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Balang (Locusts)

Pests consume man’s food and sometimes man retaliates by making a feast out of the pest. A locust swarm moving in on a rice field is one of the most discouraging sights to a farmer. To catch his enemies, he puts up bamboo poles with nets shaped like large scoops. Locusts come down like rain, catching their spiny legs or heads in the nets.

Locusts used to descend upon Bulacan, Pampanga, Visayas, and Mindanao. But plagues have since become controlled and locusts are now acquired for eating only from Mindanao. They are sold by the sack, live, or in cornucopia measures, partly cooked. Refried in deep oil till crisp, locusts have a grassy fish-roe taste. These crisp balang are popular with poor as well as aristocratic Visayans and Pampangos. The eggs are particularly relished because “they taste like butter.” Other gourmets prefer the heads.

Balang (Locusts)

Balang (Locusts)

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