sautéed buos/abuos (red/weaver ants) eggs

'Twas abuos (or buos, red/weaver ants) egg-harvesting season when I happened to see this bounty in the public market:

For all I know, harvesting this egg in abundance is seasonal as you can't expect any of it in the market all year round. A rarity that's one reason of its being a delicacy and being branded as an "exotica" in Ilokano cuisine. Although, of course, eating ants and insects is not exclusive to Ilokanos and other Pinoys but most of Asia, especially Southeast, do. For one, in Thailand, the red ant eggs and the ant itself is a delicacy, too, along with tons of other bugs edible to whoever has the fancy or "stomach" to enjoy it. Well, even Mexicanos feast on a delicacy of ant eggs called "escamole" which they refer to as "insect caviar."


See those magnificent eggs--errrr, pupae--and and "infant" ants in there? Looks yucky for some but yummy for a lot more Ilokanos who don't consider this as an exotica of sorts but just plain and simple viand to go with a hard-earned, perfectly steamed--nalinlinay and nakasaysayamusom--rice.

Preparing the abuos dish is again simplest of the simple. Mostly, it is sautéed or stir-fried: you slice some onions, crush some cloves of garlic, slice some tomatoes; put some cooking oil in a pan, and over high heat, sauté the onions, garlic and tomatoes, and after which put in the eggs and stir fry. Add some salt, and some ground pepper if you like. Cooking the eggs is brief, you know it's done when they become more translucent and shrunk a little than its raw size.


A somehow comfort food that yet again shows the versatility and industry of the Ilokanos and his cuisine.

(Originally blogged November 12, 2009)


  1. Yes, Buos is an edible tree ant eggs. Buos has a a bit of a sour taste, it it's great.

  2. Where can I buy ant eggs? I'm from manila, sampaloc area. Also interested in upk or coconut worms? Been searching but until now... No luck...