All 250,000 beetle species are edible in both the larva and adult stages, and are eaten raw or cooked. Sometimes sold by street vendors deep fried or steamed, the bugs have a long culinary history, going back to prehistoric times. Different species of the beetle family are found in Colombia, Venezuela and Paraguay.
Roasted and ground into meal, grasshoppers are eaten as mush or baked into cakes. They are also eaten dried and salted. They are an excellent source of protein when dried. In some parts of the world fried grasshoppers are canned commercially and sold in supermarkets and local grocery stores.
Ant eggs are one of the most common insect products found in Mexican markets. Ant larvae are canned and exported and served as a delicacy. Mexicans often cook ant eggs in butter and serve them in tacos. Ants are also dipped in chocolate in Colombia and served as dessert in Mexico. Some ants are toasted and served in movie theaters in Colombia.
In Mexico, the stink bugs are considered a delicacy. They are often put in tacos, and the people who eat them say they have a cinnamon flavor. The bugs are rich in vitamin B2. Every year, people hold a "stink bug" festival where they grind the bugs into a paste and serve them on tostadas, or corn chips, and spread them with salsa.
The Mayan people consumed caterpillars for both nutritional and medicinal purposes. It has a high caloric value, is high in protein and is a rich source of iron. The ancient Aztecs of Mexico preferred ears of corn ingested with caterpillars to those that were insect-free. One kind of caterpillar, the maguey worm, is added to alcoholic beverages, sometimes for spiritual significance.
In some part of Latin America, people eat fried cockroaches with garlic a cure for indigestion. Some experts say eating cockroaches increases the risk of gastrointestinal illness and allergies, though others claim that they are safe to eat and have high nutritional value.
A list of some of the crunchy critters that are part of the regular food diet in Latin America.