I remember trying sushi in Japan before it became popular in America and that doesn't even come close to making the list. Here are a few of the most unusual foods I remember from my travels.
Steamed jellyfish and boiled duck feet in China
Reindeer stew in Finland
Roast impala in Kenya
Kangaroo (fresh of the barbie) in Australia
Haggis in Scotland
I've sampled all manner of great food from char-grilled oysters in Mississippi to tako yaki (fried dough balls with bits of octopus inside) in a Japanese park to local tropical fruits (most of which I can't recall the names) on islands in the South Pacific to fantastic seafood from oceans, lakes, and rivers around the world.
What foods have you tried and loved (or hated) during your travels?
Boiled Duck feet? Wow.
This is an awesome thread! Thanks for starting this bejacob, although I can't say that I've eaten anything too weird on my travels. I mean, other than a three pound Burger in Idaho and a chicken wing that required latex gloves to make due to it being so spicy in North Carolina!
I'm curious to hear what others have tried.
On our first trip to Jamaica, I vowed to eat seafood three times a day, which actually turned out to be more like five times a day at the all-inclusive we were at. It's not exactly daring, but I absolutely loved (and still love) the national dish of Jamaica, ackee and salt fish. It wasn't till I got home and researched it that I discovered the extreme toxicity of eating unripened ackee or eating the wrong parts of the fruit, the toxins of which can't be cooked away.
I've tried to duplicate it at home a couple of times with canned ackee, but I've never been able to achieve the culinary nirvana of the dish as prepared there. (Of course, that may also have something to do with actually BEING in Jamaica and eating it in an open-air restaurant with ocean breezes and reggae as a backdrop.)
Ackee and saltfish with dumplings
Now see, bejacob and 702rugbyref, your posts speak to exactly why I have genuine trepidation with regards to a visit to China (that and air quality, crowds, traffic, etc.) I'm afraid that I would starve there! (Not that a few days without food would do me any lasting harm. ) Gold Stars to the pair of you for your courageous palates.
I thought Haggis was pretty gross, but then I was a kid when I tried it. The Haggis was a recipe of my step-Grandma, who published a cook book of recipes that she gleaned from her extensive travels in GB, so it was on account of her travels, not mine. And she was indeed a gourmet cook.
Speaking of gross, I thought I had eaten real Waygu beef when I was in Japan, but after seeing a recent photo of it that kharada46 posted, I'm pretty certain now that it wasn't the real deal (and thank God.)
Fugu in Japan. Also, "nuclear" apples and carrots (not much flavor). The fugu (yes, it was the real deal) was sublime.
Cuisses de grenouilles et Escargots in France, of course. Difficult to dislike anything that's drenched in clarified butter.
As sort of an antithesis to the topic of this post, I tend to stick with the familiar. Pretty much why I can sniff out decent Italian food just about anywhere I go. Flowers and foam are pretty on a plate, but not something I am overly excited about consuming. Nothing slimy. Or alive, thank you. No exo-skeletons or creatures with more than 4 legs, not even buttered or battered or coated in chocolate and sprinkled with nuts.
Actually, you'd find plenty to eat in China, pluto77 that is quite familiar. I just mentioned a couple of the odd things I tried.
I have to admit, I actually liked haggis. Maybe not as much as a steak and Guinness pie, but I'd eat it again (but only in Scotland, mind you. ).
I like to try new things when I'm traveling. Fugu is one I'd sample someday.
Curried goat in Jamaica (not bad as long as I held my nose closed when I got it up to my mouth), alligator soup at Antoine’s in New Orleans (tasted like chicken in a spicy thick broth), kangaroo in Sydney (was a little surprised it was on the menu, I thought they might be protected but I was told they are running all over the place so not to worry about being endangered), Vegemite sandwich as a snack on flight to Sydney (ICK!!!!!!!!!), and kibbe (raw lamb drizzled with olive oil and scooped up with pita bread). I used to travel for business with a salesman from Tunisia and during Ramadan he would be starving by the time we ate in the evening so he would order just about everything on the menu. We ate at some great restaurants and I was a little surprised how good the raw lamb tasted, the presentation left something to be desired though; it was ground lamb shaped into a tube without any casing or anything, kind of coiled around on the plate like a snake waiting to strike. And being from a good Norwegian family my Mom used to make Lutefisk every Christmas Eve. I tasted it once but never again; a salty jiggling mess on a plate; awful.
My favorite cuisines these days are Indian (I love lamb vindaloo) and Mexican. If anyone is ever at Rosa Mexicano in DC order the Chamorro, a delicious pork shank about the size of a baby’s head with yummy sides to go with.
And Men At Work put in a "Vegemite Sandwich"reference in "Down Under" off the "Business As Usual" album!!
A classic Men At Work - Down Under - YouTube
Just more little known and totally useless information from yours truly.
I must think about this question for awhile, strangest was probably Chicken Feet at a NYC Chinatown restaurant a few years back. I know pretty lame, but the best I've got so far.
Hey there bejacob I've heard that Vegemite is an acquired taste and if you grew up on it that's probably why you still enjoy it. Luckily on the flight to Sydney, I was upstairs in business on a 747 so there was lots of other great food on the long flight and thankfully I wasn't limited to Vegemite. I loved Sydney and would go back in a heartbeat.
I brought Vegemite back to one of my co-workers as a souvenir gift one time, when suffering from a fit of sadistic glee. (The rest of the guys got James Squire.) As I presented it to him, I made sure he understood that it was a special gift just for him, because "I appreciate you so much and always want to make sure that you have the very best." Seriously, we all had a good laugh. And anyways, he was my favorite to mess with in a twisted sort of way that just worked (he was always happy to reciprocate.)