My Favourite Filipino Food
Easily the best meal of my Philippines trip had bugs in it.
The dish was called Crispy Spiced Kamaru. It was a cricket-based appetizer from Bistro Remedios in downtown Manila. It blew me away.
And I bet you would love it too.
But You Probably Don’t Believe Me
Your skepticism is justifiable.
I own a bug food business after all. In my defence, I do try to be unbiased about the whole concept of eating bugs. I even admit my own Heilu powder needs a lot of work. But yeah, you’re right to be skeptical if I say a dish with bugs is delicious.
Also, you should note that saying Kamaru is my favourite Filipino food isn't saying that much. The competition for the top spot is meat and rice. Saying Kamaru is my favourite Filipino food is like saying “Baby” is my favourite Justin Beiber song.
I swear though, you'd like it if you tried it.
These Aren’t Crickets
When the waiter brought out the Kamaru, my thought was:
“These aren’t crickets.”
They didn’t look like crickets. The chef had removed the wings, legs, and heads, leaving just the pine nut sized torsos. They looked more like black soldier fly larvae than crickets.
Whatever they were, sautéed with tomato, sweet onion, garlic, and olive oil, the dish looked and smelled super tasty.
So I took my first bite... and again thought:
“These aren’t crickets.”
They didn’t taste like crickets. People typically say crickets taste “nutty”. “Nutty” is a euphemism for “tastes like dirt”. Unlike crickets I’d had before, these ones didn’t taste “nutty”. I’ll spare you my feeble attempts to eloquently describe their flavour and texture by saying simply that they were yummy. Really yummy.
These weren’t the crickets I was used to.
The Innocent Bystander
To represent you the reader, I dragged my girlfriend Kim along with me to Bistro Remedios to eat crickets too.
Kim is as skeptical as you are when it comes to eating bugs. On the rare occasion I manage to convince her to try some bug dish, she'll have one - and only one - bite.
Luckily, on this night she agreed to try some Kamaru. She bravely took one small spoonful, chewed quickly, swallowed, and said,
What does that mean?
Seeing as I had just ravenously yummed and mmmed my way through my first bites, was she just humouring me like a mother who tells her 2-year-old son that his multicoloured scribbles are a work of art?
That Kim didn’t gag was a good sign, but that she said “It’s good” meant little.
... She served herself more!
... An even bigger spoonful!
... And I didn’t make her do it!
There can be only one explanation: This stuff was legitimately tasty.
A Manila Must
We enjoyed the Crispy Spiced Kamaru so much that upon leaving we gave the table behind us the unsolicited recommendation to order it too. Hopefully they trusted our guidance and gave it a go.
And, if you find yourself in Manila, hopefully you’ll take my word for it (or at least Kim’s) and try it too.
It may just end up being your favourite Filipino food.