Monday, June 8, 2015

Top Ten Bizarre Foods: My Stomach Has Been Violated

Throughout my travels I've eaten a lot of questionable food - sometimes out of curiosity, often times to be polite and on few occasions due to downright hunger. While I've walked away from broiled dog in China and am still fearful of swallowing a live baby octopus in South Korea, I have boldly sampled these bizarre delicacies and lived to write about it:

10.) Durian Fruit (Southeast Asia): Served cold and sliced; a spikey melon-like fruit that locals adore. It smells like feet and tastes even worse. Don't let it near you - it can stink up anything within a five mile radius.

9.) Sea Urchin (St. Lucia): Served roasted with the spikes still intact on the outer shell. The putty-like body is pretty tasteless but the thorns can wreak havoc in your mouth. Completely overrated tourist trap.

8.) Shark (Thailand): Served diced in curries and stir-fries. Meaty and absorbs seasoning and sauce flavors well. Not too shabby - a lighter alternative to beef and chicken.

7.) Snake (China): Served shredded in a thin broth soup. Tastes like chicken; very mild, but watch out for the tiny bones.

6.) Poisonous Brain Mushrooms (Finland): Also referred to as gyromitra esculenta, the toxic shrooms must be boiled several times before being chopped and served in soups and sauces. One of the most delicious flavors I've ever tasted.

5.) Ox Tongue (Croatia): Served as a slab of meat, lightly seasoned. I couldn't get past the fact that I was eating an ox tongue. Just couldn't do it.

4.) Crickets (Thailand): Served dried and crispy; popular bar snack. Crunchy and leggy, but if you are craving something salty and have a beer to wash it down with, it isn't too bad.

3.) Donkey (China): Served cooked and thinly sliced with a plum sauce. More tender than beef and similar to dark meat chicken.

2.) Guinea Pig (Peru): Served roasted and plated with eyes, face and claws. This was a tough one for me. I took a few bites and was ill for a week. I don't enjoy my foot staring back at me.

1.) Squid Ink Sack (Philippines): Preparation and serving method unclear. All I know is that there was a large black ink sac on my plate. When I took a bite, the outer casing was reminiscent of gelatin and the inside had the consistency of thick caramel; it was exhausting to rid my teeth and lips of the salty, black substance.

Honorable mentions: rose petals (Estonia), kangaroo jerky (Australia), seaweed chips (Thailand), bear (Estonia), goat (India), snails (France), alligator (USA), and reindeer (Finland).

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