Last week, we received a guest from Bucaramanga. (I know, what kind of a name is that?) Don’t ask me about Colombian names.. Colombia is made up of places with names like this. However, I seem to have already acquired the ability to remember these often more-than-6-syllables words, so perhaps I am slowly turning into a half local..
This guest is a cousin of a cousin (it’s fairly common in Colombia that you don’t know half of your family because you probably have as many illegitimate cousins as the legitimate ones so you simply don’t remember all of them, especially when it used to be a tradition to give your children your name or your wife’s name. So then all of a sudden you realized that you have 10 uncles all called Carlos and 13 other cousins all called Luis..
As our conversation started to dry out I asked about the specialties that are unique to Bucaramanga, the municipal city of Santander, the North East region of the country. The list went from lamb entrails fried rice that was supposedly nicer than it sounds, a guava export county, and fried ants. Wow.. Ants!
‘What kind of ants?’ Just to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood, I asked if they meant the insect that is famous for its hard working character.
‘Yea, we used to eat ants when we lived there,’ said Mario’s father who is originally from the city.
The question is, are u supposed to taste the legs? Were they deep fried, boiled or sauteed? What happens when the mess oozes out as you bite into the fat bellies..?
‘Em. How are they cooked?’
‘We deep fried them.’
‘Is it crispy? Crunchy? What does it taste like?’
‘April is the peak season for the harvest.’ (Wow! There is a harvest season for ants!?)
‘It was very easy to catch them. When we were young, we’d go to the ant nest with a long thin stick. We would insert the stick into the nest. The queen is the strongest of all. The stick puts her on her guard and she would climb onto the stick to check the invasion. Other ants would follow the queen onto the stick. Then you pull out the stick and then, Boom! All the ants come out of the nest, falling into the bag that you have previously got ready.’
Impressive! It was great to find out that there are other insect eaters apart from Chinese or Thai.