Unusual Foods

A non-destination specific post for today’s A-Z Challenge letter. Mostly because I used up my only “U” location for last years post when I wrote about Uluru. So instead I’m discussing the one thing all of us can relate to, whether we travel internationally or domestically or no further than our own multicultural home towns, …. unusual foods. Every country has them. Some little oddity, a dietary quirk if you will, that is a signature of our culture or geographic region. Some are more unusual than others, some are just a unique combination of globally available food products. So, here’s some of the different foods I’ve tried to date:

The first that comes to mind is sauteed tarantula in Cambodia. My first taste was in 2005 at a roadside stall somewhere on a road mid-way between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. There really weren’t any options around for a lunch stop but there was a lady with a basket full of fried up spiders. There’s no way to “pretty up” a spider … it’s a big black spider, I’m sure it still had little hairs on it’s legs but that could’ve been my imagination. But when in Cambodia … you must try these. I had them again on my second visit, in a restaurant in Phnom Penh. I will confess with shame or embarrassment, I’ve only ever snapped the legs off and eaten those. I can’t bring myself to eat the head or the abdomen. But the legs are delicious. Seriously – tasty, crunchy, flavoured with spices and sauces, they are really good eating. Not very filling though.

Sauteed tarantula
If you would prefer something more meaty, then Africa has some great options. On my first visit to Swakopmund in Namibia, I had dinner one night in a pizzeria called Napolitana. They have a game platter on offer which consists of the meat of four different animals … springbok, kudu, oryx and zebra. I need to be honest here, I couldn’t tell you which was which as they all taste pretty much the same. I did get an opportunity to try kudu again a couple of years ago at a lodge in Kruger (well, in the Klaserie private reserve to be specific) … but this time it was kudu carpaccio (thin slices of raw meat). It had a flavour that was a little too strong for my palate. Actually, when I reflect on it, my favourite dish at the lodge (ignoring the delicious malva pudding they serve for dessert) was a lettuce soup. Yep. Hot lettuce soup with a dollop of cream.

That kudu carpaccio wasn’t my first run in with raw meat either. I had been visiting a friend in Windhoek, Namibia and they served up a dish called Rohak for lunch. It’s basically a piece of hard bread with raw spiced mince topped with onion and pepper. The dish is German in origin and while I recognise it’s something available in many countries, under many names, it’s not a common food where I come from. That makes it unusual to me. And here in lies the beauty of what’s considered “unusual” and how it changes from one culture to another. Let me give you an example. Something which is completely normal and common for me but I’m willing to bet would be unusual for many of my foreign readers. Kangaroo. Whether as steaks or minced, kangaroo meat is very high in protein and low in fat, and is considered a healthier option than some other meats. However, it has a really strong taste (particularly the after taste) and it’s a meat which is best eaten rare. The more you cook it, the tougher it ends up. Now this post could go on and on, seriously, about all the weird and wonderful foods out there. I’ve barely even scratched the surface on the subject nor ticked off all the bizarre stuff I’ve eaten at home and abroad. So lets throw the floor open instead … why don’t you tell me about some of the unusual foods you’ve tried?

Namibian dish “Rohak” … raw mince with onion
Kangaroo! This one at the zoo, so not for consumption πŸ™‚
This post is part of my contribution to the April 2017 A-Z Challenge

For a list and links to all my challenge posts, click here

For those interesting in revisiting my 2016 challenge post for U, here’s the link: Snapshot – Uluru

2017 Badge

62 thoughts on “Unusual Foods”

  1. I give you credit for being creative but you would not get me to eat those things. 😡
    I have eaten the raw meat with onions before though, that is a delicacy in Germany and I believe in France as well. As for the other stuff, I’ll pass.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ouch!! I am a total chickentarian and experimented with pork, beef and buffalo – none pleased my palate at all. I cant imagine eating tarantuals or ants or frogs or eels or……………
    I think the weirdest thing I have eaten is Blue cheese which btw I love!!!!!
    On the veggie side, here in India we have an amazing array of food cooked from plants and herbs which varies from region to region and is uber delicious!
    Banana stems, Banana flower – big delicacy in some of the Indian cuisines
    Our sweets/desserts are to die for too!!!
    Loved your post for its unusualness Kim πŸ˜‰

    ​Unzymotic Road Trip

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blue cheese is definitely an acquired taste! Yes, I just read a comment from another reader about the use of banana stem & flower – that’s a perfect example of something which, while it may be common in India, might be a new experience for people elsewhere πŸ™‚ Unusual is all a matter of perspective after all.
      Thanks for reading & contributing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am ashamed to admit that up until recently I have been quite a fussy eater, so some of the more exotic things for me have been scallops and mussels and well any kind of fish to be honest.

    Apart from that though I had reindeer when I was young, I don’t remember entirely what it was like, maybe a bit spicier than the meat I’m used too and just my mum confessing when I was a bit older that it wasn’t just a normal burger because she was worried that I wouldn’t eat it if I knew what it was.

    Also more recently Heart of Palm, Nasturtium, and electric Daisy, it’s got a bit of a kick ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a very fussy eater still – quite a bland palate really. But when travelling I’ll try a couple of the local dishes.
      I have to say, I’ve not tried any of those things you mentioned! I don’t really like seafood that much so mussels … I couldn’t do that lol.
      But those other things … maybe I would try them πŸ™‚
      Thanks for adding those unusual dishes to the post, Raven!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought I would hate mussels but when they are fresh and with a nice sauce they’re actually quite tasty. I did try oysters too but never again is all I’m saying to that. πŸ˜‹

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  4. FINALLY I meet someone who is inclined towards unusual bizarre food! I’m hugely experimental with mine- have had stir fried nymphs- baby roaches, bamboo worms, grasshoppers, frog and frog leg, venison, snails, baby octopus. All of them tasted pretty decent except the roaches. They were yuck!

    This apart Eel is an all time fav but not sure if it qualifies as unusual food πŸ˜€

    Loved your post Kim. Hugs

    Blog: natashamusing
    Theme: Travel Epiphanies
    Upbeat and Upstream

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Natasha! Glad you enjoyed it. It’s funny because I’m not at all adventurous with foods at home – I’m a super fussy eater. But I will generally try something a bit different when I’m travelling. I guess I feel like I should get the most out of my experience! But wow! You have tried a lot of unusual foods! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have to admit that when it comes to new and exotic foods, I am a wimp. When in doubt, I tend to stick with fruit and vegetables. I figure there is never much risk involved in fruit and vegetables!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Feral platter! What a great name for the plate. I haven’t had camel, I’ve heard it’s a little tough though? And I had emu when I was a kid but I hated it. Tarantula is probably a step too far for many. Like cockroaches, no way I’d eat one! Nope. Not going there 😱

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Jen! You’ve had some pretty bizarre foods! I haven’t had any of those … although it’s possible I’ve had dog. Lots of dog on the menu in Vietnam & half the time I just pointed to a picture of a meal without really knowing what I was eating. I have heard crickets aren’t too bad at all. Just crunchy little bits of nothing with flavouring. What did you think of them?


  6. No way you could’ve eaten a single leg of those spiders! Whew, I don’t believe it’s tasty. Hahaha kudos for having the guts to try one.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. In for game meat, not for spiders. As for me, always thought vegemite was pretty odd. And after this post, I’m thinking I’m simply not that adventurous. I’ve had kangaroo before and that was quite good. I pictured them hopping around in the basement of the restaurant waiting to be served…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vegemite is odd … although it’s such a regular part of the Australian diet, we are basically raised on it from birth. But I’ve yet to meet a non-Australian fan of it – most people find the taste too strong.
      On my first trip to Africa in 2013, I was introduced to s’mores by some Canadians I was travelling with – I’d never heard of them but man, did they make for great snacks around the campfire! πŸ™‚


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