For me part of the fun of travelling abroad has to be sampling the cuisine on offer. Taking a walk around a local market or having a snack at a backstreet café you are sure to discover some unusual tasty treats! So when you’re next on holiday be adventurous and try everything; you are bound to earn the respect of the locals!
Here’s my selection of out of the ordinary dishes from around the world, continent by continent…
Birds nest soup
Yes, a birds nest in a soup! Well, unlike you were thinking this soup is not a crunchy mixture of twigs and leaves; it is made from a Swifts nest, made from saliva and not sticks! The nests are rich in nutrients and have many health enhancing qualities. You can probably only get this delicacy in China, but why not ask for a bowl next time your down the local Chinese restaurant? You may be surprised!
So you thought you could palate just about any food from Europe? Well here’s something to get you thinking…
Casu Marzu is a traditional cheese from Sardinia in Italy. This cheese is home to live insect larvae…you heard me right…there are insects inside the cheese! The larvae are deliberately added to the cheese to encourage a level of fermentation close to decomposition which gives the cheese a unique pungent flavour. This cheese was even declared harmful by the EU due to its potential destructive effects on the digestive system! However, some discontented Sardinians continued to buy and sell the cheese on the black market!
Yum Yum, tacos, sounds good, right? Well if you didn’t already know ‘sesos’ are cows brains. These tasty tacos are eaten all over Mexico, available from street vendors or in restaurants. You never know, maybe, if you eat enough of them they will have brain enhancing qualities!
Now heading down under for our next taste sensation… How about an emu burger? In Australia Emu meat is available at any supermarket. The meat is particularly popular with the health conscious as it is an excellent alternative to traditional red meat as it contains less cholesterol, fat and calories.
Guinea pigs are not only cute pets for children; they also make a scrumptious meal! In Peru, the rodent’s birthplace the guinea pig remains a vital source of protein and Peruvians consume around 65 million guinea pigs each year. This dining experience normally requires two hands to pick the meat from a bony carcass often with the head staring up from the plate!
Algerians decided to include these little creatures in their diet after their crops were repeatedly being eaten by them. To make them edible the locusts are soaked in salt water and roasted under the sun. They can be a valuable source of protein, or just a crunchy snack!
So we’ve come to the end of our round the world culinary tour. I hope you enjoyed the trip and I haven’t put you off your lunch! Has anyone tried any of these dishes, or anything even stranger? Let us know…