IT’S usually monkeys who bite people, but if you go to Surigao del Sur, you have a chance to bite a monkey—and right on its heel too.
However is not what you think. Visit Erve’s Fastfood in Lianga, Surigao del Sur and try a rare and exotic dish that has drawn thousands of visitors from different parts of the world to try it.
It was the first day of our three-day trip to the province of Surigao del Sur and Erve’s Fastfood was our first stop for a very late breakfast.
As expected, a rich seafood feast was set for us on a long table. When we say seafood and you are in Surigao del Sur, think of the biggest crabs, lobsters, prawns, shrimps, slipper crabs, fish, seaweeds and an abundance of the rich marine treasures that only Surigao del Sur can dish out, but there was more to the feast.
At another table were two pairs of rough and spiny shells that Erve’s Fastfood owner Ivy Doguiles have set up, propped with a piece of glass to hold the covering shells in place. It was called Tikod amo, the local dialect term which literally means monkey’s heel is an edible rock oyster found in the deep waters of LianggaBay in Barobo Surigao del Sur. She said it is named Tikud amo because it closely resembles the ankle of an ape.
You cannot see Tikod amo displayed at the shelves or at the fastfood’s daily menu because they are not that easy to get. Doguiles said they are only served to a lucky few people and divers oftentimes go up empty handed because of the dwindling supply of Tikod amo.
Doguiles said it is also believed to be an aphrodisiac, which made the product all the more in demand.
I did not try the raw meat of the Tikod amo she prepared plain for us, but I nibbled on a small piece of the adobo version just to try..
To collect a kilo of Tikod amo meat, she said a diver has to dive at least more than five times and the task involves prying open the shell with a knife, collecting the meat inside and resurfacing before his lungs burst.
Doguiles said her grandfather Moises owned the fastfood which she inherited from her parents, and her grandpa had been preparing Tikod amo using their family recipe even before Tikud amo became popular, and very expensive, surpassing the price of all the other oyster meat available in the market.
Surigao del Sur is known as the “Shangri-La by the Pacific” for its famous attractions including the Britania Islands, Tinuy-an Falls, the ever famous Enchanted River, pristine beaches, caves, waterfalls, and other attractions both manmade and natural but don’t miss the chance to bite a monkey’s heel at Erve’s Fastfood. It might be your only chance before an ape bites you.