Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

Season 1 Episode 8


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jul 16, 2007 on Travel Channel

Episode Recap

Andrew 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, whether it is scallop, oyster, sea snail, mussel or abalone. He sells it for far less than it would be sold anywhere else. 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 Oxacaca, 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. Chapolinas 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. The dish is interesting to make and Andrew shares it with Susanna before he is off again.

At Juchitan on the isthmus, Andrew is in search of armadillo, a celebrated food that is hard to find fresh. Missing it at the market, he is taken to an animal broker who sells armadillos and iguanas for consumption. Suzanna's family helps to 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. Andrew soon reaches the Chon Restaurant for escomoles, omelets made with ant eggs. He also has pan-fried worms and grubs in a soft tortilla.

Afterward, Andrew is off to meet one of his culinary idols, Patricio Quintama of the Izole 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. He discovers chicken feet turned to broth and maguey and banana leaves for wrapping food.

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 saphron. Andrew does his imitation of his happy food meter going off to view the complete dish. He is introduced to mole, a chili sauce. He gets one mole with duck enchilada and another venison as he dines with Patricio in her dining room.

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.