That One Time I Ate Some Ants…

… And they tasted salty, crunchy, toasty, and I didn’t end up re-enacting a Fear Factor scene.


A few months that felt like a lifetime ago, when I knew that I was going to live in a city called Bucaramanga, naturally I googled it right away. I didn’t find that many information on the city itself, but I did find interesting points about Santander, the state department (?). One, it’s the perfect place for extreme sports and nature activities. Two, its typical food included arepa santandereano and big-butt ants. What?

Hormiga culona is a typical snack almost exclusive to Santander. It literally means big-butt ant. That actually confused me a little. Don’t all ants have big butt? Not that i’d ever observed an ant’s butt… ANYWAY. I came across the snack in my first week in Colombia when we went to Curití, Barichara, and San Gil, charming little towns in the Santander region. I had read somewhere that the snacks were only available in the spring when all the ants came out. But I was there August – November and I saw them everywhere (the snack, not the live ants).

Now I never considered myself adventurous, at least not enough to eat a bug. But I was in Colombia! South America! So screw comfort zone, I’m getting myself some ants! Or at least one ant.

As my friend was letting them out of the little plastic into my palms, I figured that the only way I could eat it was by not observing it too closely. Maybe if I kept it at an arm-length visibility it would look just like a black nutshell, not a creature with small legs. And it worked. I managed to put one into my mouth and heeey, it was okay. It’s definitely not something that I would eat twice, but at least I could tell my future children that their mother once ate a big-butt ant in Colombia.




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