Day 10 on BootsnAll’s #Indie30 asks us:
What Is The Strangest food You’ve Eaten While Traveling?
I’m a pretty adventurous eater when I travel. I will try just about anything to be polite, but if it is new and weird, I really want it (although I am nowhere on the level of Andrew Zimmern. I will never try Balut!!!)
I’ve eaten a few things considered weird by my USA upbringing, many of which are normal to a lot of people.
I love pigeon and Cuy. They both taste very similar and very much like dark-meat game hen (or dark meat turkey).
I had the pigeon at my friend’s Chinese wedding in NYC (where my boyfriend at-the-time, and I, were the only 2 non-Chinese people, out of 8 wedding parties, and over 1,000 guests). I just started eating this meat from a bowl in the middle of the table while I watched the Chinese dancers. When the dance ended, I turned around to the table, where the meat in the dish had now gone down, and there was a pigeon head staring at me. All my friends looked at me, waiting to see my reaction, and I just shrugged and said, “Huh? I like pigeon!” and dug my chopsticks in for another mouthful. If I see pigeon (or Squab as it is also called) on a menu, I am ordering it!
In Ecuador I actively seeked out a restaurant that served Cuy. For those of you that don’t know it, Cuy is guinea pig (those furry little rodents that we keep as pets, and that were used as Tribbles on the Star Trek episode “The trouble With Tribbles”.) And yes, I did have a guinea pig as a pet in high school. And you know what? She would have been delicious if I had put her in the oven! Guinea pig is awesome.
(NOTE: I would NEVER buy a guinea pig in a pet store to cook. I’m not that twisted. But I will eat the hell out of them abroad, or perhaps in an Ecuadorian/Peruvian restaurant)
I’ve also tried raw sea urchin sushi. I wasn’t actually traveling when I tried it. It was just my 24th birthday and for my birthday I wanted, “to do a bunch of things I’ve never done before”. We went to a Teppanyaki restaurant (#1), ordered Plum wine (#2), and I tried raw sea urchin (#3).
Sea urchin is this burnt orange thing that looks like a tongue, but is super briny and feels like a giant loogie in your mouth. It was pretty bad on its own, but slightly more palatable with lots of ginger and wasabi. I only ate a couple of pieces. My dad ate the rest (because he likes to try new things too).
Other than that I can’t think of too many. I tried some goat intestine soup in Colombia, when my step-dad-in-law asked me if I wanted to try snake soup, (YES!), and it very definitely was NOT snake meat. Turns out it was goat intestine. (The fuzzy-looking, chewy, rubber-band texture was a huge giveaway this was some kind of innards).
Great taste, but I couldn’t stomach the texture and “sneakily” fed it to the dog (everyone knew I was doing it).
One of the things I love, and grew up on, that most people think is really weird though, is Macaroni and Nutritional Yeast.
It’s a vegan version of macaroni and cheese, but nutritional yeast has its own flavour that people love or hate. There is no in between. Trying to describe the taste of nutritional yeast, is like trying to describe Dr Pepper, or Colombiana soda, to someone who has never had it…it’s not going to work. But I love the stuff and it is my comfort food, even though many people scowl at the thought, or look (it’s a bright yellowy-orange color) of it.
So these are some of the strangest foods I’ve tried. The only food I’ve had, that I will never eat again (because it is gross and slimy, and because now I know how it is made) is shark fin soup. I also had that at the Chinese wedding.
I don’t care that it was $100 a bowl, it’s slimy and bland and not at all good! (Plus since I have learned about all the horrible things done to sharks to procure their fin for that soup).
What is the strangest food you’ve eaten?
About Dani Blanchette
I am a freelance travel and music photographer and creator of GoingNomadic.com.
I love music, food, and exploring cities without guidebooks. I’ve flown a helicopter, hitchhiked down the east coast USA, and once snuck into the back of a zoo (in Serbia) and pet a lion.
I am always up for an adventure, and sometimes I videotape them.