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Through my past travels, I tended to allow my stomach to guide me through the local cuisine. A culture’s cuisine is a story that tells you how a group of people survived throughout history. It can show the wealth of one and the struggles of another; it gives insight on a culture from a different perspective. How are you supposed to completely comprehend a culture without studying the food that kept them going? Walking through the local market you can get an idea on what the locals ate to survive and thrive and I want to understand it all.
Because of this I want to try all the weird and interesting foods from around the world. There is so much to eat! These are my top 15 STRANGE dishes I’m excited to try or revisit on our trip around the globe.
I’m sure that many of us have seen the episode where Mr. Bourdain stood in a bar in Iceland, tried a small cube of this delicious morsel and washed it down with some brenivin. He then proceeded to describe it as the “single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” that he has tasted. So….of course I am excited to try this dish. Nothing like a rotting shark to shake off that morning hangover.
I will have to admit I’m nervous about trying puffer fish in Japan. I guess it is because of the risk of dying from eating something that is extremely poisonous if not prepared right. I know that the chefs who prepare fugu have to go through a tedious apprenticeship for about two to three years before they become certified. They also have to take a written, a practical, and a fish identification test before certification. I mean they have to prepare fugu for themselves, an F could mean death so I am sure that they are careful. Fugu chefs are experts and take pride in their work, so I should be in pretty safe hands. So, nothing to worry about right? Nope, I’m still nervous; I mean who would not be for the first time? I’ll risk it though for a plate of Fugu Sashi. I’ll just have Ashley constantly make me talk so we know if I go into a full body paralysis and suffocate to death.
Now this dish might turn you away but when Ash and I finally hit Korea this is one of the first things I want to try. They use small live octopus, chop it up and serve it to you while it is still squirming around. Then you take a piece and toss it in your mouth and chew it up well. If not the little octopus may achieve its revenge by using its suction cups to block your airway. Not likely to happen as long as you chew the freshly sliced up octopus.
Now this is not for the faint of heart and I believe this might be the hardest thing for me to eat in the future. It is a dish that comes from Southeast Asia and the Philippines is probably the most recognised country for eating this developing duck embryo. The sight of it alone is very unsettling but it is a popular street snack and hey, when in Rome.
I have eaten many of these classic New Orleans sandwiches and my favorite are usually fried catfish or fried oyster. Yet, you can always get the classic with roast beef. You want your po’boy dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayo. This is all served on fresh new orleans french bread and comes in different sizes, anywhere from an 8 inch sub to my personal choice of a 32 inch po’boy. My mouth is watering just thinking about this New Orleans classic..
Ahhh haggis, the one food that I’ve been wanting to eat for a very long time. I will finally be in Scotland in June and be able to enjoy this savory pudding (meaning innards) all incased in an animal stomach. I am looking for the traditional haggis so no artificial stomach. I want real animal stomach. I just can not wait and I do not really know why because I have no idea what I am getting myself into. If the Scottish like it, it must be great.
I’ve already have had this staple in the African diet. I ate fufu at least once a day when I spent 2 weeks in Ghana. Fufu is made from cassava, which was introduced by the Portuguese. Before they introduced the plant of cassava, Ghana would use plantains and yams for their fufu. It has the consistency of dough and is eaten with your hands; it kind of takes the place of bread in the meal. You dip it into broth and then take a piece of fish or other meat that it is in the broth and you slip it into your mouth. It is fantastic and I can’t wait to have this at the center of my meal again.
There is nothing like enjoying the meat of a pet that your neighbor could have had as a kid. Guinea Pig a traditional dish in the peruvian culture. Slap it on a grill and then toss it on my plate. I am sure that it taste like chicken. Truly I have nothing against Guinea pigs I just want to know what this cute rodent taste like,
By now you might realise that there is not much that scares me when it comes to food. I crave the stuff that might turn the average person’s stomach. Now I love llamas and might be developing a weird attraction to them. I see them and I can’t help bt yell out LLAMAAAAA!!! I now have a chance to munch down on their brains in Bolivia. Who would pass that up? Just give me a fork.
I know, I know, they are adorable little creatures that swim around the colder waters. Yet, in Iceland they will serve up the meat. I doubt that this is a very popular dish anymore and I sure some of you are appalled that I would eat such an adorable creature. But hey, there are people who eat it and I would like to know why.
If snails are on the menu in front of me I will be ordering them. I love them and I love them in any style. My favorite is the french escargot with the garlic and butter but we can’t forget the delicious bowls of snails that you can get on the streets of Marrakech bathing in a broth of spices.
Again, I am going towards the innards of an animal. Now many countries do this dish and I will have my fair share of eating intestines but I am looking to going back and enjoying it the Roman style. I has tripe once in Rome and it wasn’t that great of an experience. So I want to go back and try it again. It is just the digestive track people, it is not that disgusting. I am ready for round two with this ingredient.
While I was creating this list I had thought I had already found the most putrid thing to eat and I did not think I would be able to top the fermented shark but surstömming, baltic herring that is put in a can for 6 months to go through fermentation, is supposed to pack a punch. It is supposed to have a stronger smell and taste then Hákarl.
I don’t think I need to explain why I want to eat this Australian delight. All I really know about it, is that vegemite is a breakfast food paste that you spread on your toast. It is supposed to be very good according to my friends from Australia. I am sure it is a bit of an acquired taste but hey its worth a try.
I love cheese, I mean I REALLY love cheese. I also love Italy and I have always wanted to go to Sardinia. So what can I do with Sardinia and Cheese? Well, I can enjoy casu fràzigu, which is how they say it in Sardinia and it is a sheeps milk cheese. So it sounds pretty tasty, right? Well as long you do not mind the live larva crawling around the cheese as you eat it. I mean I do not believe I will mind. Nothing like a little extra protein in the diet. Lets just say that the potentate cheese can leave a funky aftertaste in the mouth for up to several hours. Nothing like a little maggot cheese breath.
Now that is just 15 dishes that I would like to try. Most of them are the strange, weird and some just downright disgusting for most people. I’m like an adrenaline junkie but with food. I love trying the extremes of a culture’s diet. I do get a bit of a rush out of it. On my trip I will try them all and I wonder how many I will want to be a part of my diet. My list does not stop as there are many foods, normal to the strange (including the calf balls I ate last night), that I want to try. I hope you watch my food journey around the world
If you have any suggestions for things to try I would love to hear about them. Also if you know a top spot to get one of the dishes above please let me know so I can make sure stop by. I am up for any recommendations or tips of the trade. Like always though; go out, travel and change the world.