Tamilok is a famous Filipino delicacy, often found in many parts of Palawan and Aklan, it looks delicious when served, but when it's freshly harvested, it looks something like this:
This strange animal is also known as a woodworm or shipworm, and is neither wood nor a worm; the tamilok is actually a mollusk that you can find in rotting mangroves along brackish water, where rivers meet the ocean.
These strange-looking mollusks are eaten as an exotic dish in the Philippines, and is prepared as a “kinilaw,” similar to Peruvian ceviche.
If it’s your first time to try the tamilok kinilaw and have a weak stomach, I suggest that you put aside this idea especially if you have a day full of activities ahead. Like any kinilaw, it has a soft, almost-slimy texture, which, for a lot of people, is (literally) hard to swallow.
However, if nothing can stop you from trying tamilok, it closely tastes like that of creamy oysters: it has a jelly-like consistency, quite slimy, and is saltier.
Again, like any ceviche or kinilaw, the tamilok is a good dish for pulutan. It is rich in protein and is also believed to be an aphrodisiac like oysters.
As these woodworms grow famous, more local and foreign tourists are getting curious to try it. The tamilok kinilaw can already be found in some restaurants around the country, well away from its native Palawan or Aklan. In fact, a native restaurant in Silay City, Negros Occidental serves this exotic dish.
Before eating the tamilok, you need to clean it first by removing the head so that the wood that it has eaten is excreted. Wash the tamilok with vinegar and ginger.
The cleaned raw tamilok is marinated with freshly squeezed calamansi juice, vinegar, chopped onions and chili peppers. Share and enjoy your tamilok!
Do you know other ways of preparing this exotic delicacy? Share it with us!
(Photos are screen grabs from ABS-CBN MagTV na Amiga. Watch MagTV na Amiga on www.iwantv.ph)
How to Get There
From Manila, you can fly to Bacolod (estimated cost of Php2500++, round trip, 45 minutes). Silay is the site of the New Bacolod-Silay airport.
Silay City is just a 15-minute drive from Bacolod City.