Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sago Worms

Article contributed by Kong Kay in conjunction of Merdeka Open House 2007: Muhibbah.

Sago Worms

Sago worms, a delicacy among the indigenous people of Sarawak. The worms thrives on the fell trunks of the Sago palm, The cultivation of Sago palm is found along the coastal plains of Mukah, Sarawak, whose inhabitants are mostly Melanaus.

The worms are eaten live, or just fried. And I'm sure there other treatments that can be done to the worms by other cultures. To eat live ones, hold (cleaned) one by its head, pop its wriggling body, tail first, into ones mouth, then bit at the tip of its head, jerk off its head, and throw away. Chew away! Its innards is creamy and tastes like rich creamy toffee; no eerie taste or smell as one would have imagined. If I'm not mistaken, this thing is full of protein.

The worms we had came with some sago dust from the trunk. To clean the worms, pick up each individual worm and shake off its dust; then rinse them in running water to remove any further particles of the sago dust. Let them dry of moisture.

Heat up a dry wok on medium heat. When the wok is hot, throw in the worms and toss and turn them using a spatula. When the worm are not wiggling - dead - they are done. Don't over fry them, because its inside will start to boil and will bust at its tummy. It tastes best when certain potions are slightly seared, making it crisp and crunchy.

One can eat it straight; it tastes good on its own. Or it can be dipped into salt before consuming. Processed Sago corns (like white peppercorn in the photo) are used as accompaniment; pop one worm into the mouth, chew a few times to release its cream, then pop a handful of Sago corns into the mouth. The mixture of the sweet powder of sago corn and the cream of the worm enhances the whole munching experience.

There's an urban legend that a native kid popped one live worm and swallowed the whole thing; imagine what the worm can do if it can bite into the hard trunk of the Sago palm. The kid never lived to tell the tale. The moral of the story, kid, is chew your food well!

The Sago worms were fried at stall no. 12, Pulau Babi Hawker Stall, Sibu. It's fried by the sixteen year old daughter of the proprietress, Justine.


Anonymous said...

Honestly, first impressions, I thought that was a picture of gnocchi...then I did a double take. Interesting!

Paola Westbeek said...

Wow! This was quite something to read! I was at an exposition about worldwide food customs recently and saw all sorts of insects being offered to taste. Not my thing really, but quite interesting to read about other people's food customs.


Anonymous said...

This is, quite honestly, one of the more interesting pic posts I've found on tastespotting.com. Real food, not some overhandled, expensive gourmet amuse bouche. Not any more disgusting than eating the curdled, pus-filled milk of an animal from a different species, and maybe tastier.

Unknown said...

hillary, LOL I think I'll take gnocchi, well unless i try this out myself first

paola, i totally agreed with you

LOL this is not pretentious at all huh anon?

CreativeBitchin said...

in sibu? ah! i want to try... how do you get to the stall?

Kong-Kay said...

the stall (facing the rejang river, jalan khoo peng loong)is next to the central market, next to the seafood section. however, the stall (drinks only)doesn't sell the stuff. it's best you go to the market on a sunday, when all the native produce sellers lay out all their stuff there, and you might find live worms. around 8 a.m. every sunday, you'll hear clanking sounds of bells in the market, ask for a johnny pop or a boo chiang from one of those fellows in blue caps (see http://kongkay1.blogspot.com/2007/08/angmoh-central-market-sibu.html). they will gladly show you a good time in terms of food. any private info/query can be forwarded to tiewleh@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

I roasted some of the sago worms last September when I was back to Miri. Do check out some photos I took on my website:


Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

wow first time me reading first hand on sago worms. how does it taste?

Unknown said...

I prefer them when roasted on skewers by the fire, less oily. They taste a bit of flower like chips or peanuts.

Selba said...

I would love to try it! Too bad, I can't find it here in Jakarta.

Anonymous said...

i had it raw and fresh from the tree when i was younger and i went to the long house with my aunt. creamy... :p

น้องเดียว ด้วงสาคู - sago worm said...

I sale sago worm in Thailand. I have a sago worm farm for market. I f you want it please mail to me at 4662016@gmail.com or g4662016@hotmail.co.th

pakongs@hotmail.com said...

I have sogo worm for sale form my farm at south of Thailand. so you can contact me by pakongs@hotmail.com or +6680 6991930

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TERCELIO said...

Mr. Kong,

I would be highly interested in purchasing, say, 10 containers of 100 frozen sago worms...Please make sure you have 2 bags of sago flour as well...I tried contacting Ms. Aree about this, but the only problem was the transport company, as I have no food license or Food ID from the FDA or other similar orgs and the transport company required these, so I ended up buying 10 seasoned, dehydrated sago worms from thailandunique.com. I really never wanted compacted sago worms that were seasoned...I want the real thing...You can contact me by mobile phone in the US at 1-617-610-6431 or via email at coolkevin366@yahoo.com.. Thank you..

TERCELIO said...

Oh, one more thing Mr. Kong, I am not a business...I am a personal buyer...Thank you...