When visitors arrive in Rocky Point, they always have a pretty good list of things to do while they are on vacation.
Eating is way up there at the top, for who can visit Puerto Penasco hotels without savoring at least some of the fresh seafood and the appetizing delights that can only be found in Mexico.
There is plenty of fresh seafood to be found in Rocky Point, no doubt about it. You can get fresh seafood prepared in any configuration imaginable; you can get shrimp pancakes and oyster shakes, or you can savor some scallop burgers and enjoy an abalone desert.
While these may seem somewhat exotic, they are still technically items found on the mainstream menu. Its time to break free of the mainstream and go ex-treme, time to experience the food you have heard rumors about, the food that your friends will dare you to eat.
There is no lack of vendors plying their culinary wares around Rocky Point, and an afternoon spent perusing their products will reveal many culinary mysteries and several delicious delights.
Some items are rumored to provide intense healing properties and virility, while others are steeped in tradition and Mexican history. The best part is, you don’t need a detailed map of Puerto Penasco to find these hidden treats.
A great place to start is at the open-air market that takes place every weekday in the Plaza del Camaronero, across the street from the Municipal Building on Fremont Street.
A lot of the city employees like to stop here for a snack, so you’re guaranteed to find a lot of items you wont see on any tourist menu or in the Rocky Point resorts.
While strolling through the market one day, here are a few items that jumped out at me.
These were the first things to catch my eye; a great big bag of roasted insects. Who can resist a bag of roasted insects? These ugly, creepy-crawly critters are called ¨Chapulines¨ which translates literally to ‘grasshoppers,’ although these looked more like Cicadas to me.
When it comes to grasshoppers, those crunchy critters wreak havoc on crops and fields, devouring everything in sight. Much effort has been spent trying to eradicate these pests when the solution became suddenly obvious: lets eat ‘em instead!
The consistency was somewhat tender, like chewing on teriyaki jerky. They were very bitter, with a strong lime taste. Sold by the cupful, I’m not sure if I’ll be munching on a bag ‘o Chapulines at the next movie.
No, those aren’t fluorescent, cleverly coordinated Technicolor tortillas. “Obleas” come in all sizes, shapes and colors and are used for almost anything.
These tasty wafers are excellent with a little honey or jam smeared all over one side and then eaten like a sandwich. For the latest craze: bacon and chocolate syrup smooshed between a red and yellow Oblea.
If you’re not sure about the ingredients, Obleas are about as healthy as you can get: consisting of milk, sugar, glucose and flour. Eat them out of the bag as a tasty snack, or cram ‘em full of Chapulines and chocolate and go to town.
You want 31 flavors? You got ‘em, and more! A specialty from Oaxaca, the “Nieve de Garrafa” is a frozen novelty that comes in the most outrageous flavors.
Although it is referred to as ‘ice-cream', it seemed to have more of a sorbet-like consistency. Some of the more exotic flavors you can experience include burnt milk with rose petals, so the choices are only limited by your imagination and what’s on the menu.
You can’t get frozen treats much fresher than this, as row after row of the frozen specialties are prepared by hand at the market.
The vendors arrive super early to give the goodies plenty of time to freeze, agitating each bucket by hand until the tasty treats are good and ready.
Offered in a perfect, sample-sized serving, take an afternoon and give each bucket a try. Some of the flavors you’ll encounter (all made with real fruit) include mango, apricot and jasmine. There are also several coffee flavored varieties, some with a subtle hint of caffeination, and others that will give you a late afternoon pick-me-up.
O.k, so you missed the open market and all of the exotic tasty treats. Perhaps my directions were a little vague; when I said to look for the statue of the giant shrimp, who knew that there are like a hundred of those around Rocky Point?
All is not lost, for you can still get your grub on, even on the go. Flag down the nearest Palatero and have him make with the goods. He has everything you are looking for in that tiny box he is pedaling around.
This black hole of consumerism continues to fascinate and frustrate physicists worldwide; containing every conceivable consumable available in the universe. And the weird part is, there is hot food served hot, and frozen food served frozen, yet they all seem to occupy the same quantum, cosmic confines of the Palatero’s bicycle/vending machine/condiment station/information booth.
Hit him up for anything you can think of, he’s up for the challenge as you continue to enjoy the exotic tastes of Rocky Point.