They are creepy, crawly and finding their way into our dishes at many restaurants throughout New York. Diners should not be surprised to find insects being incorporated into various types of dishes at these cultural restaurants.
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A Mexican oasis with multiple locations throughout Manhattan, Toloache offers authentic cultural cuisine — including their Chapuline Tacos. Adventurous eaters can hop along to this the restaurant and enjoy this taco made with Oaxaxan-style dried grasshoppers with onions, cilantro, jalapeno and salsa verde. While it may be the only dish that includes insects, Chef Julian Medina brings south of the border food to New York.
For over 30 years, Rosa Mexicano has served traditional Mexican cuisine in a modern atmosphere. Instead of a meal that is full of insects, Rosa Meixcano has unveiled their new beverage program, which includes house-infused salts to garnish their cocktails. One of the salts used is the smoked guajillo-sal de gusano, which is made with dehydrated mezcal worms, commonly found on agave plants. It’s is typically found in Mexico and something that everyone will enjoy.
There are so many things to fall in love with at Dromedary Bar, including their tiki-style decor and their Hawaiian-inspired dishes. It is hard to resist their deviled eggs, which are not your typical appetizer. Dyed with the Hawaiian cabbage, Mexican beet and Indian turmeric, each egg is garnished with two crickets to provide a salty and crunchy taste to the meal. This is dish is ideal for any newbie or seasoned bug eater.
The Black Ant
Nestled on Second Avenue is The Black Ant, a restaurant that offers traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern twist. Offering numerous dishes that use insects as an ingredient, the restaurant has become a popular East Village hotspot. To experience the flavorful dishes, people can enjoy an order of the Enchapulinados, which are tacos made with grasshopper-crusted shrimp, Chipotle aioli, cabbage slaw and avocado sour cream. Even the drinks get into the fun with garnishes of ant salt on the rims.
Mexican restaurants are not the only spot to find bugs on the menu. For people looking to expand their tastebuds, they can head to Koreatown’s Pocha 32 and try the Bundaegi. Also known as silkworm larvae, this dish is prepared in two traditional styles. Diners have the option of having the larvae sautéed in a hot chile soy sauce or served in a vegetable and anchovy broth. Both dishes are not for the faint eater, because they have to bite into the thicker skin larvae.
John Friia is a freelance journalist and native New Yorker writing about food, drinks and lifestyle. You can follow his adventures on Instagram.