When you travel you are bound to have the opportunity to eat or drink something entirely outside the realm of what you’d consider normal at home. That’s just part of traveling and you can either choose to avoid these different experiences or grab life by the reins and take it for a ride.
I know we’ve eaten quite a few things which, to us, seem strange but to the people of an area it’s just a common food item or delicacy. I think that’s the thrill of traveling. You never know what you’re going to get.
So here is a list of “crazy” food we’ve tried during our travels. I’ve listed the name of the food and the location where we tried it. Have you ever tried any of these things?
1) Scrapple and Chitlins- United States
OK, so for me, I don’t have to go far to get this delicious yet unhealthy loaf of meat. It’s commonly eaten throughout parts of the Southern and Northern United States in Appalachian Mountain areas. It’s literally scraps of pork and/or other meats stewed with cornmeal and shaped into a load. Then you slice it and fry it. On the other hand, you have chitlins which are just the intestines of a pig or another animal prepared as a dish. They have to be cleaned and cooked correctly or else you might get sick. Both these foods are considered soul food as they have their origins (in the US) with African-American community.
2) Crickets or Grasshoppers- Mexico
Yeah, I spent a year of my life living in Mexico at the age of 14. As a result, I tried quite a few strange foods and crickets happens to be one of them. In Mexico they are called Chapulines. Basically, these little bugs are collected and cooked on a comal with garlic, lime juice, and salt. Then they are eaten like a snack just as you would potato chips. They’re actually pretty delicious!
3) Escargot- France
Snails are a common delicacy of France and they are cooked in a sauce of white wine, garlic, butter, and parsley. It’s not my favorite but has a flavor consistent with mussels or clams. They’re a little rubbery for my taste.
4) Snake Liquor- United States
Personally, I’ve not tried this. However, Alfred recently had a shot of snake liquor while on a business trip in New York City. He said it was literally a bottle of some alcohol with a snake inside of it. He and his coworkers decided to take a shot on a whim and he was a little uncertain about it. But he said was actually pretty tasty.
5) Black Pudding-Ireland
While we were visiting Cork, our hotel served a breakfast buffet each morning. One of the items on the buffet happened to be black pudding so I decided to try it. I can say, I am definitely not a fan of the mess. It’s basically a sausage made with blood and it has a pretty metalic flavor to me. It’s just not something I care to eat again but I can understand why some would enjoy it.
6) Escamol- Mexcio
Esamol is basically just the laravae and pupae of ants harvested from the tequila or mescal plant. It’s also know as insect caviar. It isn’t a bad tasting dish and reminds me of cottage cheese with a nutty flavor.
7) Sashimi-United States
Though sushi and the idea of eating raw fish is much more acceptable these days in the US, there are still many people here who think it is the strangest thing to consume. Many believe food should be cooked before eaten…especially fish. However, I love sashimi and sushi!
8) Tartare- France, Switzerland, United States
In this case, I am specifically referring to beef tartare which is nothing more than a pile of fairly raw beef with onions, raw egg, Worchester sauce and other condiments. It’s a delicious with sliced of toasted bread or potato fries. There is a big misconception in the West that meats should be served well-cooked for safety reasons. This allows you to really taste the meat and it can be served in a variety of ways.
9) Horse Meat-Canada
In Montreal is where we tried this meat. Believe it or not, Canada is the third highest consumer of horse beef in the world. It can be used much the same as cow beef. Therefore, it can be eaten in many recipes and a common way is to smoke it then eat it in sandwiches. The meat is sweet and reminds me of venison.
10) Alligator-United States
It’s quite common to ear alligator in various parts of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana,and even Georgia. I’ve had alligator balls which are chunks of alligator meat dipped in dough and deep fried. It’s pretty good and actually tasted no different than chicken to me.
Accidental Bonus: Cat/Dog
When I was 14 years old, I lived in Mexico with my uncle. He took me to a taco stand for lunch located at a specific intersection in the city of Monterrey, Mexico. They say when you eat street food in Mexico because you never know what you might get. My uncle actually did know though. After eating a nice meal of tacos, I was informed that it was a mixture of cat and dog meat. I couldn’t even tell the difference. So, while it bothered me slightly and I won’t do it again, I’ll admit it was pretty delicious.
So, as Andrew Zimmern says, “If it looks good, eat it.”