A co-worker and I were talking this week about these reality TV shows where people are out in the wilderness and have to eat bugs to survive. I’m pretty sure I’d just starve if I had to eat a bug. Bugs aside, it got me to thinking about some of the more unusual foods out there or unique ways of preparing foods.
There are some unusual foods that I really enjoy. Sushi is one of those. I never in my life thought I would eat raw fish, but now I just adore a spicy tuna roll. Beef or lamb Carpaccio is another food that I really enjoy. I was first introduced to this dish, which is beef (or lamb) seared slightly on the outside and then sliced paper thin, when I worked at the Piedmont Club in Winston-Salem. When new menu items were introduced, all of the staff would taste the dishes so we could tell customers about them. The Carpaccio looks like raw super thin slices of meat, we served it at the club with toast points, capers and a Dijon mustard. At first I was nervous to try this as it looks basically like raw meat, but I was adventurous and gave it a try. Now, I love it, though there aren’t many places around here that serve such a dish. The last time I had it was in Key West while on my honeymoon.
I was curious about other people’s favorite “weird” food or just unusual foods they have been brave enough to try.
My friend Syndee from Atlanta said as a kid and to this day she enjoys a traditional Jewish dish known as gelfite fish.
“It’s a mix of white fish and pike, and made into a sort of patty,” she explained.
Crystal told me that she once ate ostrich and really enjoyed it.
“It was smoked and then grilled! Quite tasty,” she said.
Having lived in New Orleans, my good friend Judy is no stranger to good and more unusual foods.
“I’ve had alligator sauce piquante, of course, but for the uninitiated, the first time one eats boiled crawfish is a strange and wonderful experience,” Judy said.
Not everyone who shared their thoughts on “weird” food enjoyed their experience.
“Escargo, terribly chewy, made me gag into my napkin in a fancy little French restaurant in downtown Seattle,” Barbara told me. “Best part was the very handsome elderly gentleman who could not stop himself from chuckling.”
My colleague up at The Mount Airy News, Bill Colvard, had the exact opposite opinion of escargot.
“I love snails, as they’re called here where it’s weird to eat them, or escargot in France where it is perfectly ordinary,” he said. “They are the perfect delivery system for copious amounts of garlic and butter which could account for my fondness of them. I could probably eat anything given enough garlic and butter.”
I heartily agree with the garlic and butter idea, though Barbara may have talked me out of it already with the chewy comment. Sometimes it’s more the texture of a food than the taste that can be off putting.
While visiting Ireland, my friend Bridget said she tried black pudding, a blood sausage popular in the UK. She pronounced it “yucky” and tasting of iron.
Rattlesnake, ox tongue, haggis, Balut (partially developed chicken egg), Beondegi (steamed silkworm pupae), pig intestines, violets and purple potatoes were a few other unusual foods that some of my friends have tried.
In my opinion, my good friend Donna and her family wins the award for the weirdest food experience. She even sent me a picture of her son eating this unusual item.
“Termites. Right out of a nest in a tree in Belize. Stick finger in nest, pull out a finger covered in termites, stick finger in mouth. And they tasted minty. Seriously. Minty,” Donna said. They also ate iguana and iguana eggs!
Well, you won’t have to worry about me taking your share of termites, Donna. I’ll let you have them all. I’ll stick with my sushi and Carpaccio!
What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten? If you have a great unusual food story, I’d love to hear about it. Email me at [email protected]
Kitsey Burns Harrison is a reporter for The Yadkin Ripple and The Elkin Tribune, here she shares her musings on food, life and love. She can be reached at 336-518-3049 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.