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The most exotic food you have eaten traveling?


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At some backroads eatery in the middle of West Malaysia, the group of us sat down for a feast of stewed bats (the meat was black), terrapin soup, braised frog legs, and some other kinds of meats.

I've also had boiled turtle eggs, alligator, duck tongues, pig lungs, etc.. I wanted to try dog, but it was 'not in season'.

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once in india, I went to a sikh temple with a valued employee, who was sikh. after spending time walking around, and then spending time in the meditation center, we started to leave. part of the worship in a sikh temple, I now know, is to eat a portion from a communal pot. the idea is that anyone can come to eat, but in order not to embaress those who require the food, everyone has to eat.

it was a pretty hot day, and everybody was bare foot. the smell of the temple was not condusive to a even tempered belly, to begin with. as I approched the "pot" where the food was being mixed, I saw a large man, naked from the waste up, using his whole arm to mix the pot, pretty much up to his shoulder. I had to wait about 5 minutes in line, and the whole time I was getting a little aprehensive. of course, it would be ahuge insult to my employee to grimace at the food, and it would mean insulting thousands of sikhs who were now all watching me, as I was the only foreigner on the temple at that time.

the mixer, as he saw me, decided to "honor" me with a huge ball of the food. the food wasn't horrible, it was basically a ground bean and rice mixture, mildly flavored with spices and brown sugar. not good, but not in and of itself bad. the delivery, and the heat, and the smell, and the size of the ball, all made it very difficult to get it down and make happy faces.

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I tried leatherback turtle eggs once back in 1976, as I was living in a village on what was then the northern periphery of the leatherback (penyu) mating grounds. I found the white phlegmy and the yolk very salty. I couldn't see how it was worth it for the local Malays to rationalize an exception to halal laws for turtle eggs and help to bring the species to the point of extinction, as it is now. I've had duck tongues (you can get them in New York) but didn't like them much, as they're too bony. I prefer calf/ox/lamb tongue. Perhaps the most "exotic" thing I had and liked in Malaysia was pig intestine soup, at a Hakka restaurant in Seremban, but it's easy to find pig intestine soup and other pig intestine dishes in Chou Zhou, Cantonese, and Hong Kong-style restaurants in New York nowadays. I also had a very tasty goat's head (eaten in stages), but didn't consider that exotic at the time. I suppose udang galah were kind of exotic (and I love them!), but they are something like shrimps, something like lobsters, and something like crawfish.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I couldn't see how it was worth it for the local Malays to rationalize an exception to halal laws for turtle eggs and help to bring the species to the point of extinction, as it is now.

I agree wholeheartedly with what you've said. When I was offered the turtle egg, I had deep reservations about partaking in a delicacy that contributed to the endangerment of a species. :sad:

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You know, I've been wracking my brain, and can't think of too many terribly exotic foods I've eaten while traveling. Ba-sashi (horse meat sashimi) and shiokara (salted fish guts, served as an appetizer with beer) maybe, while visiting Japan, or andouilette sausage in France. Or maybe the dragonfruit I bought at a Vietnamese market in Bern, Switzerland (it looked like a bright pink hand grenade but tasted disappointingly like a kiwifruit).

Most of my exotic tastings have been right in the USA, back East, where I grew up, or in Hawaii, where I now live. There was the Malaysian fish head curry in NY, durian ice cream likewise. I tried lion, giraffe, and hippopotomus on a "big game" menu once. Flying fish at a Caribbean restaurant in New Jersey. Real turtle soup in Washington DC. Duck's tongues in a Chinese restaurant here (I agree with Pan: they're too bony). Stir-fried mealworms and cricket cookies, brought to a party by an entomology professor. Maybe one of these days, I'll get up the nerve to try balut, which I can get at my local greenmarket.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I had silk worms in Korea.

ugh

those "bon-deh-ghi" are about the worst things I've ever had, and my rule of thumb is I'll try anything once, as long as it's not moving (a rule which I basically broke on the day I ate the octopus sashimi that was still moving). Anyway, I can still remember the smell of those things cooking in the big kettles on the streetcorners. Not exactly a fragrance that makes you salivate, unless it's the kind of salivation that precludes involuntary regurgitation. Funny thing is the barbecued dried squid can smell just as foul, but I can eat that stuff all day! Especially with some hot pepper sauce and some ice cold soju or Hite!!

Just some observations...

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  • 3 weeks later...

In North Asia it seems pretty common to be served live-seafood. I know it looks a bit cruel to outsiders, but locals always pronouce the many virtues of these REALLY FRESH delights.

The live fish and prawns in Japan were sort of interesting, but what I remember the most was eating LIVE OCTOPUS in Sosan South-Korea.

I tried it twice. The first time they were quite small and easy to swallow, but after consuming the first two or three specimens, I realized from the sensation in my stomach that these critters were actually trying to climb back up my throat to escape. It was sort of scary really. For a time I was really worried that they might decide to take a side trip into my lungs.

Latter my Korean friends taught me two rather important rules for taking this cuisine. First, you have to chew them until they are really dead. Second; after swallowing you need to follow with a cup or two of liquor (Sochu) in order to make sure they stop moving in your stomach.

I reckon it’s the closest a man may ever come to feeling pregnant.

Bruce Milligan,

Tropical Fruit Specialist, www.paradasia.com

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In North Asia it seems pretty common to be served live-seafood. I know it looks a bit cruel to outsiders, but locals always pronouce the many virtues of these REALLY FRESH delights.

The live fish and prawns in Japan were sort of interesting, but what I remember the most was eating LIVE  OCTOPUS in Sosan South-Korea.

I tried it twice. The first time they were quite small and easy to swallow,  but after consuming the first two or three specimens, I realized from the sensation in my stomach that these critters were actually trying to climb back up my throat to escape.  It was sort of scary really. For a time I was really worried that they might decide to take a side trip into my lungs.

Latter my Korean friends taught me two rather important rules for taking this cuisine. First, you have to chew them until they are really dead. Second; after swallowing you need to follow with a cup or two of liquor (Sochu) in order to make sure they stop moving in your stomach.

I reckon it’s the closest a man may ever come to feeling pregnant.

uurk!

just reading your description made me gag!

the things we humans eat! :shock:

milagai

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fried crickets in Oaxaca. They were hard to identify as insects, and tasted as good as a spicy french fry (without the little legs, of course). Just goes to show, you can deep fry anything and it becomes manna from heaven.

Karen

It really doesn't take more than three bricks and a fire to cook a meal, a sobering reminder that it's the individual who makes the food, not the equipment. --Niloufer Ichaporia King

FamilyStyle Food

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I hate to say it: Dog

I was in Hong Kong and was given this soup which had a clear broth and some meaty bones that looked like pork. I was told later that it was dog. Though it really didn't taste like anything out of the ordinary I make it a point now to ask before I dive in.

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Once upon a time I had sliced white bread in a cello bag that is commonly available in all of the North American supermarkets. :shock:  :unsure: Don't know whether I want to try that again! :laugh:

You just made me shudder... :blink:

Must rid myself of the idea now...

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Fried cheese curds, central Wisconsin, Cheese Chalet.

The sun was just setting as the coated curds were pulled from the fryer.

The golden sun light, diffused by the soiled window, reflecting off of the satiny shortening.

The only condiment, Morton's salt.

The curds were so young, that they squealed , as we bit into them.

-------------------------

Water Boils Roughly

Cold Eggs Coagulating

Egg Salad On Rye

-------------------------

Gregg Robinson

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I was eating at a tapas bar in Seville Spain and saw a plate of some sort of meat substance in a brown sauce served to another customer. I pointed at it and was given a dish for myself. I enjoyed it, but to this day I have no idea what kind of beast I was eating. I went through the few Spanish words I knew for various animals and then resorted to sound effects to cover the rest of the possible suspects, but the server just shook her head "no" to each of my guesses. They were small morsels with cartilage-ish bones that formed a kind of joint. It was almost like your thumb but with more meat (and no nail).

Any idea what I ate? It was more like beef than chicken with maybe a bit of porkiness.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Most of this wasn't eaten while traveling, but I grew up on a farm. So we had beef tongue, which isn't bad, but not very exotic. And sweetbreads and oxtails, of course. And my mom made head cheese once. The worst part was coming home from school and seeing a burlap bag on the front porch....of course I looked to see what was in it. A pig's head. :blink: I still tried the head cheese, which I thought was gross. I felt sorry for my mom, having to cook that thing because my dad wanted it.

I've also had powdered worms in doughnuts, crickets, escargot (hey, when you're 11 that's pretty daring), antelope, elk, venison, prairie chicken, bull testicles, and a very strange dessert in Egypt that I mentioned in another thread. I'll try most things I'm offered, but I draw the line at fugu and most insects. Especially spiders. And no primates, either, even if they weren't endangered. That's too close to cannibalism.

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snake soup - tastes like chicken :smile:

crodile - tastes like chicken :huh:

frogs legs - tastes iike chicken :unsure:

whats the point? might as well just eat chicken!!! :raz:

being chinese we eat stuff that a lot of people say is wierd

sharks fin, sea cucumber, bird's nest which is actually swallow spit, chicken feet, duck tongues, turtle soup, "hair" fungus, dried sea horses

there's probably a lot more but a few of those are eaten as medicinal soups rather then regular "food".

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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My fave is always "no word in english...you no have in this country." :laugh: I'll try just about anything once.

Blood sausage, emu tacos, whole little fishies, durian, durian popsicles. Can't think of anything offhand that has been too outlandish.

Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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snake soup - tastes like chicken  :smile:

crodile - tastes like chicken  :huh:

frogs legs - tastes iike chicken  :unsure:

whats the point?  might as well just eat chicken!!!  :raz:

being chinese we eat stuff that a lot of people say is wierd

sharks fin, sea cucumber, bird's nest which is actually swallow spit, chicken feet, duck tongues, turtle soup, "hair" fungus, dried sea horses

there's probably a lot more but a few of those are eaten as medicinal soups rather then regular "food".

How's dried seahorse prepared????

Leave the gun, take the canoli

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