Bizarre Foods ~ Mexico

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Think Mexico offers nothing more than tequila shots and wild spring breaks? If so, you're in for a real surprise.  Andrew Zimmern shows you a Mexico that is a true culinary paradise by trying a few local tastes, including mosquito eggs with chicken and pig stomach tacos.

Andrew Zimmern is off to Mexico, a country whose culture reflects the Spanish as well as the Pre-Spanish culture of the region.  His first stop is to meet Rudolfo Salinas who collects only the freshest seafood for immediate sale.  Andrew joins him for octopus fishing, and then is off to the la Crucasita Restaurant to have his octopus prepared.  It's braised in its own ink into depulpo, a cocktail.

In Oaxaca, Andrew meets with his friend Suzanna, a chef and cooking teacher who guides him through the Mercado Derabaro, an outdoor market, as she collects the ingredients to make a chapolinas pizza.  Chapulines are grasshoppers that are also eaten like beer nuts.  The pizza is prepared on a trivita, a hard tortilla with guacamole and grubs known as guganitas and avocado leaves.

Andrew tries armadillo, a celebrated food that is hard to find fresh.  Suzanna's family prepare the armadillo, which is cooked with lime and chili sauce.  It's served to Andrew with the head looking at him! To Andrew, it tastes like rabbit with a mild gaminess, somewhere between rodent and reptile. 

Andrew is then off to Mexico City, the third largest city in Mexico.  Parts of the city remind Andrew of his native New York.  He samples braised pig parts and intestines in tacos from a vendor and jumiles, small bugs that are eaten live and taste like menthol.  They are supposed to be good for what ails you.  They are sometimes eaten garnished on tacos.

Afterward, Andrew meets up with one of his culinary idols, Patricio Quintana of the Izote Restaurant, who raised Mexican food to the level of haute cuisine.  They visit the Mercado de la Merced, a large market maze covering several city blocks.  Andrew learns about the many different types of chilis and peppers and different types of corn.

Returning to the restaurant, Andrew helps in the kitchen to prepare white fish tacos and red snapper fish in banana leaves with corn fungus and saffron.  He is introduced to mole, a chili sauce. 

Andrew ends the episode with a general overview with all the dishes he has seen and sampled, praising the country for its diversity and tastes before he heads off continuing his food journey.


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