Capricorn Beetle

Sago worm

The Sago worm or Sago grub (si’et), is the larvae of the Capricorn Beetle (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus|Rhynchophorus ferrugineus/bilineatus). It lives and feeds on the starchy pulp of the trunk of the sago palm (after which it takes its name), which is common in the wetter freshwater swampy parts of Southeast Asia and Melanesia.

Sago worms have a plump, yellowy-cream body with a soft-ridged texture and a hard-shelled head. On close examination the body can be seen to be covered by fine hair.

Cultural Uses

In New Guinea sago worms are roasted on a spit to celebrate special occasions. They are eaten either alive or cooked in many parts of New Guinea, notably among the Asmat, Korowai and Kombai peoples of southern New Guinea. Sago grubs have been described as tasting like bacon or meat, and are often cooked together with sago flour.

Sago Delight, Kadazan or Fried Sago Worms is a speciality in Malaysia, although versions of this dish can be found in many Southeast Asian countries and Papua New Guinea. The sago worm also can be found in other starch-bearing palms such as the Pantu palm and Aping palm found in the interior of Borneo. It is regarded as a special high-nutrient delicacy among most Sarawak tribes such as the Melanau.

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