Unless it comes from the sea, most people have a hard time imagining eating anything with more than 4 legs.
Yet one food stand in Mexico City is pushing the limits of taste, by offering a tarantula taco.
Of course, the idea of edible insects is nothing new. Technically it’s known as entomophagy, and humans have been harvesting insect eggs and larvae, as well as full-grown bugs, for thousands of years.
Cultures the world over eat everything from grasshoppers and beetles to crickets and ants.
Some experts even say that humans shifting to a diet that includes insects can help combat climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide generated in the raising and processing of livestock.
One restaurant in the United States even recently introduced a tarantula burger. The tarantula taco, however, is a particular level of creepy-crawly, seeing as there isn’t anything besides some guacamole and lime to mask the flavor.
So what does the arachnid taste like?
“It tastes a bit like seafood, like crab, but with a texture of pork rind — very hard.”
The dish’s creator, Edith Torres, says the idea to make a tarantula taco came about after a customer tried one of her other delicacies, scorpion, and was inspired to request tarantula.
She then found a farm in Mexico’s Veracruz region that breeds tarantulas specifically for human consumption.
From there, she had to figure out the best way to prepare the 8-legged creature.
“After tasting scorpion, I was led to try tarantula. Because I had already seen that it is edible. First, we need to freeze them. It’s the least painful method of killing them. After, we serve them, baked and for the last step we flame-cook them. The belly’s bristles, you can see here, are like those in little oranges. Those bristles are toxic. We need to clean them very carefully, that’s why we flame them so they can be eaten. In fact, this is the natural flavor. Its tastes like pork because it is from the breeder.”
The food stand offers a wide array of insect dishes, including scorpions and ants. But the main draw is the tarantula.
And if the idea of eating a giant spider doesn’t send you running for the door, the price might. The tarantula taco costs 500 pesos, or about $25.
Still, the idea of eating something so exotic is enough to overcome the sticker shock.
Would you be brave enough to tackle the tarantula taco?