I Ate a Grasshopper

grasshopper tacos

I took this before I dug in–can you guess which one is grasshopper?

Today I found myself in a brand-new Mexican-fusion restaurant in St. Louis called Gringo. I’ve heard great things about it, and I noticed that they had pork belly on the menu. They serve pork belly a lot on Top Chef, and I’ll do pretty much anything to pretend I’m on Top Chef.

So as I was scanning the menu for the pork belly taco, I noticed something else: There was a grasshopper taco on the menu.

Normally this would be the object of a few jokes that would result in me ordering the alcoholic beverage called the grasshopper, which is cool and minty and delicious and has nothing to do with the insect.

But you may recall that just two weeks ago I posted a blog entry called “Would You Eat a Cricket?” about an innovative startup that’s trying to find creative ways to serve insects as food.

So I had to eat a grasshopper taco.

Now, I have to applaud Gringo for doing as daring as this. Bold move. Really bold move.

And when I took my first bite, my first reaction was, “Hey, not bad! This tastes like food.”

Then I took a bite of pork belly. Now that tastes like food. When I returned to the grasshopper, I realized rather quickly that the taste in my mouth was not deliciousness. The best way I can describe it is this: Have you ever butterflied a shrimp and pulled out that dark vein of shrimp poop?

It tastes like that. Grasshopper tastes like shrimp poop.

But I’m glad I tried it. If you live in St. Louis and go to Gringo, you should try it too. It’s certainly a unique flavor and texture. And then you get to tell everyone that you ate a grasshopper.


11 Responses to “I Ate a Grasshopper”

  1. rupertfuller says:

    All I can say is Euuuuuuuuu!

  2. T-Mac says:

    The scary thing is that I cannot identify the grasshopper taco or the pork belly taco. If I had no idea what you were eating, I’d have guessed that the far left taco is chicken, the middle taco is potato/veggie, and the far right is bbq pork. Did the grasshopper burrow into one of these items and die? Where is it?

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      The grasshopper is the one on the far right. It does look like pulled pork, but every strand that looks like pulled pork is a grasshopper leg (no joke). There was lots of sauce on it, but no other meat. 100% grasshopper.

  3. Elaine says:

    Yeah – I’m going to need to know which one is the grasshopper. It’s definitely unsettling that I’m not able to identify it right away. And was it straight up grasshopper, or was there another meat mixed in?

  4. Ansley says:

    I’m proud of you! I mean, obviously you won’t be going back for seconds, but you at least tried it. I think too often we live our lives in the comfort zone and never venture out. While not every journey into the unknown results in a new exciting discovery, it does show that we are growing, not stagnant, and actually very interesting people.

    Kudos, Jamey!

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Thanks Ansley! I honestly didn’t even question it. I saw it on the menu, and immediately I was like, “I’m eating that!”

  5. Colleen says:

    Good for you for trying a grasshopper taco – you’re very brave!

    I can’t tell which taco is the grasshopper taco, either. At first glance … I’ll guess the one on the right.

  6. Katy says:

    My guess is the one in the middle is the grasshopper… The tofu-like chunks look very similar to the way the other company makes their cricket “meat.”

    Congratulations on being brave enough to give it a try!

  7. Jasmin says:

    I’m going to go with the first right is chicken, then pork belly, and last but not least grasshopper. You are a brave man eating that grasshopper. You know, they sell bug lollipops/candy at the Botanical Garden. Whenever you feel adventurous again, feel free to purchase one, eat it, and tell us about it.

    Now, I’m craving for some tofu tacos. Yummy.

  8. Joe Babbitt says:

    Our lovely mutual acquaintance Katy joined me for an impromptu dinner date last night. After our numerous attempts to find a late night Thai eatery were all foiled, we eventually decided on Gringo’s, as it was a non-Applebee’s option open past 9:30.

    It was a fun night and I greatly enjoyed her company, but that’s not really the point. All of the tacos actually looked pretty fantastic. I couldn’t decide, so I closed my eyes and put my finger down twice. Katy was crestfallen when I blindly chose the taco NEXT to the Chapulines (grasshopper). With a little gentle goading, I swapped up one of the choices to the bug taco. Let it never be said that I’m not culinarily adventurous, or not a sucker for a pretty face apparently. I wouldn’t agree with shrimp poop, because I avoid that with a passion rarely seen these days. I won’t order shrimp from a place where I think there’s even a chance that they don’t devein them. That said, I found them a little salty for my taste. Not bad, but not my cup of tea. It didn’t help that I had a second non-grasshopper taco that was excellent and further exacerbated my feelings of “meh” regarding the grasshopper taco. It did make me curious as to other examples of meat replacement via insects. It wasn’t repulsive by any means.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      First, I’m glad you chose Gringos over Applebees.

      Second, I’m glad you went the adventurous route with the tacos. I think the comparison to shrimp poop was more in line with the gritty, earthy taste of the grasshopper. But I agree that next to a “normal” meat taco, it’s tough for the grasshopper to be considered delicious. I applaud them for putting it on the menu, though, and you for trying it!

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