In 1985, on a trip to Saipan, I ate part of this fanihi. I was a young friar all of 23 years of age.
You can't see much of the fanihi; it was mostly eaten by the time we snapped this photo.
- how AWFUL it smelled when my aunties would cook it
- it smelled like they were cooking mildewy clothing that had been soaking in putrid water for days
- the smell made me want to run out of the house
- I refused to try it as a kid and began to doubt my relatives' soundness of mind because they enjoyed eating it
- the rat-like face and sharp teeth staring at me from the pot didn't help
- then I tried it - in 1985 - in Saipan - and thought it tasted OK
- it tasted NOTHING like it smelled
- as the saying goes, "It tasted sorta like chicken."
- between 1975 and 1981, the Northern Marianas exported 15,805 fanihi to Guam
- what the Northern Marianas ate within the Commonwealth is not included in that number!
- a lot of those fanihi were caught outside the legal times to hunt them
- fanihi can fly between the islands
- we hope that fanihi colonies in the unpopulated or underpopulated islands in the Marianas will help them survive
- John Lyell, a visiting Scottish doctor on a whaling ship during the years 1830 and 1831, says that the jungles of Guam swarm with fanihi
- they come out at dusk to feast on breadfruit
- they are prized by the Chamorros and sell for 3 reales each
- a real was a Spanish silver coin, worth an 8th of a peso, and a peso was equivalent to about 50 American cents
- so 3 reales was not a huge amount, about 19 cents
- they were so numerous that 200 could be seen hanging from the same tree, and one sling shot could kill 17 of them