Abaleng and My Weird Food Tolerance


I was eight years old when I had kalderatang kambing, the first non-pork, non-chicken, non-beef, non-fish, non-seafood meat I’ve ever eaten. I don’t remember what goat tastes like (they say it’s like beef with a foul smell – mapanghi), at that time they just said it was goat. The helping came from the pots of pulutan (food taken with alcohol) my dad’s co-workers brought to the company outing. A lot strange food end up as pulutan like innards and exotic meat and I wonder if this is because some people can’t really see straight once they’re drunk.

I’m not averse to eating offal provided they are cooked. Chicken, beef, pork intestines; ox/beef tongue; tripe; bone marrow; etc.  Okay, maybe not the head part or the hooves and feet.

Balut which has discernible duck fetus grosses me out. I do like the ones wherein it has not formed yet, especially the “soup” and the yellow part since the white part could be rather tough.

My bio classes didn’t have us dissecting frogs. Though, I once got a live one from someone who sells them to students and transported it from the back of Palma Hall Annex to Meycauayan. I could feel it jar the bottle it was in as it tried to escape.  No way was I catching a frog for my sister’s bio class. I’m deathly afraid of them. So no. No one will be able to make me eat “macho,” the term given to them because without their heads they look like they have a body builder’s physique, even if they taste like chicken.

I don’t think I will be eating anything amphibian, reptilian or wormy ever. But I have chomped on a bug.

Thanks to a co-worker who brought a fried batch of Abaleng to work one time, I got to strike “eat a bug” off my bucket list. It’s there because Gillian Anderson may or may not have actually eaten a cricket for the X-Files episode “Humbug”. Abaleng’s supposed to be a Cagayan delicacy. Pinakbet Republic’s post says  it’s the larva of a June beetle. The head was rather tough but the rest was chewy. The closest food that came to mind was chicharon. Yes, the taste and texture is similar to deep fried pork fat so once you get past the notion that you’re eating what looks like bug, what is in fact a bug, popping several of these babies can be quite addictive.

I’ll say pass to fried grasshoppers, roaches and praying mantises though. Because I know what they are and I guess that’s another reason I was game for abaleng. I didn’t know what it particularly was. So maybe in the future, I’ll try other insects, deep fried, if I haven’t encountered them before and if other people eating them are not puking them out.

Thank you for reading. Your questions, reactions, thoughts are most appreciated.

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