KGO TV reported yesterday that the San Francisco Department of Health has banned La Oaxaqueña Bakery & Restaurant (2128 Mission), one of the only Oaxacan restaurants in the city, from selling chapulines, or dried grasshoppers. While the judgment came down two months ago, the media was slow to discover the shocking! news!
Owner Harry Persaud told KGO that since he does not import the dried grasshoppers from an FDA-approved vendor in Mexico, he's not allowed to sell them to the public. The solution, say the authorities? Find a domestic source. Thankfully, Persaud is allowed to continue bringing in other Oaxacan products such as mole pastes and chocolate, an SFoodie favorite.
This is not the first time health authorities in California have raised concerns about Oaxacan chapulines. In 2007 an outbreak of lead poisoning in Monterey County was traced to the dried insects, a popular street food usually coated in chile, salt, and lime.
A grasshopper fan? Not to fear. SFoodie has snacked on toasty, crunchy chapulines in Oaxacan restaurants up and down the Pacific coast. In fact, you can drive down to San Jose, where Mexcal and El Tule still list them on the menu. At least until ABC-watching health inspectors down there start making their rounds.