Mee Sen Thai Eatery (3924 N Mississippi) features traditional Thai noodle soups, in addition to a number of Thai restaurant staples. They also have a full bar with interesting house drinks like the Tamarind Whiskey Sour and Tom Yum Cocktail. At Happy Hour, impressively, they give you discounts on beer and wine, regular menu small bowls, specialty cocktails, and a special menu.
And on that special Happy Hour menu (pdf), one item is particularly interesting:
HH10. TAK KA TAN TOD
Fried grasshoppers $5
I was dining with Heather the first time the grasshoppers were brought to my attention, but she inexplicably demonstrated not merely disinterest, but actual repulsion at the suggestion we should put in an order. Alas, the kitchen reported they had run out.
Yesterday, however, found Heather safely ensconced in Beaverton (shopping for a bridesmaid dress) for a few hours after work, so I met Jake and Laurie at Mee Sen for happy hour.
We ordered the grasshoppers.
I was surprised at their appearance when they arrived at the table (sorry – no photo! I only had my iPhone, and it takes crappy photos in low light Update: added photo below 07/15/2010!). I expected something cricket sized, and coated in batter or breading. But these were grasshoppers. Big ones, about 2 to 2 1/2 inches long. With legs and everything. They had a slight reddish tinge to them.
I tried a few.
They have a faint saltiness, but really there is not much flavor. A slathering of the red pepper sauce from the condiments dishes on the table improved them. I am not one to eat sunflower seeds in the shells or shrimps with the heads – and that’s sort of what the grasshoppers reminded me of – the legs and carapace were crunchy and clearly un-digestible. But the abdomen was less crunchy, and had a bit of meat to it. I can see how these have come to be recognized as food around the world. I may well order these again sometime (when Heather is not present). They go down easy with a cold bottle of Singha.
Mary Sue says
Ohboy! Up until now the only place I knew that served them was in Southeast!
Mary Sue – In my two recent visits they seemed to be in short supply. The first time they were out. And yesterday we got the last order. So get there early!
Cooking Asshole says
I had grasshoppers at la calaca comelona (sp?) and unlike yours they were a total disappointment. They were tiny and mushed into a paste and served with tortillas. I will have to check this place out and get me some real grasshoppers! Thanks!
Queasy. Nauseous. Hurp.
And what? You didn’t mention you were still pulling bug legs out of your teeth this morning?
Oh, hi, rest of the internet.
Cooking Asshole – yeah, definitely not tiny, nor mushy. Worth a try.
Heather – For the record, I don’t think that was a piece of the leg, but rather a bit of the carapace.
You just gotta chew the chitin long enough and then floss. Perfect with a Singha! The legs are crunchy, salty, little treats but you need to be careful with the sharp barbs when you’re putting them in your mouth. Those barbs go away when you crunch down on the leg. I liken the flavor of these grasshoppers to soft shell crab. Yum!
Sound like Mormon crickets! Don’t think I would want to eat one of those.