Published: April 2011. For a more updated guide, visit: Puerto Princesa Travel Guide.
The Poor Traveler isn’t really a brave food lover. I’m just a food lover. But I’d rather be on the usual, ordinary, typical, safe, boring side when it comes to trying a place’s delicacy. That explains why eating sea urchin at Virgin Island in Bohol didn’t interest me. And why I barely touched the stingray served at KaLui restaurant. My tastebuds aren’t bold enough. My tastebuds don’t like anything they are not used to. I always blame my tastebuds, not myself.
Anyway, since Palawan is also famous for several stay-away-from-me delicacies, I dread each time I would dine with my friends during my stay in Puerto Princesa. You see, they love trying new, exotic things. I knew they wouldn’t let the trip end without trying Palawan’s most famous mollusk — the tamilok!
Tamilok, also known as woodworm, is actually not a worm. It is a mollusk living inside the branches of mangrove trees. But because of their long, slender, slimy body, they really resemble worms. They are usually sold in wet markets across Palawan, especially in Puerto Princesa City. Many restaurants serve tamilok. One of these restaurants is Kinabuchs along Rizal Avenue.
And Kinabuchs was where we would have dinner that night.
True enough, when my friends got hold of the menu and spotted tamilok, they decided to order a plate of it. They asked me what I wanted — fresh or breaded/fried. But before I could answer, they ordered fresh tamilok already. I became very vocal about how I feel about it but they asked me to choose between tamilok and crocodile meat. I would have said “neither” but I didn’t wanna come off as a buzz kill so I said, “Fine, tamilok it is.” The things I’d do for friends.
When it was served, everyone (but me) got excited. They all sampled it. When it was my turn, I readied a glass of water. Chaser daw.
It didn’t taste bad. (But I won’t say it tasted good, either.) It had a weird aftertaste. It tasted like, well, wood. I ate a couple more and then started digging in on the more conventional dishes we ordered.
How to get there: Kinabuch’s is located along Rizal Ave in the city proper. If your hotel is within the city, you can simply take a tricycle. It’s a pretty popular restaurant. I’m sure the driver knows where it is.