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Escamoles, the Mexican caviar of pre-Hispanic times

Escamoles are a culinary delight and traditional of Mexican cuisine. Its preparation and consumption comes from pre-Hispanic times. Its appearance resembles that of puffed rice. But in reality they are butter-fried ant larvae with epazote.

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Pre-Hispanic dish

Escamol has a long tradition in Mexican culture. And although there are different ways to prepare it, the most common is fried with butter.


The ant species used for its preparation is the Liometopum Apiculatum. Which builds its nests underground, mainly at the base of the maguey or nopaleras.

The escamoles appearance is very similar to that of puffed rice. It can only be acquired between March and April and its flavor is considered fine due to its high protein content. In some communities, it is usually consumed in egg cake and mixiote. Its preparation can be in ‘mole de hormiga’ with nopales and epazote.

Escamoles, the Mexican caviar

In the state of Hidalgo, escamoles are well received. Because people recognize them as a special and exquisite food. For this reason, a high percentage is sent to Mexico City.

These bugs are harvested in the Lenten season. And because the ants are extremely aggressive and are only produced at this time of year, it is expensive to consume. It is even known as the Mexican caviar.


It has between 40% to 60% of protein, fat, vitamin and minerals. Its percentage is much higher than the protein in meat and chicken.

To this day, escamoles continue to be a deeply valued dish, with great nutritional properties. An emblematic dish full of tradition in Mexican cuisine.


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