Saturday, July 31, 2010

Living In Malaysia: Bidayus Don't Eat Crocodile


In Asia you can find some unusual food on the table.  I won't eat anything that's protected or endangered, but having said that, there are still some odd delicacies about. And when you're being taken out by new friends, you can hardly say, "Yuck, I won't eat that!" even if you think you are going to be sick just looking at the plate.

In my first year in Sarawak I ate jellyfish tentacles in orange sauce, sago worms (see pic courtesy of Wikipedia), and snake. But my mate David holds the record as far as I'm concerned for eating swamp toad stew. He talked nineteen to the dozen for days after, so I expect there is something in toad skin that makes you high.

Anyway, given the odd foods I'd seen served, I had the impression that Sarawakians eat pretty much everything.  So I was rather surprised when my mate Agatha told me there was no way she would eat crocodile.

As far as I knew, Agatha ate everything under the sun, except for prawns to which she is allergic. When I poked for more info, Agatha explained that her tribe, the Bidayuh of Sarawak, had made a pact with the crocodiles centuries ago not to eat one another.

"When we wash our clothes in the river," Agatha said seriously, "We sing a song to remind the crocodiles of this promise. And to this day they don't eat us and we don't eat them."

Next time I'm offered sago worms, I'm going to use that as an excuse.  

14 comments:

Whisppy said...

"Sago worm, sago worms!! Remember our promise made years ago! I won't eat you and YOU won't eat ME!". LOL!

Dora said...

Don't count me in for those foods. Yucks! ;p

Hannah and Lucy said...

Oh No - our mum wouldn't eat any of those things but sago worms sound the worst.

Katnip Lounge said...

I'm going to expand the list to green olives and beets, as well. It would terrify me to be attacked and eaten by a beet.

Mishkat said...

I really like the story about the Bidayuh's agreement with the crocodiles.

P.S. Re eating habits, some of the Asian people I know don't see how Europeans can eat cheese. Not sure how they feel about it in Malaysia, though?

Live Out Loud said...

That is a grand excuse...My great excuse is I don't eat meat so I get to avoid all those potentially awkward moments when I'm offered octopus or elk. Poor things...

I really enjoy your Blog and if you stop by my blog, you can pick up a Versatile Blogger Award I want to pass on to you!

Au and Target said...

Mishcat: About Asians and cheese: some people here are lactose intolerant. Some just don't like cheese in any shape or form. Some do like cheese but usually the plain stuff, not the blue cheeses or goat cheeses.

But the girl who target white men make a huge fuss about "just loving cheese". They make a lot of fun about them, esp in Singapore.

Gattina said...

Honnestly, I would probably close my eyes and try one worm, but I am not sure, lol !
Re the Belgians, no problem here between the people it's only the politicians who are the trouble makers. Has always been like that since I remember and I live more then 50 years now here.

Inigo Flufflebum and d'Artagnan Rumblepurr said...

Hmmm.... I think we'll stick with the tuna fishes here.

Lucy the Cat said...

Yes, I think I would too! As a matter of fact, I'd have a pact with just about everything I considered yucky.

BeadedTail said...

I think we should all have that pact with crocodiles! As for the worms, uhm, no way would I eat those!

Neri said...

just... wow that you ate the worms.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

LOL, are you a sago palm, Ellen? Why else would you worry about sago worms eating you?

Thanks for the story. Now I know what to say when people ask me why I am vegetarian:
"Years ago I made a pact with chicken, fish, goats and other animals that I won't eat them if they won't eat me."

bitsum said...

<3 your sense of humor!!

let me introduce my self, i are 21, living in johor bahru and i are currently fostering a 2 month old kitty cat till he get better. Poor Golidilocks is afflicted with a great deal, he's got the flu poor thing, a case of the mange, and an infected paw. he's seen the vet, and hopefully he should get better in the next two weeks. It's been a day and he's appetite has increased significantly, which i am very happy about.

xo, ibtissam