There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the culture of another country than to partake in the eating of the local cuisine. That said, you’d have to be possessed of either an extremely strong curiosity or an extremely strong digestive system to eat the foods described below. That, or you’ve grown up eating them. I’ve scoured the internet to weed out some of the weirdest foods in the world and found some deliciously bizarre foods to share. Have a read through the morsels below.
1. Frogs - Not Just The Legs
In Tokyo, a land where the traditional is as revered as the trendy, an ongoing curiosity for the grotesque has led to the consumption of … the grotesque. If you head for an eatery in Tokyo’s rather inelegantly named “Piss Alley” (the moniker is due to the stench of urine – a consequence of not having any toilets), known locally as Asadachi, you’ll discover an astonishing array of weird and wonderful Japanese delicacies. Are you partial to pig testicles, perhaps you’d like to be served raw eggs and scallions? How about salamander (grilled)? Perhaps the most stand-out bizarre dish is the frog (a whole frog). The frog meat is sliced up and eaten with a dipping sauce, and the bones, feet, head and skin are made into a soup. Diners can then wash down their frog meal with a drink of lizard-containing Sake.
2. Turtle (Suppon)
Suppon, or Turtle, is a popular (multi-course) native dish that has been eaten by the Japanese for over 450 years, and it is a mainstay of family suppers. ‘Suppon Maki’ is the art of preparing the animal so that it can be used in several courses (the Japanese don’t like to be wasteful). For example, some of the turtle’s blood is mixed with rice and wine which are then added to one of its internal organs such as the heart. The drink is then served in glasses to guests. The turtle body is usually served as a key ingredient in a hot pot meal (soup) garnished with fresh vegetables and bean curd; another popular way to serve it is with rice.
3. Mealworm Quiche
This one surely gets a ten out of ten for ‘yuck’ factor. Many scientists believe that more people should embrace the eating of insects not only due to their high protein concentration, but also as an alternative to eating meat. Such movements are already gaining traction in some countries: in the Netherlands, for example, there are shops already selling edible insects and French company Micronutris offers a range of edible insects.
This is a step too far for most people. Every year in south-western China, the annual dog festival sees tens of thousands of hapless dogs and cats mercilessly slaughtered in ‘celebration’ of the longest day of the year. This searing account by journalist Juliana Liu tells of the day her much-loved dog was brutally killed and made into a stew ‘complete with herbs and hard-boiled eggs’.
5. Spiny Tail Lizard (Dabb Lizard)
According to muslimmatters, the spiny tail lizard (uromastx microlepis) is a delicacy in certain parts of the Middle East. One commenter on the site says that there are “some ignorant fools that mock” this reptile and find the taste disgusting to begin with; however, they end up “loving” it. Hmmm. The commenter helps us further by informing us that the spiny tail lizard actually tastes like chicken and gives “no weird smells or taste”. There is some support for this view.
Is your stomach churning yet? Have you decided to go vegetarian after reading this? Or do you have a philosophical approach: what is a bizarre food in one country is simply an exotic delicacy in another?
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