13 years ago by
Why does it seem that unusual foods belong to someone else, to another country, nation, race or history? Though the stomach cannot distinguish between beef and hedgehog protein, the palate does. Sometimes, "strange" delicacies are part of the culinary repertoire of a society or region.
Hedgehogs delight the palates of "British gypsies" (or should I call them Roma) while the eyes of a roasted lamb's head are considered to be delicacies offered to honoured guests in Saudi Arabia.
Lamb's or calf's brains are commonly sold by butchers, and sought after by many a housewife in practically all Middle eastern countries. Arabs and western Chinese have eaten extremely tough and sour-tasting camel humps, feat and meat for centuries. The hump is first marinated and then roasted. Feet are boiled with herbs and served with a vinaigrette dressing.
Cocks combs (crette de coq) are often used by French and Italian chefs to garnish various poultry dishes. Gourmets claim cock?s combs to be very tasty albeit chewy.
In Central and South America iguana meat is saut?ed, then casseroled, a dish considered to be a gastronomic delight.
Australian aboriginals consider sugar ants and chopped marinated kangaroo tail ragout to be delicious.
Koreans and Chinese breed dogs for food. Some beat dogs to death to obtain tender meat, others hang the animal to die in an agonizing way. Both methods are inhumane and North American animal rights associations are fighting to ban such practice.
Rooke pie, an old English pub specialty once famous is almost never served these days.
For centuries, both bear paw and steak have been highly prized in China, Russia and eastern European countries. Today it is almost impossible to buy bear meat commercially, but hunters still can find recipes in old eastern European cook books.
Shark fins and birds nests, especially those from southern Java, Indonesia, are considered to be delicacies by Chinese, especially Hong Kong, gourmets. Both are available dried in Hong Kong, Singapore and North America, and used for flavourful soups.
Fried grasshoppers are popular in Africa, and chocolate dipped ants in Japan. Fried caterpillars and silkworms are crunchy and ethereal in texture. Both are available in North American gourmet shops. Elephant meat is tough, but its trunk and feet are not. In Asia and Africa, locusts are said to taste like shrimps and traditionally eaten with "wild" honey.
In Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong, occasionally specially bred small monkeys are eaten while the animal is still alive. This most inhumane and cruel habit seems to be disappearing, albeit slowly.
Live snake meat is readily available in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Sauteed snake meat and snake soup are said to ward off common colds, and generally healthy.
Tibetans stew yak meat, which tends to be tough, as animals are slaughtered when very old. European gourmets like sea turtle soup. In the Caribbean and South America, turtle meat is stewed. Alligator meat (fresh or frozen) can be found in Florida, and Louisiana and on restaurant menus. Alligator meat, especially those "farm" raised, tastes like very tough chicken.
Eskimos consider seal blubber and whale fat superbly tasty. Cod tongues and seal flipper
Horsemeat has a beef-like flavour, but finer texture. It is lean and requires stewing. Europeans (French, Italians, Swiss, Austrians, Germans and the Dutch) are fond of horsemeat. Canada exports horsemeat and live animals to France.
Donkey meat is used mostly for sausages.
In both Spain and Mexico, testicles of steers killed in bullfights are considered to be delicacies, and served grilled with butter and olive oil based sauces.
Lamb fries, kidneys, brains, liver are served on occasion in fine restaurants. Tripe and beef stomach are considered poor man?s protein and available in butcher shops catering to a low income population.
Here are some other unusual foods from around the world:
Crocodile Steaks (Australia)
Crocodile Kebabs (Kenya)
Elephant Steaks (Kenya)
Guinea Pig and Chips (South America)
Ostrich Burgers (Australia, Kenya)
Piranha Salad (Brazil)
Zebra Kebabs (Kenya)
Putrefied shark (Iceland)
Congealed sweetened pigs blood (Thailand)
24 chicken testicles stewed in herbs (Vietnam)
Burnt sea slug with cashew nuts (Vietnam)
Raw fish bowels (Vietnam)
Cold shredded jellyfish (China)
Smoked horse, sheep stomach (Kazakhstan)
Wichity grub soup, camel curry (Australia)
Smoked emu (Australia)
Raw ostrich, springbok (Namibia)
Water buffalo skin (Laos)
Smoked reindeer ice hotel, (Sweden)
Duck's gizzards (France)
Smoked donkey (Italy)
Curried frog, inc head and guts (Thailand)
Live lemon ants (Ecuador)
(Source: www.thetravellerslounge.co.uk; www.foodreference.com)
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