fried abaleng/abalin, abal-abal/sibbaweng beetle grub/larvae

Abalin (also abaleng, or tateg [salagubang in Tagalog]), is the grub or larva of the abal-abal or sibbaweng (May/June beetle). While the adult abal-abal is more popularly known as a delicacy, its protein-rich grub is also edible and, as claimed by many "gourmands," even more palatable. Abalin is a popular fare especially in Cagayan and the rest of Cagayan Valley provinces, enjoyed and considered as an special delicacy by both Ibanags, Itaweses and the Ilokanos.These are usually found and gathered (dug out) near or on river banks in the rainy seasons, or prior to the onset of abal-abal season (May-June).

It's usually sold by the glassful early in the market or hawked around. It's kind of expensive but a best seller nonetheless because it's best as a kind of snack, besides being a scrumptious viand to go with rice. And it's a favorite pulotan (finger food) to go with drinks.

Nathaniel B. Gumangan, an Itawes from Enrile, Cagayan shared his simple recipe on how to cook a really good fried abalin (he supplied us the photographs used here), in some steps:

1. Wash and rinse the abalin thoroughly.

2. Soak the abalin in vinegar and salt for at least an hour.

3. And then, rinse with water. Put it in in a pan with some water. Boil the abalin. Simmer until water is reduced and eventually dry, stirring it occasionally with a ladle. 

4. Add in a little cooking oil and cracked garlic. Add in salt or patis to taste. Stir-fry the abalin until crispy.

5. Serve hot and crunchy!


  1. I have not eaten this in 20 years! I used to catch abal-abal when I was a kid. I remember my Mom bringing the dried variety to the US but they did not taste as good as when they are fresh.
    I love your blog. It makes me hungry and crave for the food/delicacies I ate growing up in Laoag :)

    1. Hello! So Abalin can be brought on the airplane? :)

  2. ALL THESE FOOD ARE REALLY YUMMY!! I CANT WAIT TO EAT THEM EXCEPT THE"ABALIN!!" PUT ME OFF MY FOOD COMPLETELY!!Hmmmmm...When i was growing up my parents used to cook them almost everyday.ALL sort of vegetables planted in our back garden.Now that I'm here abroad its hard to find these types of food/vegetables!!How i wish I can go home instantly.Sad.Your blog is excellent!! well done!!

  3. Dear Mr./Ms. Author,
    We want to ask for permission to copy some of your pictures regarding abalin.
    I hope its ok. Its for our thesis, exotic foods. To promote Tourism here in our country.
    Thank you.