In search of percebes in Oaxaca

When we were in Huatulco, José had his mind set on finding one kind of marine life: percebes. Known as goose or gooseneck barnacles in English, these crustaceans are filter-feeders. They’re a well-known and widely-consumed shellfish, particularly in Portugal and Spain since they’re commercially harvested off the northern coast of Spain near Galicia.

They’re also imported from Canada, and there’s actually a percebes fishery on West Vancouver Island that operates under sustainability guidelines.

If you go looking for this gourmet delight, though, it’ll cost you. I’ve seen them being sold by a few different gourmet food purveyors on the internet for about $15 USD per ounce, sold in a 5.3 ounce can that holds between 15-20 percebes each. So imagine finding these little barnacles in nature – José said it was like finding gold!

Being that I’m allergic to shellfish, I can’t eat these little guys but I sure did enjoy watching José and his dad scouring the rocks in the ocean in Huatulco looking for them. This photo was taken on the second to last day of our trip and when they spotted the percebes, they were unable to contain their excitement!

Check out this post from Eating With Jack on the proper way to eat percebes.

  • Have you ever eaten percebes?


    • says

      No, they didn’t eat them. They weren’t sure how to remove them from the rocks, or whether they should disturb the wildlife, and then the tide started coming in a little stronger which made it difficult for them to stand there very long to make a decision. In the end, they didn’t disrupt the percebes and decided it was for the better. But what a treat for us to see them growing in the wild! When we got back to Mexico City, José ordered up a big plate of percebes at one of his favorite restaurants, El Danubio. I guess he couldn’t get them out of his mind after seeing them!

  1. says

    Very interesting. Years ago, we ate them freshly steamed when we were at San Patricio, Jalisco. I had forgotten all about them until I read your article. I’ll have to ask around and see if they are available on the West Coast of Mexico, where we now live.



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