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Chicatanas, Oaxaca’s cuisine delicacy

Mexican cuisine is recognized worldwide due to its great flavors, combinations, colors, aromas and its unique way of pampering our palate.

One of the most attractive things we have in Mexico – apart from our culture and traditions – is our use of exotic ingredients in our traditional dishes, such as: crickets, maguey worms, ahuates, chicatanas, and others.


Chicatanas are mostly consumed in Oaxaca because of its exquisite flavor and high nutritional value. They are basically ants called ‘Atta’ which are big insects and their queen may reach a length of 2.5cm.

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Oaxaca’s gastronomic delicac

People in Oaxaca know that when the rainy season begins, chicatana season begins too. It’s on June and July when this insect appear. You may think their collection is simple but it’s not. The process begins at dawn, when the ants come out of their nests.


Chicatanas are usually roasted on a pan at low heat, and that’s when their wings and legs disappear. After this, they are grounded in a traditional molcajete, where the cream that they have in their tails serves as an ingredient for sauces, mole, tamales or other exotic dishes.

Chicatanas as a part of exotic Oaxaca’s cuisine

Now a days, these ants are fundamental in Oaxaca’s cuisine because of their great benefits. They have low saturated fats, great antibacterial properties, high in protein and they may help on treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.

The price of chicatanas ranges between 600 and 1,500 pesos per kilo. You may find them in typical dishes from Puebla, Hidalgo, Veracruz, Chiapas and Guerrero.


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