Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Local food – “iobo” – Sea sausage?

We have this local seafood, which in Teop is called ‘iobo’, but we don’t really know what the proper English term for it is. We have heard it called a ‘sea sausage’, but I googled that and didn’t find anything that looked like iobo. It’s not a sea cucumber either. So if anyone out there reading this is a marine life specialist and knows what it is, please post a comment and let me know!

Here’s one that’s recently been caught. It is covered in sand, so you can’t really see it properly. Its mouth is at the end on the left.

Iobo is an invertebrate and it’s not a crustracean. It has no arms or legs, and it lives just under the sand. I haven’t been to catch iobo yet, so I can’t describe the process, but it is done at the reef when it is low tide.

They turn the iobo inside out to gut it, and it remains inside out when it is cooked and eaten. Here is some iobo on a plate.

So, what is iobo like to eat? Is it gross? No, it’s not that hard to eat. It has a bit of a fishy taste to it, as you would expect since it comes from the sea. It’s a bit rubbery like calamari, but it breaks down easily when you chew it (unlike calamari that hasn’t been cooked properly which you have to chew for ages).

I am quite happy to eat iobo and I don’t have an allergic reaction to it. It seems that some people do, as they have asked us, “When you ate it, did your skin get itchy?” and our answer is “No”, but obviously it does affect some people giving them itchy skin.

A plate of food which has one iobo going across it:

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