2 weeks ago
Do culinary vacations interest you? Do you enjoy trying local foods wherever you visit? We’ve gathered the top ten foods that only true travel adventurers will try on their food holiday.
- Bird’s Nest Soup, China This soup is often referred to as the ‘Caviar of the East’, and although you might be imagining a soup made out of twigs and leaves, Swifts (the birds who make the nest used in this soup) make their nests predominantly out of saliva! It’s one of the most expensive animal products that humans consume, and a single bowl can cost between $30 and $100. Mmmmmm, bird spit!
- Beondegi, South Korea Boiled or steamed silkworms are a popular snack all over Korea, and is usually sold by street vendors. It supposedly tastes like wood, if that’s what you’re into. Honorable mention here, since we’re talking about gooey worms: Mopani Worm in Zimbabwe. Delicious, delicious grubs!
- Tequila worm, Mexico The worm supposedly has hallucinogenic properties from a high concentration of alcohol, but it’s all a marketing gimmick. The worm is actually usually only present in lower-end mezcal products, but you get a lot of travel cred among the party crowd if you can say you’ve actually ingested one.
- Casu Marzu, Sardinia A sheep’s milk based cheese containing maggots, the maggot’s digestive juices are essential to creating a soft cheese with lots of liquid. It is properly eaten with a hand over the cheese to keep the jumping maggots from getting in your eye. Casu Marzu is illegal according to European Union law, but it has a lot of fans and is readily available on the black market. Not that we would *ever* recommend breaking the law with your food choices, that could be dangerous...
- Rocky Mountain Oysters, United States These aren’t oysters, but instead are deep fried bull testicles. They are available in the Western United States, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, and Spain and originated in places with a large cattle industry - especially during the season of castration for young males.
- Snake wine, Vietnam and China Rice wine is interesting, but rice wine bottled with an entire venomous snake in the bottle is quite the conversation piece. Long seen as having properties of rejuvenation, the alcohol in the bottle neutralizes the venom to keep it from poisoning drinkers.
- Century Egg, China Several hundred years ago, someone decided to coat a raw egg with ash, clay, salt, and quicklime in order to preserve them. Then, several months later, thought it would be interesting to try the greenish-gray crumbly yolk surrounded by brownish jelly and smelling of sulfur that resulted. *AND THEN* thought it would be a great idea to continue to produce these. And it’s lucky that they did, you can still buy them to try today.
- Fried spiders, Cambodia It isn’t known precisely how this food tradition started, but many think that it originated during the famine of the Khmer Rouge government. The spiders (the size of the palm of a hand) are fried in oil with garlic and spices. There isn’t much meat on the legs, but the abdomen and head are quite popular. Except with people who don’t want to eat fried spiders.
- Sannakji, South Korea Although the octopus served is usually freshly killed, the nerve activity is still present - resulting in twitching and flexing arms and suction cups that present an actual choking hazard (particularly if consumed while drunk). Occasionally the octopus is still alive when served. Quite frankly, you might want to stick to the chicken.
- Durian Fruit, Thailand The durian fruit is quite possibly the smelliest snack in the world. It is so odorous that it is illegal to carry a raw one on public transportation or through airports in much of Southeast Asia — it’s literally a forbidden fruit in many places. The fruit’s smell has been described as similar to that of sewage, body odor or rotten garbage:-)) The durian is filled with four seeds covered with a thick, creamy flesh. Eat a durian by breaking it open and consuming the flesh from around its seeds; you may want to hold your nose as you eat.
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