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May 2, 2010 11:59 PM

Sompopos de Mayo- huge flying edible ants

At the beginning of the rainy season in May in Guatemala, the winged queen sompopos make a brief appearance. Here's an excellent photo

The are more butterfly like rather than annoying ant and one ambled around my finger today.

I was told the back sack is edible, but the lady introducing me to them said she didn't eat them. She seemed to have a real affection for them and I'll have to learn more Spanish to find out what that is about.

A comment in the first link says ... they would actually take the winged ones and cut them in half and fry the back end and eat them. Some like them rolled up in tortillas. They taste like butter

This link says ... Sompopos de Mayo taste great browned in lemon juice and salt

This link with everything you wanted to know about sompopo ants but were afraid to ask says

Fact #1: May’s Sompopos Ants are edible
Yes, May’s sompopo queens are collected by some Guatemalans who remove the belly bottom and roast them on a comal (baked clay griddle), add salt and lime juice. Those who have tried them say that sompopos taste like butter or chicharrones (pork rinds).

Actually, May’s Sompopo Queen Ants could be considered the “Mayan Caviar” since the part removed from them is loaded with ants eggs. In other words, the belly bottom of the sompopo queen ant is the equivalent of the roe of fish.

Has anyone tried them?

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  1. Great reading, thanks for posting this. Eating insects has always fascinated me on an intellectual level but slightly creeped me out on an actual-plate-in-front-of-me level. I'll do it, but I gotta work myself up to it. These sampopos though, I might even eat without hesitation. The bright red color makes them look pretty good!

    1. Came across a website that has a picture of the finished dish. It is in Spanish, but the photos are excellent.

      If you click on the photo there is a slide show starting with the insect, removing the eggs, cleaning and cooking.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rworange

        Because I am such a gringo, and because I just finished reading the thread about it, I thought at first this dish was made with mayonnaise! Which sounded quite nice.

      2. It is a year later, almost May, and the first sompopo arrived signaling the end of summer. Like the first robin announcing spring, here the sompopo is a sign that winter and the rainy season in Gautemala is about to start. Seems weird to think of the months of May thru October as winter.

        Here's a photo of the first sompopo.

        I gotta go with what a friend said about them last year. It is not pleasant when it is dark and you are sleeping and these things fly into you. It gives me some incentive to eat them.

        I haven't dined on one yet. However, I'm keeping my eyes open for any place that fries up a batch.