Parlez-vous Français?

Manila Travel Blog

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Fresh live snails from the market (called "Kuhol")

This journal entry is about EscargotYep, the French delicacy- SNAILS.  So, Parlez-vous français ? Non, but I do Parlez-vous escargot (Lol) err, I mean I do eat escargot, the Pinoy (Filipino) way, that is.  :)

One sunny day I asked my mum to look for snails in the market.  I suddenly had this craving for Kuhol (snails in Filipino) which made me wonder how the French serve their famous appetizer of escargot.  Thus I did some research and I was surprised to learn about a few things...

First, the snails come from a can! But eventhough it comes from a can, the print on the can saying "French Snails" seemingly makes it appetizing already.

A different kind of snail called "Kulot", meaning 'curled' in English (and when the meat comes out it's curly too! Lol)
Lol. Just add the word "French" to almost anything and immediately the value goes up! ;) Uuuh, except french fries maybe hihi...

Second, the snails in the can are already de-shelled. Aww! Where's the fun in that? I don't know about you, but I like the challenge of trying to get the snail out of its shell, hehe.  I also read that the empty shells are bought separately, so after it's cooked with garlic, herbs, French liquor, and butter, the snails are inserted back in the shells, and voilà! Escargot Bourguignonne (sounds so delicious and complicated eh?) ! :) Hmm, I'd love to try that authentic French appetizer some day, I read the snails taste differently per species &/or region.

Here in the Philippines, we are fortunate enough to have access to a lot of fresh seafood.

Snails in Coconut milk, ready to eat! :)
 Most shellfish like crabs, lobsters, mussels, clams, oysters and some varieties of fish are sold fresh (live) in the wet markets.  Pretty cheap too (except lobsters and crabs, but still cheaper compared to US/Au/Eu)! Our snails are sold fresh as well, might have darker colored shells than the French kind but the meat looks the same. ;) And they are even cheaper than the other shellfish!

There is only one way to prepare the Filipino version of escargot (well, only one I've heard of so far...) and this is with coconut milk.  Quite yummy if you know how to do it right.  The trick is to steep the live snails in water overnight (at least) before you cook them (and change the water every so often) to get rid of the dirt, sand, and grit (eww, I hate biting into a gritty tail end!).

  Then when you're ready to cook, clean the shells, crack the end part of the shell with a spoon (to loosen the meat inside the shell), then drop the shells into a boiling pot of water.  Once you see the the shell covers start separating (the thingy that's stuck to the head like a door), they are done! :) And for those of you who want to try the Filipino version- just sauté garlic, ginger, onions, chilies in butter on a different pot, add the (fresh) coconut milk (if powdered, follow packet instructions), a little water (dilute according to taste), transfer the cooked snail shells (discard the water), then lastly, add the greens (string/green beans, bird's eye chili leaves, moringa leaves, your choice).  Mix it, let it simmer and it's done (plus S&P to taste)! Bon appétit ! :)

How to de-shell:  1. Suck the closed/cracked end part, then suck the opening, and out it comes! Lol  2. shake it out by holding the shell (with it's opening facing down your plate) a few inches high while bumping your wrists together  3. use a toothpick to get it out- but this usually breaks the meat in half and you'll just end up with the head part (Lol). Personally, I prefer #2.  Best served with rice! Mmm!



amazed says:
Nice =)
Posted on: Aug 27, 2012
GMendozaFilms says:
Posted on: Aug 03, 2012
Daive says:
Thanks Daniel! :)
Posted on: Mar 17, 2012
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Fresh live snails from the market …
Fresh live snails from the market…
A different kind of snail called …
A different kind of snail called …
Snails in Coconut milk, ready to e…
Snails in Coconut milk, ready to …
photo by: Deats