Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fruit Bat soup: Palau’s famed delicacy

For a non-adventurous eater, it takes real guts and a strong determination to taste one of the local delicacies Palau is known for, the fruit bat soup but this delicacy had been steadily gaining popularity abroad that for some tourists, one has not won the
“Been-There- Done-That” label in Palau until you've dined on fruit bat soup.

“We usually get orders for fruit bat soup from the Chinese but it is the Chamorros from Saipan and Guam who considers it a local treat and really eats the fruit bat soup with gusto,” Luz Jorge of the Penthouse Hotel said.

She said they also get a orders from a few Europians who would like to satisfy their curiosity about this famous delicacy.

I watched in fascination as Penthouse chef Norbert Amadar took the frozen bats from the freezer, washed then with cold water, sprinkled salt and quartered onions on top of them and proceeded to put them in a skillet for boiling.
“It takes about 35 minutes for the bats to be ready. Depending on how the customer likes it prepared. It can be just be served as a soup, or with coconut milk,” Amadar said.

The bats, also known as Flying Foxes, are a traditional food in some Pacific islands like Saipan, Rota, Tinian, and Guam but in Palau, it is considered a delicacy.

Recently, a Korean television crew came to feature the fruit bat soup for their show. The guests were made to eat the soup without knowing what it is at first and got varied shocked reactions (ewwww!!!) when the whole dish was presented to them later.

A serving of fruit bat consists of a They put the whole damn fruit bat in it - fur, wing membranes, feet and little pink tongue sticking out through sharp tiny teeth.
The soup, which consists of one “grinning” fruit bat boiled, fur and all, is served on a platter. It is then ripped apart by hand and eaten. The fur is not swallowed, as this would be disgusting. Instead, the fur is chewed until the nice musky taste has been sucked out of it, and then the tasteless fur is spit out.
Aside from Penthouse, other restaurants like Carp Restaurant also serve fruit bat soup from $15 to $18 a serving.

Fruit bat soup is rumored to enhance sexual virility, but that is one thing I don’t intend to find out.

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