You know, two months ago my mother told me to quit my job because I was getting fat from doing food reviews.
Looking back, I should have taken her advice because then I wouldn’t have to do what I had to do in the name of work – eat ox tongue and sago worms.
It was part of the Squeal Meal challenge and yes, like the name suggests, I did lots of squealing although none in joy.
Let me remind you that I am no bizarre food enthusiast and that I have always played safe when it comes to my meals. I am the kind of person who asks for my meat “extremely well done that it is almost burnt” at restaurants.
Now, I may be a wimp when it comes to eating extreme food but I am no spoilsport.
So like I promised last week, I went on a quest to find sup torpedo (bull’s penis soup) and was told that it can be found at a stall along Jalan Doraisamy in Kuala Lumpur.
I arrive slightly after 10pm, and the tables around the stall are full of patrons enjoying soups of all kind. I ask two male waiters for a serving of sup torpedo, and they gave me a judgmental look before a third one arrived to ascertain my order.
If you didn’t know, sup torpedo is believed to act as an aphrodisiac that gets men excited in more ways than one.
The third waiter got impatient when I insisted to have sup torpedo as advertised on their menu.
“We don’t serve them anymore because nobody wants to have it. Why don’t you try sup lidah and urat instead? They taste almost the same,” he said authoritatively.
Whether it’s a bull’s penis or tongue or veins, I figured that it won’t make a difference as I would still freak out.
The thick and well seasoned soup spelled a good start to my challenge. Unfortunately, that good feeling didn’t last long. I panicked when the ox tongue hit mine as I pictured myself kissing a great big ox. Nope, it was not a pretty picture. I bit the tongue and the texture was simply too much for me to take. I spat it out.
The veins, however, were similar to chicken cartilage and weren’t too difficult to chew or swallow.
I thought that I had faced the worst Squeal Meal Challenge so far when I get a message from my friend saying that her father made good on his promise to deliver sago worms.
Thirty worms, priced at 30 sen a pop, made their way to Peninsular Malaysia from Sarawak, although not all of them survived the journey.
The sago worm is the larvae of the sago palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus that lives in the trunk of sago palm trees. It is a delicacy in Sarawak and Sabah, and can even be found in Africa and Europe. The worms can be eaten raw or cooked and are considered a great source of protein.
So there I was at the office on a Saturday afternoon, holding a tub full of sago worms, hoping to find my cojones and eat one of them raw.
I opened the lid and squealed so loudly that my colleagues rushed over to see if I was all right.
The fat, wriggly and squiggly worms were beyond what I had expected. I was thinking of excuses to not go through with this challenge when I found a saviour in the form of a colleague Grace Chen. She calmed me down and walked me through the process.
Four people crammed into the tiny pantry to watch Grace as she took a worm, washed it, snipped off its head with scissors and sucked the remaining life out of the grub. Okay, she was actually sucking the fatty bits, apparently the best part of the sago worms.
She took another worm out of the tub and prepared it … for me.
Grace held out her hand, the headless worm between two fingers, and asked me to suck the fatty insides. I closed my eyes and hoped for an earthquake, but no such luck. My lips hit the grub and I sucked the creamy texture that oddly tasted like cheese, and made a mental note to never eat cheese or marshmallows until this event fades from my memory.
I couldn’t believe that I had completed the challenge … well kinda, since a hater pointed out that I had to chew the entire worm sans head for it to qualify as “eating a sago worm”. Ugh, haters are just gonna hate …
Anyway, this is more than what I thought I could do in the name of duty and for that I deserve two thumbs up, a pat on my back, and just to make my mother happy, a raise perhaps? Just saying.