A very popular, and traditional, food course here in the Ecuadorian Amazon is Chuntakuru.
A lot of people all around from Ecuador come here to eat it and it is considered very delicious.
I have tried it out also and I must admit, it tastes good, a little coco nutty and greasy, but very good.
|This is the Kichwa woman who cooked the first chuntakurus I ever ate.|
The only problem is that chuntakuros are actually huge white worms that live in the chonta palm tree.
They can be barbequed on wooden sticks, prepared in Maito (wrapped in local leaves and baked in their own juices) or eaten alive.
|This is her daughter at the restaurant kichen.|
But the trick is that chonta is extremely hard tree and the worms have huge jaws and they can bite really hard.
So, if you are not careful, you can end up with a tongue piercing instead of enjoying a delicious meal.
|This is where the chuntakurus were prepared, inside leaves on hot coals.|
For locals, the times when chuntakuros can be found is very important.
The worms were before one of their main protein sources, just like a really big flying ant called ukuy in Kichwa.
My aspiration has never been eating worms of any kind.
|Chuntakurus, alive and doing well. Eating the chontapalm, and crawling around, just like they love to do.|
I did eat ants at school because the boys would eat them and I didn't want to look like a sissy.
But worms weren't definitively something I ever wanted eat in my life.
I was well as long as we were working in a different part of the Ecuador.
|The picture is a bit blurry but I wanted to show how big they actually are.|
But when we decided to move to Tena, I starts to prepare myself mentally to all the foods that were waiting for me.
I have eaten deer, armadillo, porcupine, several types of roedents they have here, different sort of fish, insanely spicy chili peppers that make me want to die or drink a river, white cacao beans (that I actually recommend), and some very strange fruits.
|This is maito de chontacuro, all cooked and prepared. Just look at those jaws!|
I have also eaten tree peanuts (they grow in a tree, they are bigger than a peanut and they taste just like peanuts), regular peanuts boiled and cooked soft, and chonta palm's fruit (very good also).
I have drunk traditional drinks made by chewing the mash of different fruits and tubers and then spitting it to dirty river water and stirring it with even dirtier hands called chicha or aswa.
My personal favorite is sara aswa, or corn chicha.
|This is me, trying to be brave enough to put the worm in my mouth.|
I'm still waiting to try boa, caiman and monkey meat.
And at one point I just knew it was the time to eat chuntakurus.
Because in a Kichwa village you cannot refuse what you have been offered.
|Chewing the worm, and, honestly, trying very hard not to puke it.|
You say thank you, you eat and drink everything you have been given.
If there are extra worms or ants in the food, like my dad says, it's just protein.
I have made my peace with chuntakurus, we are not friends, their consistency is too wormlike for me.
|My little nephew wanted to taste chuntakurus and my niece can't just believe how disgusting they are.|
But they do taste good and I can understand why people love to eat them.
If you are ever looking for extreme food and eating experiences, I recommend coming to Tena in Ecuador and trying out pinchos de chuntakuru or maito de chuntakuru.
|He was a HUGE Fear Factor fan. And he really wanted to tell all his friends about how he ate worms when he visited his aunt and cousin in Ecuador. So, he actually ate them. My niece didn't want to ANYTHING to do with them.|
I will not explain you how to prepare them because I’m sure you will not be able to buy them around.
And probably wouldn’t want to prepare them even if you could.
But if you come to Ecuador, I am sure to let you know the best place to try them out.
|He's trying to find the words to describe how the worms tasted.|
You always have such great pictures. And such beautiful stories of the Ecuador. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Your brave, maybe I take it for granted I couldn't eat this. I love the photo of the woman wearing her baby on her back - that is priceless!ReplyDelete
I'm glad you liked that picture. I try to get authentic things in the pictures. But they are just not as flashy as huge worms for instance ;)Delete
You are brave! In Texas we eat a lot of the meats the you mentioned. Game meat is important. However, I don't know if I could muster up the courage to eat worms for protein.ReplyDelete
I wouldn't have eaten it just for the protein either, Chasity. At least I think I would not have. But it's something I need to be able to do when I go visit the people in the communities.Delete
Oh my! I am definitely not brave enough for that.ReplyDelete
Your nephew is a brave young man, but I'm going to have to side with your niece on this one. ;) Thank you for the share though, I was smiling the whole time I was reading it. :)ReplyDelete
I'm glad you liked it. My niece couldn't understand how his brother could put something as vile to his mouth. She was actually a bit angry at her for eating the worms. They were funny to watch.Delete
I love how cultural your blog posts always are. I always learn something new each time I read a new post! Very brave to try new foods!!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Felicia. And I'm so glad you enjoy reading my posts.Delete
These are one of those things on a list of things I could never put in my mouth. I have texture issues and just couldn't do it. Your nephew is so brave to have eaten them!!ReplyDelete
I have a bit of texture issues too, Kisa. And swallowing was hard. But I did it and then I had to do it again. And now I know I can do it whenever I need to. And that was my goal.Delete
I have to be honest, after you said it can bite you back, i was gone with ever even thinking about eating that.. I do not think i could get it down, not for me.. I applaud you for being brave and getting it down..ReplyDelete
Thank you! I didn't think I could do it. I never wanted to do it. But I'm proud of myself for doing it :)Delete
Oh wow! I would never want to eat worms, but if in the same situation, I'd force myself to do so in order to not offend the locals. I've traveled to quite a few countries, and I'm very aware of the (negative) impression many American tourists leave. I do my best to not contribute to that. I'd struggle to not puke though, that's for sure!ReplyDelete
Gosh, I cannot believe you ate that thing! You are a hero :) I love your son's face, looking at those scary worms.ReplyDelete
Oh my....I am with your niece: I want nothing to do with worms! Yuck. You really want to try monkey meat? The most exotic meat I've tried was alligator and horse meat. Still yuck...I am a step away from becoming vegetarian! :)ReplyDelete
I don't know if I could eat worms. That might be a little beyond me. I always like to think I'd try anything but I know that is not true!ReplyDelete
I don't know if I could have kept the worms down.ReplyDelete
I have heard of these worms before! I am kind of a 'I will try anything once' kind of girl, I would probably eat one with my eyes closed but I wouldn't eat the head.ReplyDelete
Oh my we have some exotic foods here in the Philippines and some people also eat that but i will not try. lolReplyDelete
Oh my. I do not think I could be that adventurous. That is one of the reasons I do not think I want to travel internationally. I am not a brave foodie.ReplyDelete
Oh you go girl! I just don't think that I could ever. It is so wonderful to learn about another culture and its customs. Thank you for sharing on Meandering Mondays! Have a great week!ReplyDelete
You are so brave eating worms. I don't know if I could do that. Visiting from Wake Up Wednesday Linky PartyReplyDelete
I love to travel and to explore the foods of the people I meet--although I have not tried chuntakurus yet. Your wonderful story and images transported me to Ecuador. Thank you so much for sharing this delightful post on the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Blog Hop! I appreciate it!ReplyDelete
One more reason I am delighted to be vegetarian. I have done much international travel, and have found the phrase, "Thank you, but I'm vegetarian" has come in handy more than once! (and, I don't think that anyone is offended by it. Picking & choosing - yes, being vegetarian, no)ReplyDelete
That is very true! People accept very easily that you are a vegetarian and just feel bad for you for all the wonderful food you are missing (according to them) but if you just deny to eat something because you find it not appetizing, they can get quite mad at you.Delete