One thing I’ve been grateful for when traveling abroad is my decidedly unfussy palate. It’s allowed me to try a lot of different local delicacies without twisting up my face and offending someone.
So I’ve had grasshoppers in Mexico and Indonesia, which were not bad. I don’t know that they’d ever be my go-to snack, but they’re definitely good for grabbing-and-going.
One place I never expected to find grasshoppers as a menu item? Portland, Oregon. I went to Portland because my best friend was getting married. She and I are both constantly on the move, so we hadn’t seen each other in a long time. We decided to go out to dinner the night before the bachelorette party to get some one-on-one time before the madness. We picked Mee Sen Thai. We arrived at 4:30 – still happy hour – yes! We ordered drinks first – the Tom Yum – which was an amazing blend of vodka, soda, Thai chilis, kaffir leaves, and more that I can’t remember. Then as we were searching for food, we saw them – fried. grasshoppers. Well we couldn’t pass that up, so we ordered them.
Given that the place seems to serve food that is pretty traditionally prepared, I should have known that they wouldn’t be all hidden in a crispy breaded shell. But given the restaurant’s location (Portland?) I figured it wouldn’t be a 100% traditional experience. The grasshoppers arrived, whole, and looking very much like the kind you find outside in the summer time. They were slightly red and charred – complete with the legs and eyes and antennae. They were a little less than flavorful, but the many sauces Mee Sen provides were an excellent addition. Not bad, Portland!
Apparently the grasshoppers are a pretty hot ticket item. They only serve them during happy hour, and our waitress had to check to make sure they still had them when we placed our order!