Travel x Food: Delicious Delicacy from Around The World

Thursday, January 26, 2017

There are some foods that we will never try in our lifetime. There are some foods that, quite frankly, we never want to try in our lifetime. But do we know what the offerings are from different cultures and countries? Unless we specifically fly out to them, we probably aren’t aware of what’s available to us. We don’t know what we may love but haven’t had the chance to sample yet, or what we’ll save til another day (month, year, century). Let’s take a couple of the weirdest foods from a few countries/continents and see what tickles our fancy… 

Scotland, Europe

What was once a Scottish-only celebration has now descended across the whole of the United Kingdom, taking place on the 25th of January every year.
January in Scotland is a month of big celebration. Not only do they bring in the year in style with Hogmanay, but revered poet Robert Burns’ birthday is celebrated on the 25th of the month with a traditional dinner of haggis, neeps & tatties (haggis, turnips and potatoes), washed down with traditional Scotch whiskey and a recital of Burns’ poetry. What is haggis? Well, it’s a mixture of a sheep’s internal organs, spices and oats, encased in sheep intestines. There are health benefits in it though, as it is full of fibre and protein. What’s to lose by trying some? 

China, Asia

Bird's Nest Soup: Savory Delicacy
There are a few dishes in Chinese cuisine which may not be suited for Western palates. The one meal that is common in the Western world is swiftlet birds nest soup, which is made using one of the most expensive animal-made products in the world (the birds nest, which can demand prices of up to US$2,500 worldwide); it has always been regarded as a meal which promotes good health. Other delicacies include the century egg, which is an egg preserved for a good few months encased in a mixture of ash, clay and salt. It produces a strong-tasting, salty product that barely resembles the original egg in everything but shape. 

Alaska, United States, North America

Stinkheads. If you haven’t figured out what they are yet from the name alone, let the elaboration confirm it for you: a rotting fish head. More specifically, the fermented head of a king salmon. It doesn’t really retain its shape, and is instead eaten in a mushy form. Doesn’t it sound appealing? 

United Kingdom, Europe or Australia, Oceania 

Marmite for the UK and Vegemite for Australia. The well-known phrase coined in the UK for Marmite is “You’ll Either Love It or You’ll Hate It” and it could not be more true; try and find a Brit who is indifferent to this yeast-filled delight. Made from the leftovers of the beer-brewing process, this dark brown thick, sticky spread is salty but that’s as far as you’ll get with trying to describe the taste - it’s definitely savoury, but tastes like nothing else you have ever tried before. If that description alone won’t nudge you towards trying it, there’s not much else that will; some British chefs are even creating recipes with it as it provides that distinct a flavor to be combined with blander food.

So - which are you going to try first? 

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"Not all those who wander are lost."
- J. R. R. Tolkien

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