San Gil, Colombia
Hormigas Culonas, which aptly translates to ‘Ants With A Large Arse’, is a Colombian snack that’s only available in the Santander region of the country, and only within a small time frame. The thing is, the ants only come out of their nesting ground for 1 or 2 days out of the year – thus the rarity and the relatively high price tag (1 kg = 50-60000 COP)
We’re lucky that we got to the Santander region during the time (April – May) when these ants are widely available.
When I first heard about it, I couldn’t wait to try it. I also couldn’t wait to try to get Jack to eat it. See, he’s somewhat of a finicky eater so it should be fun to try to cajole and bribe him to try it. So I was super excited that when we mentioned this to our couchsurfing host in San Gil, he brought out a bottle of these toasted giant ants.
However, I was somewhat disappointed when it didn’t take that much convincing at all for Jack to try it ( he wouldn’t eat mushroom, but he’d eat THAT?) Sometimes he surprises me.
‘It’s just like eating the shell of a peanut. Salty and crunchy,’ he said.
‘Like eating a pork rind,’ a fellow Couchsurfer added.
Then it was my turn.
Even though you’ll never hear me eat snake heart, balut, and other challenging world delicacies, I knew I could handle an ant. Everybody and their aunts seems to have a story about eating ants as part of their traveling experience. So, hey, I can do this too.
I picked up an Hormiga Culona and placed it on my palm. Then I peered in to take a closer look at it.
It just looked too much like an ant (why can’t they roll it up in dough or something like that?).
And it’s just so big.
Then I realized that I was holding a giant insect. A dead, giant insect. And oh wait, don’t I hate bugs? I do hate bugs. Aaaaaarggggh!
I got all squeamish and handed the thing over quickly to Jack (being aware at how expensive it is I didn’t want to just fling it to the air and to oblivion like I originally wanted to). I couldn’t even hold it even more.
This is now the part where I hung my head in shame and admitted that I couldn’t do it.
I’ll stick with ice cream.
Hope you’d forgive me.