I was just searching for something to eat online (a really good way to kill diet intentions) when I came across this post. Since then, I've been meaning to visit that place we passed through with all the fog on the way to Sagada.
The moment we arrived in Nueva Vizcaya, we searched for this Abuos. We even woke up early just to get some from the local market since according to the guard, it arrives as early as 5 am and is sold out by 6 am. Alas, we found that we got the wrong information (like so many times there).
The hunt for abuos was like a hunt for missing treasure. First we were told that we can find it in the vegetable market. When we asked there where the stall was, we were told that we should look for it in the opposite market; only to be told there that we should go to the second floor of the vegetable market where all we found were bloody pig heads and meat. (GROSS!!!) There we were told to go down the ground floor and head to the right side going in from the entrance. We took this with a grain of salt. But ALAS! A woman pointed us right where it is sold during abuos season from March to April (sometimes extending till June). Sad thing is, the vendor arrives 9 am since she comes from quite far. We were told that we'd find it as small rice-like grains arranged in leaves.
Yup, we got dizzy for nothing.
We then headed to Capisaan Cave in Brgy. Capisaan where we met Ferdinand who I fondly call Marcos, Jun and JR: the Juniors! They're the most hospitable Filipinos I ever met so far. I can't remember how abuos came up but it did. They proudly told us that they eat abuos all the time and how good it tastes! Poor me salivated at their words.
Along the way to the cave, they pointed this out:
It's basically a cluster of leaves stuck together by ant saliva to form a round house of leaves. I was shocked. I always thought all ants live in anthills. Apparently, not all species do.
They tried to poke it with a stick and all that came falling down were furiously red ants. It was as expected. They shared that they would usually poke about dried leaves clustered together for abuos.
After our trip to the cave, they kindly offered us some coffee and yummy fresh food to eat. After eating, we were basically just hanging around when the Juniors went out carrying a wooden stick and a basin saying they're going to try to hunt some abuos. May luck be with them.
A few minutes passed, my heart was going frail over its frantic beating (more because I was suddenly feeling sick after eating nganga.). My three heroes arrived carrying what looked like a basinful of ants. After they threw away some ants which bit us (I soo wanted to fry them biting ants!!!), I finally saw my whitish gold.
A thought: the locals usually let ants bite them because they believe it to heal them when they're sick. It's not true! I got bitten 5 times and still, I felt too ill.
We saw different stages of the baby ants. Some were really just eggs while some took shape already, soon coming to life. We tasted it raw but with just one egg at a time, we couldn't really determine the taste save for that it bursts in our mouths. Think fish roe in california rolls.
|There's Kuya JR, Jun, Fred, Me, Abuos, Meh and Ferdinand! Oh, and the dog that liked me.|
They packed my abuos into a Stick-O jar along with some live ants saying those would give some sour flavor to the dish.
Thank you so much Juniors! :D
We went back to our hotel and paid the corkage fee P120.00 to have the abuos sauteed free of charge. It was yum-yum-yummy! It was quite flavorful but didn't taste sour at all since we requested that they remove as many of the live ants as possible.
When we were about to finish the dish, Saul requested that we have it fried. The waiter took it away and returned it saying it was impossible because the eggs burst. We got it back a lot more tasty though.
Saul liked the crickets better since he loved their crunchiness, but he'd eat anything in front of him save for human meat (I sincerely hope!).
I prefer this one better since it's less icky to eat and I love the burst-in-my-mouth feeling.
Meanwhile, Meh feels so-so about it, not really an adventurous eater. (I had to trick her into eating frog legs before!)
Lastly, Fred has a feverish fetish for ants since he was a kid and didn't really fancy eating his pets. He says he draws the line in eating insects, but he's game into trying a spoonful or two. Did he like his spoonful? No, not really. This is better than eating meat though since I'm sure everyone doubts these insects would ever go extinct.