“Bizarre Foods” 2, B & F Style!

So you think your stomach can handle it?  Welcome to “Bizarre Foods” Part Deux.  We have covered much ground since the last installment and have been fortunate or unfortunate enough to have our taste buds soak in some new creepy crawlies and other goodies from the road in South East Asia.  Some have been a pleasant surprise, while others…well…

Let’s dig in!!

We bought a handful of crickets from a street vendor passing through a restaurant we were eating at in Phnom Penh.  We were the only foreigners in the place and he went to every table but ours.  As he was walking out we flagged him down and he seemed genuinely stunned that we were interested. When we told him we wanted half a bag full his smile was from ear to ear.  Unfortunately after chomping down on a couple of his deep fried treats the aftertaste of wet grass began to float back up and the smile wasn’t returned. If they would have been crispier they may have been better, two was definitely enough. We also ate deep fried duck foetus at a street stall in Phnom Penh. If it wasn’t fried it may have been tough to swallow, but let’s be honest, anything battered and deep fried tastes good. We had them several times. For New Year’s Eve in Siem Reap we splurged on a dinner that seemingly was especially prepared for our “Bizarre Foods” blog. We romantically dined on ostrich, snake, kangaroo, and crocodile. Each one with its own distinct taste. Each one better than the other. Each one excellent. Highly recommended! We ate water buffalo sausage in Luang Prabang, Laos. I was excited for this one, but it all came crashing down like a giant cow paddy on a dusty road as soon as I tasted it in my mouth. I can’t describe it (or maybe I just did) but my taste buds rejected it immediately. Disgusting. We ate bamboo worms in Chiang Mai, Thailand and to be honest they had the same texture as cheese puffs but without all the salt and cheese. We ate the whole bagful. In Bangkok after a few beers we tackled the fear inducing water beetle. Two inches long and about an inch wide of sheer taste bud terror. They tore the legs off just before eating, stating that the barbs get stuck in your throat. We hesitantly ate them at the same time, they went down, but even with all of the beer we didn’t particularly like them.  We bought grasshoppers that same night about an inch long a piece. They were very crunchy, seasoned with salt and pepper. It seems when it comes to insects, the crispier the better. They were great. Last but not least, in Cambodia at a rest stop along the side of the highway F. brought two freshly fried tarantulas back onto the bus. The locals got a kick out of the fact that we were willing to give them a try as we giggled and cringed at the sight of them. We were both a little freaked out by the long legs and its bulbous body, but once we popped them into our mouths, to our surprise they were amazing. As the bus started pulling out, I had silently wished F. had bought more. Sadly we never saw them for sale anywhere else on our travels in Cambodia. Yummy.

Part three?  Stay tuned.

Bon appetit!

B.

Advertisements

“Bizzare Foods” B & F Style!

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…

B.