Being a self-confessed foodie, it’s one of the first things I think about when I go away. The world is a beautifully diverse place, travelling and eating go hand in hand. I know many people choose specific countries based on their exquisite culinary delights and I can completely see why.
I’m lucky that I haven’t been anywhere where I’ve really been put off by the local cuisine, but today I thought I would round up some of the strangest cuisines in the world.
Let’s start the culinary journey in Laos. Sharing borders with Vietnam and Thailand, it is a pretty landlocked and mountainous country. However, it is also home to one of the most unusual soups – Gaeng Kai Mot is a tasty mixture of ant eggs, partial embryos and some baby ants. Supposedly very tasty, sharp and delicate but not one that I will be adding to my ‘must-try’ list any time soon.
While many of us think of full-flavour pasta dishes and landscape quite unlike any other, Italy is also somewhat famous for its Casu Marzu… a delicious Pecorino, filled with cheese fly maggots – I can’t even imagine what this one would taste like! You can have the cheese with or without your little friends but either way, prepare yourself for a very distinct flavour. Great with crackers maybe…
If you happened to watch any of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” you might’ve seen him indulge in something called a Happy Pizza. He delicately mentioned there being a ‘powerful herbal component’ although he never states exactly what the pizza contains although there are a few hints to something not too dissimilar from pure hemp oil. A reason to pop Cambodia on your foodie map?
Greenland refuses to be left behind on the list of strange (and exciting?) foods. A traditional Inuit meal called Mutuk is one of the local delicacies resembling liquorice allsorts, but is, in fact, whale skin and fat. It comes in two varieties – pickled or raw. You’ll be delighted to know that it tastes like hazelnuts and is very chewy. Yum…
Japanese cuisine is one of my absolute favourites, but I know for a fact there is a lot more that I have never tried. Japan is known for its beautiful sushi, rich culture and stunning city nightscapes, but having the worlds largest fish market, Tsukiji, is it any wonder that their appearance on the distinguished list would be for something seafood related? Tuna is a high-cost fish, so to be able to use as much as possible is a good thing. To make the most of it, they pluck out the eyeballs and boil or steam them, season lightly with garlic or soy sauce and chew them down. Reportedly they taste like squid.
And finally, let’s end this culinary adventure on one of the smelliest foods in the world… The award goes to Sweden for producing a food so smelly it has to be eaten outside. It’s called Surstromming and is Baltic Sea herring, fermented in just enough salt so that it doesn’t rot. Usually found in tins and brine nowadays, but still upon opening the tin, the pungent aroma is released.
So there you have it, an unusual list of morsels for the foodies who are brave enough to try.
Anyone care for a trip?