Sago worms

After breakfast in the Sengalang longhouse, where we'd arrived in the evening, our hosts asked if we'd like to see the village or sago worms. Having no idea what the latter might be we naturally preferred that. So off we went, I, Didier, Justin, Justin's wife's uncle Sawing and her cousin-in-law Bilun.

pictures/debak07-1.jpg pictures/debak08-1.jpg On the left Sawing showing the way, and Didier following. Long sleeves were a must because of mosquitoes; I never found out exactly what the shootgun was for...

The path, or rather route through the jungle I couldn't've told anyone had ever traversed before was somewhat difficult in places... on the right Justin is getting his feet wet. pictures/debak09-1.jpg pictures/debak10-1.jpg

pictures/debak11-1.jpg pictures/debak12-1.jpg Finally we got there -- nothing obvious to distinguish the place from the rest of the jungle, until Sawing pointed out a half-rotten log on the ground.

pictures/debak13-1.jpg pictures/debak14-1.jpg On the left Bilun is showing under the bark what we had come to see: sago worms, or actually larvae of something, I'm not sure what but not butterflies I was assured. In any event they were supposed to be a rare delicacy. pictures/debak15-1.jpg

pictures/debak16-1.jpg On the left Bilun has just explained that they're best eaten alive and proved it by eating one while Didier watches with disbelief; on the right I'm about to follow his example (photo by Justin). Yes, they did taste quite good! pictures/worm-1.jpg

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Copyright © Tapani Tarvainen ( 1997, 1998.