“Quieres probarlo?”, Carlos asks, as if I would even consider it. We had just stepped out of the van and come upon a vendor of roasted chicken, fish, and something that was clearly still alive. It was the latter he was inquiring about. Slimy grub wiggled around in a bowl of dried palm leaves. They looked far from food, and much closer to an infestation I might find under a wooden back porch. Of course I would never try one. And yet that exact thought is what made me challenge myself. Caught in my own test of bravery, I found myself watching her pierce 4 grubs on a wooden stick, salting them, and laying them (still alive) on the grill. They squirmed and writhed for a while as I almost gave up on this test. She prepared a plate with yuca, ensalada, and aji of the Amazon (Carlos had mentioned earlier there are 8 species the the aji pepper here!). We offered her the first bite of grub, to show us how it’s really done. She grabbed it off the stick by its head. One solid bite-just up the the edge of the head. I inhaled deeply and took my turn. CRUNCH! I could only think of Simba saying, “Slimy, yet satisfying!”

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