One of the thrills of traveling to other countries is to abandon your normal eating habits, expand your culinary boundaries and try unique food that the locals eat. You have seen and probably squirmed through TV shows where the sole purpose is to try the most outlandish dishes from around the world. For instance, in Bangkok you can experiment with every type of deep-fried creepy crawly critter from crickets and grasshoppers to scorpions and spiders. Some would say they are nutritious since they are high in protein and vitamins. We know that one person’s disgust might be another’s delicacy and it is this diversity that adds to the exotic travel experience and the adventurous spirit.
Here are just a few dishes to wet your appetite…
Balut from the Philippines is a duck egg with the fetus inside that has been incubated for about 17 to 20 days and then boiled alive and eaten in the shell.
Escamoles from Mexico is referred to as “insect caviar” and is the larvae from the giant black Liometopum ant. It has a nutty, buttery taste and can usually be found in tacos with guacamole.
Need something to wash all these bugs, embryos and larvae down with? Try Baby Mice Wine from Korea. 3-day-old live baby mice are placed in rice wine to ferment for a year.
If your next climbing trip takes you to the Andean mountains of Peru, maybe try the roasted guinea pig on a stick while you are there. Heading to the Norwegian Fjords to do some kayaking and trekking? Then a dish of lutefisk might be worth exploring. This special cod is marinated in lye, an alkaline solution strong enough to corrode the silverware you eat if from, but yet it is safe for your internal organs.
Am I willing to “do as the locals do” and try some of these bizarre foods when I am traveling? Perhaps one or two. But I draw the line at deep-fried tarantulas in Cambodia. I know I could not stomach it no matter how much garlic is traditionally used on them.
What about you? What strange foods have you tried on your adventures?