Sunday, 6 June 2010

2. Lukot

I'm a curious eater and is usually not afraid to put anything in my mouth that won't kill me. After watching Andrew Zimmern of Bizzare Foods. I decided to start this blog for anything weird or not so common good eating delicacies that I encounter in my country (Philippines), just for kicks. I will start it with the a local favorite seaweed salad consisting of a stringy, greenish or brownish noodle looking slimy textured delicacy. I have eaten this thing for years without knowing what it really is. Some say its a local seaweed, and others claim that its a native clam species poop. So out of boredom. I did some digging and googled to see if from what and where it actually came from. Here's what I found. This thing we call (Lukot or Lokot) is actually the eggs of a sea slug called (Dolabella auricularia) Sea Hares or Donsol in bisaya (pictured left) commonly found on lagoons and intertidal pools. The color of the eggs sacs are determined by the color of the macro algae the mother ate (the slugs are actually hermaphrodites) at the time of laying the eggs. The most common colors I see in the market are olive green, brownish red, purplish brown, aquamarine, and rarely in yellow. I'm not going to go in depth with the animal. You can read about them in Wikipedia now that you know what they are. The earliest that I can remember having this is when my father prepared some for lunch in a simple concoction of patis (fish sauce), onions, tomatoes, and calamansi. It tasted weird in a good way specially when you have fried fish and rice to go with it. Since then i developed a taste for it and every time I go home for vacation, this is the first thing I look for in the sea food market. I have read some blogs about the actual sea hare being toxic if eaten, the only recorded poisoning they found was when a couple brought some home and fried it without getting rid of the innards. They both started vomiting and was brought to the hospital. They both survived. Villagers in Fiji also eat the sea hare but does not suffer the toxic symptoms of the animal because they clean it and remove the intestines before eating. Some studies found that the actual animal itself does not produce the toxins but are getting it from some of the macro algae that they eat. They retain the toxins to serve as a deterrent for predators. I'm sticking to the eggs. Some more pics below. (The bean shaped cartilage looking stuff) is the shell of the sea hare. Next time you see one of these shells lying around, maybe you'll find some eggs for your pickings. The eggs are usually laid in Eel grass beds and big pools during low tide.


On my later visits to the Philippines. I had Lukot mixed in soups, inside grilled fish, and mixed in tuna ceviche. All of them tasted good. More pics below. If you see this in the menu, don't be scared. You might like it. Bonn Appetit!



Pics below shows how the eggs are sold in the markets.


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