Eating apple snails


Pila ampullacea
Woman preparing Pila ampullacea snails on a market in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam, Januari 2001.
(picture not licenced under creative commons).

Apple snails are well edible and are often considered a protein rich delicacy. Consuming these snails is therefore an interesting option in those area's where they have become a pest and treat for the rice and taro production. In such cases, eating these snails has two benefits: 1. Collecting the snails is encouraged; 2. The diet of the farmers (especially in thirth world countries) is enriched with a protein source.


Nutritive value
The nutritional value of apple snails is relatively high. More precisely, the protein content of apple snail can make them a good protein source for humans.
For example the protein value of Pomacea haustrum is reported to be 72.9% for humans. In practise this means that out of 100 gram snail protein, 72.9 gram human body proteins can be made.
To understand this (skip this if you have a good knowledge about proteins), one has to know that proteins are made of chains of amino acids, and that there are 20 different amino possible acids in both snail as well human proteins. The ratio of each amino acid to the whole mass of proteins in the body differs from snails and humans. So if one eats apple snail meat, the human body cannot use all amino acids, simply because some amino acids are in overload and others are less available in comparison with the amino acid content of human proteins. The unused amino acids cannot be stored in the body, and will be degraded and used an energy source.
An example (not realistic) to illustrate this: if apple snail proteins are made of 10% amino acid A and 90% amino acid B and human proteins consist of 50% A and 50%B, then a human can only make 20gr proteins from 100gr snail proteins. This because 100gr snail protein in this example contains 10gr A and 90gr B, and a human will only use an equal amount of A and B (50%A, 50%B), so for 10gr A, a human will use 10gr B, resulting in 20gr protein.



Nutritive value of Pomacea canaliculata

(From Management options for the Golden Apple Snail. Rice Technology Bulletin 2001, No 33)

Values for 100 g fresh apple snail meat

Food energy 83 calories / 347 Joules
Protein 12.2 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrates 6.6 g
Fiber 0 g
Ash 3.2 g
Phosphor 61 mg
Sodium 40 mg
Potassium 17 mg
Riboflavin 12 mg
Niacin 1.8 mg
Vit C., zinc, copper, manganese, and iodine small amounts



Precautions have to be taken to kill the possible parasites that these snails can carry. Cook the snails thoroughly before consumption as this is a simple and effective way to eliminate the risk of infection. NEVER eat raw or poorly cooked snails!
Some basic tips to prepare the snails:
1. Put the snails in a tank without food for 2 days to make sure that the intestines are emptied (optional).
2. Boil the snails lightly or freeze them to kill the snails.
3. Remove the snails from their shell with a hook or tweezers.
4. Remove the body and intestines of the snails (only eat the foot). The internal organs don't taste well; especially the albumen (yolk) gland from the female apple snail has bad taste (the same bad taste as the eggs, a possible protection mechanism against predators).
5. Remove the operculum (shell door).




Chicharon "Golden" kuhol (apple snail) recipe

(Mr. M.S. dela Cruz and Dr. R.C. Joshi, Philippines)
(text and pictures not licenced under creative commons)


  • 4-6 kg apple snails with shell (yields 0.75-1.0 kg of apple snail flesh).
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 red chilli
  • ½ tsp. alum
  • 1 cup vegetable cooking oil (for frying)
  • ½ cup cornstarch or flour
  • 1 egg

1. Collect large adults of apple snails ("golden" Kuhol) in the paddy, canals, and fishponds during early morning or late in the afternoon. Use attractants - gabi/ azolla/ banana leaves, or newspaper, to facilitate quick collection. collect
2. Soak the collected snails in water for 24 hours to remove undigested food. Remove the dead "golden" Kuhol. in bin
3. Boil the snailsl in large container for 20-30 minutes. Boiling makes it easier to remove the flesh from the shell. boil
4. Clean flesh again while removing the stomach. Rinse the flesh with alum (Tawas) to remove the unpleasant odor. clean
5. Mix the following ingredients (1 tsp. black pepper, ¼ cup soy sauce, 3 tbsp. vinegar, 3 cloves garlic, and 1-2 red chilli) with the "golden" Kuhol. Marinade for 24 hours, marinade
6. Sun dry the marinated snails for 2-3 days or place in the oven at 40°C for 48 hours. Dry

7. Deep fry in vegetable cooking oil for 2 minutes.



8. Air-dry the prepared snails for 3 days. Such snails can be stored. Optional: Roll the snails in batter (cornstarch or flour with egg mixture) before final cooking.


9. For final cooking, deep fry again for 5 minutes or until the "golden" Kuhol is crispy. Let cool. Place in plastic bag and seal. ready

Based on the "Kibit" recipe of Mrs. Corazon M. Pasion, 124 Zamora St. Baler, Aurora
Modified by: M. S. dela Cruz and R. C. Joshi, Crop Protection Division, Department of Agriculture (DA)-Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Maligaya, Muñoz, Nueva Ecija-3119. Tel.: 044-4560 285 Local 227 or E-mail:



Hawaiian Escargot Leterc

(By Eric Leterc, executive sous chef, Manele Bay Hotel, Hawaii)
(not licenced under creative commons)

Ingredients (1 person):

  • 12 apple snails
  • 4 ounce cooked pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh American parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cream, optional

Remove the snail bodies and chop the remaining feet.
Drizzle olive oil over hot pasta and toss with salt and pepper to taste.
In a saute pan, heat butter until it "sings" (sizzles). Add garlic, parsley and salt to taste; saute until ingredients "sweat." Add chopped apple snails and saute quickly, about 30 seconds.
Serve immediately atop hot pasta. Makes 1 serving.
Options: Add cream to escargot and cook 1 or 2 minutes longer; or toss the cream with hot pasta before topping with apple snail.
For other "great, flavourful" variations, toss the hot pasta with saffron or curry powder or various herbs or spices to taste.



BoKe Spicy Pupu

(By Francis Hun of BoKe Farms, Hawaii)
(not licenced under creative commons)

Ingredients (2 persons):

  • 2 cups chopped apple snails (about 30)
  • 6 bamboo skewers
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons mirin, or Japanese rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green onion
  • 0.5-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced and pounded
  • ½ chile pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 drop sesame oil

Remove the body part of the snails (only take the foot).
Combine the soy sauce, wine, sugars, onions, ginger, peppers, sesame oil and vinegar in a flat-bottomed frying pan; heat until sauce comes to a sizzle.
Chop the snail feet and add them in a single layer and cook 30 seconds or until colour changes and size starts to reduce slightly. Turn the snail pieces once during cooking.



Apple snail in white wine

(By G. Perera & J.G. Walls, taken from the book: "Apple snails in the aquarium", see literature list)
(not licenced under creative commons))

Ingredients (6 persons):

  • 2 cups of chopped apple snails
  • 1 tablespoon lemon
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Simmer the apple snails in an uncovered skillet in olive oil with the garlic, lemon, oregano, pepper, salt, sweet pepper and tomato sauce. Add the white wine, water and sliced onion. Cover the skillet and cook for 20 minutes.
Serve with rice or potatoes.



Apple snail croquettes

(By G. Perera & J.G. Walls, taken from the book: "Apple snails in the aquarium", see literature list)
(not licenced under creative commons)

Ingredients (6 persons):

  • 2 cups of chopped apple snails
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1 cup frying oil
  • 1 cup enriched flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 4 pounds butter

Cook the apple snails in a covered skillet for 30 minutes or until the meat softens, using 1 tablespoon frying oil with onion, tomato sauce, pepper and lemon added.
Melt 4 pounds of butter and blend with the flour and salt. Gradually stir in milk and cook until the mixture thickens. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes and cool. Stir the in the apple snails and parsley until completely mixed. Mould the mixture into croquette form and dip in breadcrumbs, then in beaten eggs and again in breadcrumbs. Fry in hot oil until brown.



Borbor chon. (Khmer Snails and rice soup)

(By Mylinh Nakry) (Not licenced under creative commons)

Delicious rice soup with succulents Apple snails and fish is Khmer Krom country food.

  • 1 lb Frozen Apple snail meats
  • 4 Cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ Cup fresh or frozen minced lemon grass
  • 2 Kaffir lime leaves
  • ½ Tablespoon grated fresh or frozen Rhizome root
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ Cup un-cooked Jasmine rice
  • 3 Cups taro root (already peeled and cut cubes)
  • 7 Cups water
  • ½ lb Basa, catfish or snakehead fish fillet, cut chunks bite sizes
  • 1 Cube Maggi chicken bouillons (option)
  • 4 Stalks Asian rhubarb (taro stalk), peeled and sliced
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 Stalks green onion, chopped
  • Black pepper.

Cleaned snails: Soaked snail in cold water, removed any shell fragments and snail’s stomach by feeling for the sand, and carefully checking each snail for sand or shell. The snail meat will not taste good if you bite in to sand. Rinses well under cold water and put it in a colander to drained. Set it a side.
In a blender, mix garlic with lemon grass, lime leaves and Rhizome root. Blended well. Or you can manually pounded herbs by using mortal and pestles. When done set a side.
Heat up a large soup pot. When it hot and oil and rice, sauté rice till golden brown.
Put mixed herbs, taro root and snail in with rice. Stirs well.
Add water, fish and chicken bouillon, and cook till rice tender.
Add taro stalks. Stirs well.
Seasoning with salt, sugar, paprika and fish sauce and green onion.
Sprinkles black pepper before serve.
Serve hot.



Num pachok chon. (Snail noodles soup)

(By Mylinh Nakry) (Not licenced under creative commons)

Succulent Apple snail with noodles soup is authentic Khmer Krom recipe from Karmourn Sor province (Rach Gia) where seafood is abundant.
It is one of the recipes that my family likes to cook for breakfast on New Year‘s Day. Some people like to add pork hocks with this snail noodles soup also.
When I was as a young child, snail meat was too chewy for little kids like my cousins and I, it took us a long time to finished a bowl of snail noodles soup, my great aunt would hollered at us.” Hurry up if you want to go to pagoda!” Today, my great aunt is still hollering at us, not for slow eating, but for taking too much snail when we eat. :)
Here is my easiest way to make delicious Khmer Krom snail noodles soup.

  • 1 Package vermicelli noodles
  • 8 Cups water
  • ½ lb shredded Asian water spinach (ta kuong)or 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • A handful mint leaves
  • 1 fresh lemon, slices
  • Handful of chopped fresh chili pepper(option)
  • 2 lbs Pork hocks(option)
  • 1 or 2 Packages Apple snail meat( find at frozen section at most Asian market)
  • 5 Cups water
  • 3 Canned chicken broth
  • 4 Cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ Cup minced lemon grass
  • 1 Tablespoon grated Rhizome root
  • 3 Sliced fresh galanga root, or frozen galanga root
  • ½ Teaspoon paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons roasted rice powder
  • 1 Tablespoon creamy style pickle fish (pahok)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Stalks green onion, chopped

Boil 6 cups water in large pot, add noodles when water is boiling.
Cook noodles till it tender, pour noodles in to a colander and rinse under cold water. Drained and set a side.
Mix shredded water spinach stalks or shredded cabbage with chopped mint leaves. Set a side.
Cleaned snails: Soaked snail in cold water, removed any shell fragments and snail’s stomach by feeling for the sand, and carefully checking each snail for sand or shell. The snail meat will not taste good if you bite in to sand. Rinses well under cold water and put it in a colander to drained.
Boiled snail with 5 cups water for 10 minutes, removed from heat and pour snail in to a colander, rinsed and drain. Set a side.
Note: (If prefer pork hocks with this soup, boiled pork hock till tender. Removed cooked pork hocks from water and set a side, then using the same water to cook snail meat.)
Pour chicken broths in to a soup pot and cook till it boiled.
Using mortal and pestles to manually pounded garlic with lemon grass, rhizome root, galanga, paprika and roasted rice powder together by hand, or grinded spices with food processor.
Add spices, boiled apple snails and boiled pork hocks in to the boiling water, cook in medium low heat till water boiled again.
Seasoning with pahok, sugar, fish sauce, salt and black pepper. Stirs well.
Add green onion and simmering for half hour or more to get great flavor from spices and snail meat.
Put some mix vegetables on the bottom of the bowl, add some noodles on top the vegetables.
Pour some soup stock with some snail meat(and pork hock) on top the noodles.
Serve immediately with lemon wedge and chopped hot chili pepper.



Nhoam Chon. (Snail Salad)

(By Mylinh Nakry) (Not licenced under creative commons)

Succulent apple snails with banana blossom, mix herbs and lemon sauce is delicious Khmer Krom country food. Snail salad is very popular appetizer (mahope sar).

  • 1 Package frozen Apple snails meat, approx 1 lb ( frozen section at most Asian markets)
  • 4 Cups water
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 large banana blossom, sliced thin, soaked in water and drained
  • 1 Cup chopped fresh herbs; mint , sweet basil , and cilantro
  • 2 Hot chili pepper, chopped (option)

In a small pot, boiled snails with 4 cups water till snail tender.
Pour cooked snail in to colander, drained and rinsed under cold water.Set a side.
In a small bowl, mix lime juice with sugar, fish sauce and salt. Mix well.
Add slices yellow onion with lime juice. Stirs well and set a side.
In a large bowl, mix banana blossom with snails’ meat, herbs and prepared lime juice. Mix well.
Top with chopped chili pepper before serve.
Serve with Ginger dipping sauce.








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