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Exotic Foods


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What does exotic mean?

Something that is 'exotic' to one person, may be commonplace to another.

Take Jo's haggis. I don't consider haggis to be in the least exotic. I ate it around once a week when I was kid and after leaving home at 18 maybe once a month.

My neighbours don't consider bees to be exotic, but think cheese is outrageously exotic.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Exotic to me means the definition of the word which is roughly, originating in another country or culture. Not everyone can be lucky enough to be a world traveler or Renaissance person, hence the need for words like "exotic" and "ethnic". They have real meaning to some of us. It just means outside our realm of experience, and definitely shouldn't be taken to be offensive.  :smile:

 

I ate escargot once at the behest of my brother. I don't like it, even though I was able to get past the slime trail ick factor. They were canned and then stuffed into their shells with garlic butter. I'm sure the fresh ones you get in France are better.

 

I can also say that were I starving, the repulsive slugs in my yard would be experimental fodder. We have no land snails in NC that I've encountered, but a plethora of sea snails. We had a ton of land snails in San Diego, but no one, so far as I know, ate them.

 

That slime trail from my slugs, BTW, is horrific. When it mists rain, they literally climb the walls of my house up to the window level above the elevated deck. I've had a couple of small ones in separate incidents spaced over twenty some years get into the house somehow. If I leave the cat food plate on the deck in misty rain, I have to scrub slug slime trails off with something disposable. It looks water soluble, but it's not. Creeps me out.

 

I also ate chitterlings (pork intestine) referred to as chitlins here in the South once at a Christmas dinner at my then boyfriend's aunt's house. It was only a teaspoon, and I expected to hate them, but they were actually very good. That was a family of phenomenal cooks. The dish is labor intensive to prepare, and apparently stinks of its origins while cooking, but these were good, and I'd eat them again, but probably not prepare them myself, unless I was in dire straits.

 

I had barbecued raccoon once too. Now that was really good, and my backyard raccoons would be in real trouble if I were truly hungry.

 

I also had alligator tail I prepared myself. My husband had dispatched a construction crew to Florida for a job. They accidentally ran over the beast, and brought us back some of the tail they harvested and put in a cooler with ice. I've had alligator "nuggets" at a restaurant a couple times, but didn't like them. The tail I prepared was primo. Gators would be even more endangered if they were around when I was starving.

 

The most exotic thing I ever ate though was a daddy long legs spider while picking huge beautiful ripe blackberries in Vermont. This was inadvertent, and I immediately spit it out. That has got to be the most disagreeable taste I have ever encountered.It's apparently intended to discourage predators, and with this one it worked like a charm. I'd starve slap to death before I put one of those little beasties in my mouth again.  :smile:

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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Exotic to me means the definition of the word which is roughly, originating in another country or culture. Not everyone can be lucky enough to be a world traveler or Renaissance person, hence the need for words like "exotic" and "ethnic". They have real meaning to some of us. It just means outside our realm of experience, and definitely shouldn't be taken to be offensive.

 

I totally agree and certainly don't consider the term offensive in any way. 

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Pickled alikreukel (a fist sized sea snail) in my youth - loved it!

Fried locusts in Tanzania - really crap!

Stir fried cat in China - could not eat it when the interpreter told me what it was.

Deep fried mopane worms in Zimbabwe - tasted just like eating fried batter.

Smoked eel in Papeete - darn good!

Escargots cooked in butter, garlic and fresh parsley in Lorient - I have eaten them many times before, but these were the biggest and most succulent - a five star thumbs-up.

Chinchilla stew in Fortaleza, Brazil - very tasty!

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Cape Town - At the foot of a flat topped mountain with a tablecloth covering it.

Some time ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please don't let Kevin Bacon die.

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Whole dried fish in northern Russia, as a beer snack.

 

Also monkfish liver, veal head, pig ear and foot, beef muzzle salad, lamb testicle...

 

The worst out of those was the liver- it has the texture of foie gras and the flavour of mackerel.  Really offputting.

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jmacnaughtan's post reminds me...it may not be 'exotic' but it certainly was outside my comfort zone:  fish head stew with the fish head complete.

Ha, talking about fish heads, Google "Stargazy pie" - not exotic but weird!
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Cape Town - At the foot of a flat topped mountain with a tablecloth covering it.

Some time ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please don't let Kevin Bacon die.

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Balut, developing chick embryo, Southeast Asia.

 

My local Vietnamese Pharmaceutical rep brought it to me when she heard about my interest in food.  My son and I ate it, my husband "chickened out".

 

A little crunchy, not sure if I loved the taste.

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Fried rattlesnake in Ontario.

I've always heard it "tastes like chicken" :-D Yes or no?

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I've had rattlesnake and alligator and honestly feel both are more an experience thing than a food thing (outside of people who eat them as part of their sustenance). Neither was particularly exciting. Not bad in any way, just nothing special about them. I had rattlesnake breaded and fried and it was reminiscent of chicken. I also had it cut in thin slices and cooked in bacon grease, it was reminiscent of eating bacon. So basically, what Rob said... it tastes like whatever it's cooked in or sauced with. I had alligator in a nugget form that was pretty tasty but I don't think chunks of chicken seasoned and cooked the same way would have been largely different. I had alligator sausage which were pretty nondescript. I also had it substituted for the mudbugs in a crawfish pie. Out of all of the snake and gator preparations I tried, that was probably my favorite but I still don't think there was anything about it that was different enough to scream "alligator".

Balut is a no-go for me. I have not tried it and will not try it.

 

Edited by Tri2Cook (log)
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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Hard to pick 'most exotic'.  Most different from what I grew up eating?  Farthest from home?  Rarest?  Being one who has both traveled a bit and lives in a large city where it seems like almost everything is available, what is exotic anymore?  Not saying that in a bad way, I love having multiple options for Shanghainese soup dumplings and grocery stores with Hawaiian poke bars.

 

Babi guling in Bali was incredibly delicious with complex and mysterious seasoning.  On the other hand, is roast pork exotic?  Beef lung curry in Wangduephodrang, Bhutan was something I tasted before knowing what it was.  Strange-to-me texture, otherwise a fine curry.  Also duck tongues, truffles, yak, cod sperm and everything on the menu that night at El Bulli could be contenders. 

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I ate balut once, on a bus, right after we moved to the Philippines. At each rest stop local kids would swarm onto the bus selling drinks and snacks. I thought it was a hard-boiled egg, although I was somewhat perplexed by the fact that it was warm. I was stunned when I bit into it. I still feel a little nauseous when I recall the feeling of holding that warm egg in my hand and then discovering what it was - and the sound and feel of the small bones crunching.

But the most exotic dish that comes to mind was at a very fancy dinner party in Hong Kong. I was the only Western woman there, and the only woman at all at the large round ten-top table. The other guests were wealthy Chinese businessmen in suits. I had taken an extra-large portion of what I thought were creamed (particularly-small) pearl onions but, as I ate, although I could easily discern from both the flavor and texture that they were not onions, I couldn't figure out what they were.

So I asked.

My immediately-adjacent dining companion laughed, and said he didn't know how to tell me in English. Then he asked the fellow immediately adjacent to him, with the same result. Hearty laughter, followed by a shake of the head, "No." And so it went, around the table, with each new man seemingly offering suggestions that must have gotten more and more hilarious (and ribald) with each new participant until the whole table was roaring, many with tears in their eyes.

Finally, one brave soul must have said something like, "I know the proper English words. I'll tell her," because everybody got quiet and turned to look at me with eager, even gleeful, anticipation on their faces.

"Creamed rooster testicles."

And I looked over at that serving bowl, with what must have been at least a hundred or more tiny ball-things floating around in that cream sauce - almost like a tapioca.

And decided that eating the dish was surely better than having to prepare it.

.

Edited by Jaymes (log)
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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Both are relatively common in Japan, I guess, but not so for this gaijin: lightly smoked horse "sashimi" (delicious, although my American girlfriend at the time couldn't deal with it), and natto, aka highly fermented soybeans (Run away!!).

Edited by Alex (log)

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Balut, developing chick embryo, Southeast Asia.

 

My local Vietnamese Pharmaceutical rep brought it to me when she heard about my interest in food.  My son and I ate it, my husband "chickened out".

 

A little crunchy, not sure if I loved the taste.

 

Rattlesnake tastes like whatever sauce you put on it...kinda like chicken. And yes, balut. Hands down.

 

Balut is a no-go for me. I have not tried it and will not try it.

 

 

OK.  So I googled Balut.  And made a frightful noise of alarm and disgust.  No, I won't eat it either. 

 

I ate balut once, on a bus, right after we moved to the Philippines. At each rest stop local kids would swarm onto the bus selling drinks and snacks. I thought it was a hard-boiled egg, although I was somewhat perplexed by the fact that it was warm. I was stunned when I bit into it. I still feel a little nauseous when I recall the feeling of holding that warm egg in my hand and then discovering what it was - and the sound and feel of the small bones crunching.

 

 

I have not eaten balut.  Still, it seems to me that eating balut is (conceptually) not that different from eating ortolans in France.  Yet there seems to be less "revulsion" (so to speak) about ortolans - I wonder if it is because it is FRENCH cuisine.....

Here's one article describing the "covering the head" ritual (all sorts of speculations as to WHY...) and descriptions of the gradual eating of the bird, the internal organs (ALL of them), the head dangling from one's lips, the crunching of the bones...

 

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