Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

The term “suri” means larvae of the Rhynchophourus palmarum, a beetle from the Curculionidae family. It comes from the Aguarana language, a local population living in the Peruvian forest.
The Rhynchophorous palmarum larvae are one of the main foods of Amazonian cuisine, various suri preparations can be found on local markets of the cities of Pucalpa and Belen, in the surroundings of Iquitos.
Traditionally, the local communities recreate the right conditions for the reproduction of the insects, so they lay eggs consistently throughout the year. The process that guarantees a suitable development of the larva calls for the felling of a Mauritia flexuosa palm tree, known under the name of aguaje, thus starting its decomposition. In the decomposing trunks, the cocotero (the common name of the palm beetles) lay eggs, which then give life to the suri. In two weeks these larvae reach a size that makes them apt for picking and consumption. To control the presence of the larvae, the locals place their ears on the aguaje trunk, and listen for the characteristic noise they emit when feeding on the palm heart.
Suri larvae have a cream colored tapered body and a darker head with pincers used to break down the palm hearts.
This product plays a very important part for the local population, because it is an easily accessible source of protein.
In recent years, unregulated deforestation and a massive use of pesticides in palm groves have reduced the occurrence of this precious resource. The local entities, having recognized the fundamental role of this food source, are promoting initiatives to regulate the felling of aguaje trees and the use of pesticides, thus controlling the native communities.

The larvae can be eaten raw as well as cooked: in the latter case, they can be fried or grilled (anticucho). Another way is to wrap the larvae in bijao leaves (Calathea lutea), and placing the resulting wrap on embers. The larva, once cooked, has a buttery consistency and an intense flavor.
Chiccharrones, or suri skewers, are served with fried plantain or boiled yucca.

Back to the archive >






Other info



Nominated by:Dauro Mattia Zocchi, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino