Exotic Food Series: Eating woodworms (aka Tamilok)

Ok, even before moving to the Philippines I knew that some exotic foods were waiting out here for me. Waiting to be eaten and hopefully enjoyed. I’m pretty sure eating woodworms falls into the exotic food category.

Travelling means being open-minded to new things. That also includes food. I promised myself to at least try every food there is. If I like it, or not, that remains to be seen.

About the woodworms

Tamilok is a woodworm that lives inside trees in the mangroves. In order to find it, people have to split open trees, because that’s where they burrow. It’s a popular delicacy in Palawan.

So when Jenny, our tour-guide, mentioned that the restaurant where we were having lunch (it’s next to the Underground River boat terminal) serves Tamilok, we jumped at the opportunity. Even Arthur hadn’t tried the Tamilok before because it is distinguishly a Palawan specialty, among others. And trust me, he has eaten all kinds of animals before. That’s how exotic it is.

The experience

The Tamilok was served raw. We dipped it into a vinegar-onion-chilli mixture. The worm itself didn’t really taste like anything, to be honest. It was more the spicy vinegar that brought the flavour. So while the taste itself was ok, it was the texture that put me off. It needed a lot of chewing to eat this rubbery and slimy worm. And yes, also the knowledge that you are eating an actual worm was kind of in my mind all the time.

I don’t think I would eat it every day, but it had a decent taste and definitely was an exotic experience.