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Food Thrills on the Road

Part of the fun in travel is trying new kinds of food. Here are my top prize winners for unusual food flavor. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I would recommend all of these “treats”. (For obvious reasons, you might want to avoid dairy products in India for example.)

1) Fermented shark in Iceland. The shark meat is hung on a hook for about four weeks. You can eat the shark meat straight or wash it down with some local brandy.
2) Grubs in the Amazon. I swore that no one would talk me into eating wriggling white worms, but when they’re roasted, they taste a little like popcorn.
3) Piranha cooked Amazon style, underground.
4) Kimchee. There are over 160 varieties of kimchee in Korea. It was only in the 19th century that Koreans started using cabbage for kimchee. Kimchee is a pickled and fermented vegetable dish. During the winter months, the kimchee is stored and fermented in a clay container which is sometimes kept underground (in the country).
5) Tripe a la mode de Caen.
6) Jelly fish sub sandwich (tasted in Xian’s Muslim section at an outdoor food stand)
7) Banga Lassi. The banga lassi looks pretty gross and disgusting. I’ve been told that that its green color is actually hashish. So, which is more risky, drinking a hashish laced drink, or drinking dairy products of uncertain origin in India?
8) Lijiang soup – this is also green, but not from any questionable substances. Lijiang soup demands an open mind. It’s the absolute antithesis of guacamole in the green department.
9) Manioc – manioc root is called by some Africans an aphrodisiac. Sometimes it’s served wrapped up in leaves and has a somewhat gummy texture.
10) Boudin Noir (Blood Pudding) I guess my Irish roots are surfacing when it comes to breakfast. Eggs and blood pudding. Or Boudin Noir with fried potatoes and diced apple and onion.
11) Elephant Balls. I ran across this selection at Highway 90 exit bar/restaurant in Ohio enroute to Cleveland. Having traveled around the globe, it was pretty amazing to come across this selection in Ohio. So, of course, I had to order it.

The same dish in the south would be called Hush Puppies. It’s quite simply balls of fried cornbread, usually served with some kind of sweet flavored dip.

For travelers that like to try unusual food, don’t miss this upcoming event: The Annual Hokitika Wild Foods Festival in Hokitika, New Zealand. Some of the choice offerings include: possum pies, cows’ udders, goat testicles, magpie pies, classic huhus (?) and paua titties (roe).

Kind of makes you want to go on a bread and water diet just thinking about it!

For more stories about weird food, check out recently published: The Fearful Traveler’s Companion or ParisBlog, by Chris Card Fuller