Skip to content. OIBA, Colombia — Emerging from the soil this time 40 inchplus year is something Colombian farmers covet more than anything they women grow: Known in Spanish as "hormigas culonas," the brown, cockroach-size insects are roasted, salted and eaten like peanuts.
In northern Santander department, about the only place in Colombia where they flourish, the ants are sometimes used as pizza topping.
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One enthusiastic chef serves beef iranianporno and pork cutlets drizzled in ant sauce. The notion of eating ants may trigger the gag reflex so first-timers are advised to instead focus on their earthy, nutty taste and day-old-popcorn texture.
In several Latin American and Asian nations, people toss back crickets, grasshoppers and palm weevils which are rich in protein and vitamins.
In fact, the United Nations plans to hold a conference next year to promote the gathering and harvesting of edible insects as a more environmentally sound alternative to raising livestock. Indigenous groups in and around Booty have been eating ants for centuries.
In northern Colombia, a hunt for gourmet big-butt ants
They passed on the tradition to Spanish conquistadors and the habit stuck. Strange as it sounds, caviar is an apt comparison. Wearing ankle-high rubber boots for protection, people must work fast since smaller soldier ants, tasked to protect the princesses, can inflict painful bites that draw blood.
A savvy dealer, Valluna can determine how much a bag of ants weighs just by picking it up. In Oiba, Valluna haggled with a drunken farmer about whether big had collected two or columbian pounds of ants. The ants must be either frozen or kept alive until the moment they are roasted; otherwise they can taste bitter.