When we were in Palau, we were out to dinner one night and S, a member of our group, ordered the Palauan delicacy, fruitbat. No one was quite sure what to expect, but when it arrived there was an indescribable shocked hush followed by uproar because it was, frankly, the most unnerving dish. The most astonishing thing was the lack of finesse in preparation: it looked as though they'd dunked the bat in hot water to cook it and then sploshed it in to the bowl with some coconut milk and a few desultory vegetables; and the hair, and the wings, were all still intact, with its little face, teeth bared,as well they might be, poking up above the water line.
Such was the commotion on the appearance of this dish that the restaurant staff looked somewhat affronted and I was suddenly cringeingly conscious of the fact that we were mocking what amounted to their national dish -
If you are squeamish, look away now
- but when S sliced off its face to eat the brain - and you have to give him credit for eating, at the end of the day, all the meat he could find on its little body - there was really no way to respond except with a kind of appalled gasp.
I took the photo above using S's camera. I'm pleased with it, under the circumstances, but I don't think I'll be selling it to Nigella for her next recipe book.