21 Oct2006


My mother was an avid amateur gardener. And she was a vehement nemesis of garden snails, to the point that she would find them, extract them, turn them upside down on the pavement and salt them so that they would suffer a cruel and slow death. Needless to say, animal or snail rights discussions were not popular in our home. So with that as the starting context, you can understand that we NEVER ate snails of any sort in my childhood. I realize now that the common garden snail is a different species from the ones served in restaurants and sourced from marshy rice fields but never mind that fact, these are slimy beings inside a curled shell. In our warped sense of cuisine at the time, these were not for consumption purposes. That is, until I had my first plate of snails at a French restaurant…

By that time, I realized that snail consumption was so revered in some parts of the globe that they had their own specialized plate (so the shells would steady). The heady aroma of serious amounts of butter and garlic made these kuhol2critters even more sought after. Escargot are one of those dishes that once you learn to love, will never forget. But back home in the Philippines, childhood prejudices die hard and I have continued to avoid snails at restaurants unless someone else has ordered and I need to be polite. I still find that eating the entire inside can be a bit gritty, or sometimes bitter. I purchased an order of kuhol sa gata at the Salcedo market this morning and had some. They were good but I still had that odd feeling that the meat had a few too many variations on texture that were slightly disturbing. I also don’t like these cold – I think they should be eaten just after cooking before the meat toughens up too much. Then I started to wonder why Escargot are first extracted from their shells before cooking them and returning them to clean shells and the broiler before serving. It seems, many folks who serve snails remove the offensive parts of the insides and only eat the foot. See a description of how to prepare them here. Now we are talking. I can imagine a labor intensive effort to remove the snail meat, use only the firm more solid protein and dousing it in hot coconut milk and spices. Yum. theoretically, that is making rice paddy snails sound really really good!!!



  1. fried-neurons says:

    I’m kind of like you, I guess. I eat kuhol sa gata, albeit with some trepidation always at the back of my mind. But I devour escargot with gusto. Can’t explain my attitude, though.

    Oct 21, 2006 | 3:50 pm


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  3. Marketman says:

    fried-neurons, it’s the lingering knowledge that all the internal and poop equivalent organs are removed from escargot but all there in kuhol. So there, in fact, the covering of the body at the entrance of the shell is still there. Read the link in the post and you’ll get even more hibbi-gibbies about having to be certain you kill the parasites that can ride on kuhol if not cooked properly!!!

    Oct 21, 2006 | 4:39 pm

  4. elna says:

    I never had kuhol though they certainly were a delicacy in Samar where I grew up. My mother never cooked them and I never had the desire to try them!

    Oct 21, 2006 | 5:05 pm

  5. Hershey says:

    I used to eat kuhol or ginataang suso but not anymore since my mother once said I might get a bacteria from it that causes elephantiasis. Uh-oh.:)

    Oct 21, 2006 | 8:06 pm

  6. rose aka sofia says:

    Yummmy! I miss eating kuhol sa gata. A favorite appetizer when we dine out, if it is available.

    I love using them toothpicks to get that sometimes hard to ‘pick’ meat. Hehe.

    Oct 21, 2006 | 9:00 pm

  7. fried-neurons says:

    MM, I can’t find the link you spoke of…

    Oct 22, 2006 | 1:54 am

  8. Maria Clara says:

    Any living creatures has intestinal tract in them and thereafter contain some bile elements in them. Same principle applies here as to kuhol. They need to be well-prepared before embarking them to the cooking pan. Sad to say, no one there ever gave lessons on how to clean them but my paternal grandmother loved them so much and knew how to prep them. They are not instant gratification food. To take them out of their shell you need to cut the tip of the shell then with a tweezers she pulled out the meat and kept only the solid spiral meat and the soft gel texture she tossed them out. Then she put the meat back into the shell and cooked them with either gata or just plain water with chile leaves, crushed ginger, patis and bagoong. She said the shell gave out a lot of flavor. Kuhol were seasonal then only during rainy season. The French people even have a silverware made for eating escargot.

    Oct 22, 2006 | 6:05 am

  9. Marketman says:

    fried-neurons, egads, you can’t find the link because I forgot to put it! Will look for it and revise the post…sorry. I was thinking faster than doing… Here is the link

    Oct 22, 2006 | 8:02 am

  10. Veron says:

    Yum! Kuhol! Otherwise known over here as escargot. Well fancy or not , my fondest memory of it was when there was this really huge kuhol and it took me and my dad to get the sucker (no pun intended) out. I think my dad was pulling on the shell and I had a small fork stuck in the head and was tugging it the other way.

    Oct 22, 2006 | 10:18 am

  11. chrissy says:

    Kuhol sa gata! Yum! I started eating these when I was 7 (at the same time I was into torturing snails in our garden with salt hehehe)… This is one dish I’d rather not know how to prepare hehehe

    Oct 23, 2006 | 2:06 pm

  12. ishdafish says:

    There used to be rice paddies near our house where the newer subdivisions are now, and I remember that right after storms (or just a very hard rain) my mom used to send us out with our little plastic pails to get kuhol. We’d bring home a lot, and they’d cook the lil suckers just like that with gata and sili leaves.

    Never ate them until I was grown, though. But the grownups always had a great time eating the kuhol we brought home. :-D

    Oct 24, 2006 | 10:11 pm

  13. kaye says:

    hmm.. one of the few dishes i was able to try when my grandma was still alive.. it’s been years and years since i last ate this.. now i know why my grandma always picks them little critters out first.. good thing i wasn’t able to taste those stuff which were really supposed to be removed.. hehehe.. still love ginataang kuhol.. yum!!

    Oct 25, 2006 | 2:08 am

  14. brenda says:

    spicy ginataang kuhol with kangkong is the the best with an ice cold beer! I dont use toothpick, I just suck the meat out! yummy…….

    Jul 20, 2007 | 8:01 am

  15. Romy Ibarra says:

    Today, 23 March 2008, my wife bought half kilo of kuhol at Cainta Public Market. We noticed that they are still moving, or I may said that they are still alive. I cleaned it carefully with water for almost 10 minutes. Then my wife cooked it with coconut milk, salt, and pepper for 20 minutes. My oh my! It smell so bad. Even upstairs of our house you can smell its bad odor. I tried to taste one, and my gosh “ang baho talaga”.Maybe my wife or even me don’t know how to cook it. At this time, I’m still searching on how to cook this kuhol.

    Mar 23, 2008 | 12:56 pm

  16. wanderer says:

    I love kuhol sa gata! Period.

    Nov 6, 2008 | 5:23 am

  17. beleazar says:

    I am fond of eating ginatang kuhol and suso. Do they cause arthritis? or Gout?

    Jul 26, 2009 | 11:09 am


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