I had a chat on the weekends with a friend back in the Philippines, and he talked how people has been busy in the fields for the last 2 months planting rice for October and November harvests. I was a litlle bit nostalgic thinking back about the back breaking works from dawn to dusk.
The one thing I definitely miss are the local delicacies like dalag (mudfish), hito (catfish), ayungin (silver pearch, endemic to th Philippines), bunog,bukto or palileng (goby fish, the lighter variety are called bunog, the darker ones are bukto, and palileng in general), and ar-aru (a small freshwater fish not very known outside Cagayan Valley, and I don’t know the English name; I believe it’s endemic to the Philippines and is endagered).
Aside from these fishes, there are local delicacies I don’t see many Filipinoes eating, and makes me feel close kinship with Thailanders, Vietnamese and Cambodians. Insects.
You read it right, insects. The Thailanders are particularly proud of their insect dishes, I don’t see anybody has any reason to be ashamed of.
What insects have I eaten? Let me list.
1. mole crickets, crickets
2. grasshoppers, locusts
3. fruit bugs
4. red ants, including eggs
Almost always, we cooked them stir fried with garlic, shallots, and tomato;
sometimes with ginger.
My favorite is mole cricket. It has a very distinct “rooty” flavor caused by their food – plant roots. They almost always burrow undeground. To make them come out, the fields are flooded before plowing and people mash the soil with their feet. People attack the fields en masse, it’s almost a feast in the farm with days like those.
Will you eat insects? Give it a try. In fact, even a Hollywood A-Lister did.