Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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monitor any of various large tropical Old World lizards of the family Varanidae; they are called monitors because it was supposed that they gave warning of the presence of crocodiles.

Monitor lizards are eaten in most SE Asian countries and often present a fearsome sight in the market, e.g. brought in whole to be butchered in front of the purchaser in countryside markets in Laos. In the Philippines a monitor is often trapped as it sneaks into chicken runs in search of the chickens which are its favourite food. ‘It does indeed taste like chicken, except that it has a more intense taste and is less tender.’ This comment by Doreen Fernandez (1994) is accompanied by the information that monitors are usually cooked in adobo style, e.g. adobong matanda (crisp, dry, with plenty of toasted garlic).