The French call them escargot, but in Pampanga, we call them susô or kuhol. Snails have long been a treat in Philippine cuisine. It is also popularly known as susông palipit since their shell looks twisted.
Harvested during the rainy season, they are found mostly in rivers and streams and peddled along the streets in the provinces. They are usually sold by the kilo.
The preparation is quite simple. The snails have to be washed thoroughly so that unnecessary soil residue is removed. It will then be sautéed in garlic, and fish sauce or patis (which is a commonly used seasoning in Asian countries) is added.
Sometimes, a stalk of lemon grass is also used to add a zesty flavor to the dish. A cup or two of freshly pressed coconut milk is poured over the snails…and voila! A ginataang susô or snails braised in coconut milk is made.
This dish may not appeal to other people since the mere thought of eating snails could be gross. I often use a toothpick to get the meat inside, but mostly, I just suck in the meat directly from the shell.
If you’re curious about how the snails taste, they are actually delicious and have a fishy, salty taste. The texture is a little slimy. But again, as with any other exotic food, eating snails is an acquired taste. I would highly recommend this dish to any visitor in the Philippines!
This is a guest post from Paula of Magalang, Pampanga.