Why Colombians love ants with big arses
If you love trying new things, then you’ll definitely want to get your teeth into hormigas culonas. This literally translates to ‘ants with a large arse’ but don’t let that put you off!
To try this special snack you will have to go to South America and arrive in Colombia, a country famous for its rare fauna and flora, and maybe its ants.
The hormigas culonas is one of the typical gastronomic foods on offer in Colombia, but you cannot eat this delicious snack all year round. It’s only available in the months of April and May, when the ants come out of their nesting grounds for 1 or 2 days. Because of this, the hormigas culonas is a quite an expensive delicacy, but it’s worth every peso.
It’s also very rare to find hormigas culonas outside the Santander region. This is the best place to enjoy these tasty treats and it’s a great opportunity to explore this beautiful area, full of extreme sports and breathtaking views.
The story behind hormigas culonas is quite interesting; this food was firstly used by an indigenous tribe called the guanes as part of their food culture. This tribe lived between the 7th and 16th century, learning how to capture the ants and how to defend themselves from the bite of the male ant, which isn’t eaten.
A very cool thing about eating these ants is that they are believed to prevent diseases, such as high cholesterol in the blood, and have longevity properties. Pretty amazing how these little friends can provide so many health benefits.
So being a Colombian and being raised to be opened-minded, I first tried hormigas culonas when I was 7 years old and I will never forget my first impression. To be honest, it doesn’t look very appealing, so my advice is don’t look it very much, just eat it! When you try it you will have a feeling that you are eating kind of a peanut, because it is crunchy and salty, but it has this indescribable hormigas taste that makes it so different. When you travel to Colombia and try it, you will know what I mean.
* Photo in Colombia by Jonathan Smith, for the Intrepid Photography Competition.