Popis: Behold, the tasty tamilok, also called the woodworm. If it’s any consolation, this delicacy is not really a worm. It’s a (much more appetizing) shell-less saltwater clam that bores holes into wood. The nickname “woodworm” comes from the fact that tamilok literally worm their way into wood. They’re also called “naval shipworms,” most likely from a legend that the wooden hulls of ships were once their go-to meal. In the Philippines, tamilok live among the rotting mangroves. These trees offer everything the creatures need to survive and prosper - submerged in saltwater and plentiful wood for snacking. If you have a craving for woodworm directly from the source, you’ll need to wade through riverbeds in search of dead, submerged trees. Once you find a branch of mangrove wood, split it open and - fingers crossed - you’ll find a writhing clam inside. Be warned, it’s not the easiest food to catch, but many people consider the reward to be worth the effort. The foot-long (sometimes longer) slimy, grey creature has the qualities you'd expect from a delicacy: It’s a pain to find; is found in only a few countries, and is often eaten raw. First-time tasters describe the tamilok as “seawater that is made into jelly with a dash of oyster in it,” but locals say wala syang katulad (“it doesn’t taste like anything else”). Weirdly, no one even notices its two chisel-like teeth. Tamilok vendors typically serve the clams ceviche-style, called kinilaw. They prepare the entire animal raw, curing it in coconut vinegar and lime juice with chilli and salt. Diners are recommended to swallow it whole. Good luck with that. Traditionally, locals reserve tamilok for special occasions, but have begun to regularly harvest the clams to meet the demands of tourism. Unfortunately, this spike in interest poses a threat to mangrove ecosystems. If you do fall in love with our wormy-looking friend, please try and limit yourself to one. After all, despite growing inside them, tamilok don’t grow on trees.
Adresa: Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines