So you think your stomach can handle it? I’ll be the first to admit that we watched a lot of “Bizarre Foods” with Andrew Zimmern during the buildup to this trip. All of them in fact and the episodes of countries where we knew we would be going, several times over. I think secretly or not so secretly now, we both wish that we had his job. Travelling the world, eating exotic and sometimes not so wonderful foods from every corner of the globe. We are proud to say that we have eaten some of the juicy, tender goodies he chomps down on during his show.
In Indonesia we ate snake fruit with a hard outer shell that, well, looks like snakeskin. On the show a lady says it smells like a white man’s armpit, we luckily never experienced that. We found that it was similar to the middle piece of the pineapple and tasted somewhat the same. We tried the spiny durian fruit on the island of Lombok. I was hesitant but equally excited to try it. They say you either love it or hate it. Many public buildings and hotels have signs up saying, “No durian allowed” due to the long lingering smell that is left behind after eating the fruit. The fruit itself has the consistency of custard and tastes like dessert with a long after burn of rotten green onions. That being said it was good, really. In Singapore we ate fish head soup. A dish fit for a king on a peasant’s salary. Don’t forget that cheek meat. Most of the bizarre foods we ate however were in China. We tried scorpion in Beijing, and it does taste like soft shelled crab. Delicious. Donkey meat dumplings with the meat’s distinct taste were equally as good. Silkworm larvae off of sticks which I disliked, with a texture of warm cottage cheese and a taste much the same. Yuck. Whole frog barbeque off a street vendor covered in a mouth numbing spice is a wonderful late night snack. We had it several times as an appetizer, mm mm good. F. was eating a lot of turtle jelly and bird’s nest concentrate in Hong Kong as she already mentioned in a previous post. We’ve eaten all kinds of skewered organ meats of every color and texture grilled right before your eyes. Organ soup with a smell you will never forget and a taste you would like to. Gross. Duck organs covered in hot chillies, tiny chewy bites that set your mouth ablaze. Duck tongues would be a huge hit at home, you could munch on them all night while watching the game. We ended up trying chicken feet in a fancy dim sum restaurant; they were really good because of the wonderful sauce. Chicken feet in their own right will not become a household dish once this trip is over. Last on the list so far is sparrow, little deep fried crunchy morsels flavoured with chillies, salt and pepper. Beak and all crunch, crunch, crunch.
Stay tuned for part two…