From Monday 11th March, we’re launching a new experimental dish at our Southbank restaurant. Chapulines fundido is made with one of Mexico’s most sustainably farmed, yet unusual ingredients, grasshoppers.
We take fried chapulines and cook them with softened shallots, garlic and smoky chipotle chillies to create a delicious salsa, which is served with queso fundido, a mixture of gratinated mozzarella and cheddar cheese, perfect for scooping up with corn tortillas.
The Wahaca Southbank Experiment has always been a testing ground for new and interesting dishes for you to try before we decide whether to put them on the menu in our other restaurants, so we want to hear what you think of them. This time we’re asking you to cast your vote on twitter by using our cunningly devised hashtags, #ChapulinYES or #ChapuliNO to let us know what you think.
Chapulines are considered a much sought after delicacy in Mexico and are a real favourite of Tommi’s who always hunts them out on the menu when we’re over there. But as well as being a very tasty source of protein, from an environmental point of view, entomophagy (insect eating) is seen by many leading experts as the only logical answer to the critical pressure our growing population is putting on food supplies.
Insects are already eaten regularly by 80% of the world, but at the moment they’re seen as a novely food in the UK. Tommi gave us her take on her new dish, saying “It’s just not in our psyche at the moment, but we don’t have any issues eating shrimps or prawns so I think it’s just a question of creating a dish that will appeal over here. The chapulines fundido is a great introduction to the beautiful earthy flavour of these insects as it tastes amazing and a salsa is much more palatable for the more squeamish diners out there.”
As grasshoppers aren’t currently farmed in the UK, for our first month long trial the only practical way to put them on the menu was to buy them from an accredited cooperative of farmers in Oaxaca, but our hope is that in the future if the dish proves popular we’ll be able to work to set up a supplier closer to home, making them even more sustainable.
We hope that getting people thinking about insects in another light is a great step in the right direction of sustainable food production and hopefully one that will change our food map forever.
So get yourself down to The Wahaca Southbank Experiment this month and try them for yourself and don’t forget to tell us what you think by leaving a comment below, or get voting on twitter.
by: Tuesday, 5 March 2013