new items most of which are made or produced south of the border and as far south as from Chiapas, a Mexican state that has Guatemala as its southern neighbor.

One such product that has been hitting the streets of Nuevo Progreso or Las Flores as it’s known on the Mexican side, are toasted grasshoppers – yes folks – grasshoppers.

Known as chapulines in Mexico and as saltamontes in Central and South America, these insects are now being sold by several men and women who said they come from some of Mexicos’s grasshopper producing states like Puebla and Oaxaca.

Benito Cervantes, who has been selling chapulines since early this year, said some tourists make faces whenever he offers the brownish looking insect that have a sour and spicy salty taste.

According to Wikipedia, such taste comes from the way these chapulines are prepared as they are toasted on a comal with garlic, lime juice and salt and agave worm extract.

Toasted saltamontes have become a fashionable trend these days by people who like weird food, but the pesky insects are known to be consumed as far back as the 16th century.

So on your next trip to Nuevo Progreso, grab a handful of grasshoppers and wash them down with a spirit of your choice.

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