I have eaten some exceptionally good food on our travels. I have also had some pretty insipid unforgettable meals too. However, one question I keep getting asked is what is the most unusual food I have eaten? So here you go, in reverse order this is my top 5 of unusual foods I have eaten during our trip so far.
We don’t get many kangaroos hopping around in England, so this is certainly an ‘exotic’ meat, but a very tasty one. High in protein and low in fat it is very healthy and is also very tender and tasty. Australians know how to do good (I mean really, really good!) pies, so what better way to sample kangaroo than in a pie? I wasn’t disappointed and to me it tasted even better than throwing a shrimp on the barbie in the stereotypical Australian fashion. Kangaroo meat is already exported to more than 55 countries around the globe, so it is probably easier to get hold of and try for yourself than you realise, meaning you don’t have to go all the way to the land down under to eat Skippy!
4. Khmer Barbecue
I love a good barbecue, so when I got the chance to sample barbecue in Cambodia it was a no brainer. As well as the standard barbecue fare of chicken and pork on my plate I was also treated to the somewhat unusual additions of crocodile, snake and frog. I can safely say that this is not an everyday selection of meat that you will find on many barbecues around the world, but I loved it. This was one of those times when the actual meal itself, while initially ordered for novelty factor, was actually really good and I would happily eat any of the meats again. Frog in particular seemed very popular in Cambodia and for anyone wanting to know if it tastes like chicken………no it tastes like frog!
3. Vietnamese Cat/Dog
Ok so let me clear one thing up straight away, I actually ordered baby back pork ribs. We went into a reputable looking restaurant in Hanoi venturing away from the usual street food fare for one meal. The problem is the ribs I received lathered in barbecue sauce were not of the pork variety, that much I know. In fact the only conclusion I could come to judging by the size of the aforementioned ribs was that it was either cat or a small dog. It tasted like no meat I had ever had before and was ridiculously chewy. You don’t see many cats in Vietnam and this may be the reason for that, they are been sold as a pork substitute. Not an experience that I will be looking to relive anytime soon and if I ever go back to Vietnam I will be staying clear of ribs!
You know how it is, you are in the middle of the Amazon Jungle on a trek in the sweltering heat and you start to get a bit peckish but don’t have any food with you. The guide then points out a termite nest and tells you they are edible and asks if anyone would like to try eating some. Well in my opinion it would be rude not to, it became apparent very quickly that I was the only one within our group who held this opinion.
I moved forward on my own and placed my hand on the tree to allow the termites to crawl onto my hand and proceeded to then attempt to lick them off my hand and get them into my mouth before they escaped up my arm and under my t-shirt. Once in my mouth it was a game of hide and seek as I tried to get them crunched up and swallowed as they scuttled around my mouth trying to avoid their imminent fate. Who would have known that termites taste a bit like mint? Not me, but apparently they do. Don’t believe me? Well the next time you are in the Amazon Jungle give them a go and see for yourself!
1. Guinea Pig
Without doubt the strangest thing I have eaten during our travels is cuy or guinea pig to you and me. Peruvians go crazy for these little critters and consume an estimated 65 million guinea pigs each year. It is such a mainstay of their diet that within the cathedral in Cusco a painting of the Last Supper shows guinea pig as the meal of choice for the main man and his disciples.
I was told that the best place to sample guinea pig was just outside Cusco in a little place called Tipon where you would get the authentic local experience rather than the overpriced tourist fare in Cusco itself. I was not disappointed and as we entered someone’s back garden that apparently doubled as a local eatery we were given our first sight of what my cuy al horno (roasted guinea pig) would look like as a tray full of the little blighters was removed from a large mud oven.
It arrived in front of me on a plate fully intact, including teeth. Thankfully it had been filleted and instead of intestines there were copious amounts of herbs acting as stuffing. I was not really sure how I was going to eat this! After the mandatory pictures the chef appeared holding a huge meat cleaver. Had we offended the locals with our stupid gringo behaviour and playing with our food? Luckily the chef smiled, gestured to me to pass her the guinea pig and proceeded with two swift blows to decapitate and then slice it in half. It was passed back to me minus head in a now manageable and easier to eat form. It had the consistency of a salty peking duck, that is the best way to describe it. It was flavoursome, but I am not sure that it would make it into the list of the best food we have sampled during our trip.
So there you have it, my top 5 weird and wonderful food experiences on our journey so far. If you enjoyed reading please show us some love by clicking the heart and why not leave a comment or tell us about the strangest thing you have eaten.