A Menu to Remember

Amazonas was the last regional visit I went on before I completed my tenure in Venezuela. It was not easy to reach the Capital, Puerto Ayacucho. In one place, our car had to be transported across a river on a barge since there was no bridge. I was welcomed warmly by the Governor, who accompanied me throughout the visit. On the second day, he took us out to a culinary-institute-cum-restaurant, which specialised in indigenous recipes. Amazonas is home to various indigenous groups, which have retained their customs and culture.

For appetizer, we were served deep-fried tarantula legs and cutlets made out of tarantula (Araña mona del Amazonas venezolano). The main course had a dish made out of weevil larvae (Gusanos de moriche). Another had wild ants (bachaco culón). The chocolates, too, were ant-flavoured. The pineapple was the sweetest and smallest I’ve ever eaten. The Governor said that Amazonas is the real home of pineapple. None of the other fruits that I tried had I seen earlier. In all, it was a meal, where almost every dish that was on offer was something that I had never seen before.

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