Interesting cuisine to watch out for on your next trip

Dec 06, 2019

One of the greatest joys of travel is the opportunity to enjoy cuisine from around the world. Food is one of life’s pleasures.

As you plan your visit, take time to look into your destination’s local cuisine. Visiting a country is often the best way to experience the most authentic flavours when they haven’t been adapted or mass-produced for restaurants.

Here are some of the most interesting foods to look for on worldwide travels:

1. Fried Spiders

In the Cambodian town of Skuon in Cambodia, fried tarantula is a local speciality. The spiders are served whole, and can be purchased in restaurants or bought from the local market.

The spiders are coated in flavourings like garlic and MSG, and fried in oil until they’re almost (but not quite) completely stiff. Like boiling an egg, this process of frying the spider will start to harden the contents of its abdomen. They’re crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.

If you’re feeling skittish about eating spiders, you could always fall back to these Cambodian krill fritters.

Abdominal contents can be eaten or avoided. They may include the spider’s eggs, as well as excrement and internal organs, appearing as a brown paste.

2. Bluff Oysters

You’ll need to get your timing right for this New Zealand treat. Bluff Oysters are only available for a few months each year.

Bluff Oysters are said to be the world’s most juicy and flavourful, and are a New Zealand favourite. You can eat them as they are, or order them fried in batter.

3. Drunken Shrimp

This Chinese meal involves shrimp that are served still alive. At this point, they’ve been swimming in strong alcohol and are unlikely to last much longer.

Drunken Shrimp is a freshwater delicacy, and something for the braver diners to order. It doesn’t look particularly tempting when served, and the shrimp may still be leaping and jumping having been recently transferred to the alcohol. Once they’ve stopped, you can pick the shrimp up more easily.

4. Road Kill

In West Virginia, the Roadkill Cook Off is a celebrated annual event. Time your USA road trip just right, and you too could be dining on such delights as squashed squirrel and flattened porcupine.

You can also try deer and bear, amongst other roadkill dishes that are served. It’s not for the faint-hearted!

5. Hákarl

Hákarl is fermented shark, often prepared by being buried in the sand to slowly rot. Once it’s fermented underground, it’s lifted out and is hung in the open air to dry. This is certainly an interesting food to try, though very few people can manage. It has a strong smell and even stronger taste, but is a food that they’re proud of in Iceland.

6. Seitan

Many of the world’s most interesting and unusual foods are not suitable for vegetarians. Seitan, however, is made from wheat gluten, and is suitable for vegetarian diets. This elastic gluten product has a texture not dissimilar to Play Doh, but is often flavoured to become a Chinese replacement for chicken.

7. Balut

In the Philippines, it’s common for eggs to be left until the foetus inside has developed. Approximately two weeks after the egg has been laid, it’s then boiled and served. The developing foetus is soft and featherless, with chewy bones, and is said to be a good source of calcium and protein.

8. Black Pudding

The UK and Ireland’s own speciality, Black Pudding is made from pork fat, pork blood and beef suet. These ingredients are mixed with barley and oats, to create what is typically served as part of a full cooked breakfast.

Photo: Jonathan Farber (Unsplash)

So there you have it – some of the world’s most unusual and interesting cuisine. It’s certainly not to everyone’s tastes, but you might be pleasantly surprised if you try it!

This was a contributed post.

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