Just back from a bunch of amazing shows in Malaysia. I always love doing shows there, and especially in Kota Kinabalu as it reminds me of where I grew up in Hawaii.
But in KK (as the locals call Kota Kinabalu) they have a dish I never ever encountered my whole life in the Aloha State: worms. And not just any old worms, these are butod, or Sago Worms. O… M… G.
Now, I’m no stranger to eating weird crap in distant lands, but this was next-level WTF. These were live worms. Live, trying-desperately-to-escape worms!
Gross. They look like disembodied old-man thumbs. But more like zombie old-man thumbs that creep and crawl and undulate and wriggle and I’ll shut up already.
Americans tend to have a weak stomach around food such as this, so forgive me for my squeamishness. But we have a long history in the US of worm-aversion. “How To Eat Fried Worms,” even ranks in the Top 100 of books most frequently attempted to be removed or censored from public libraries and schools.
Also, may I remind you of the episode of Gilligan’s Island where Tina Louise played both the desirable Ginger Grant and the repulsive, unattractive Eva Grubb?
And of course, the Sago Worm is also known as the Sago Grub. Clearly, we Americans have something against worms. I mean, Americans probably know more words to the Gilligan’s Island theme song than to the National Anthem.
Anyway, watch me put one of these damn things inside me:
I like how they placed the plate of deep fried worms right next to the live worms, to visit some Eli Roth-style horror upon the poor creatures. So long as I’m not the only one suffering at that table.
The locals have many descriptions of what this worm tastes like, to trick visitors into eating said creatures.
“It’s like blue cheese.”
“Tastes like coconut.”
“Just like milk.”
Liars! Actually, it’s not even a bad taste. There hardly is any taste at all. But the texture? Gaaaaaa! It’s much like trying to tear a piece of fatty meat with your teeth. And the squirting of the worm guts in your mouth will make you have a much greater appreciation for adult film actresses.
Oh well, when in Sabah, do as the Sabahans do! And then immediately brush your teeth repeatedly afterwards.