Monday, March 21, 2016

What's The Most Bizarre Thing You've Ever Eaten?

Water beetle, young fish and silkworm for sale at a restaurant in China. 

Someone recently asked me if I liked chicken feet. She was inquiring because, if my tastes were so inclined, she was going to pass on a restaurant recommendation where the chicken feet were particularly fine.

While I've had chicken feet, I do not find them to be a delicacy. I find them to be, foot-y. But that question did get me thinking: What's the oddest thing I've ever consumed?

Over the years, I've consumed some unusual-ish things: frog, snail, venison, kumquat, poi, sea-salt coffee and Spam.

In Thailand, I've had fried ants (too small to really taste) and durian, a fruit that smells so potent it's banned from many hotels and airports (it tastes like it smells). Nam pla or fish sauce is a staple in our house and I have a particular fondness for tamarind candy, a sour sweet that makes your lips pucker.

In China, I've had pigeon eggs (mistakenly ordered and not enjoyed) and ham-burgers (pork burgers served on a kind of flat bread in Xi'an). The Chinese also serve orange juice hot, which as it sounds, is not refreshing.

While much of this unusual fare has been overseas eating, there is plenty of American cuisine that is regionally unique.

Baltimore, Maryland is known for its soft-shell crab. I love crab, and although I've tried soft-shell crab, I'm squeamish about a crab that gets eaten in entirety. There's just something off-putting about eating shell. I've also had sand dabs and found them chewy - and not in a good way.

California helped me to acquire the taste for fresh avocados, which I like on buttered toast with salt and pepper. It was also in the sunny state that I discovered the goodness that is Mexican drink horchata.

Memphis gave me a love for fried pickles. There I learned - the hard way - that coleslaw is served on a pulled pork sandwich and not as a side. I could never figure out why this is as it makes the sandwich soggy.

Speaking of BBQ, different parts of the country serve BBQ in many different ways - all claiming theirs best. I'm partial to the North Carolina style, a vinegar-based BBQ served with hush puppies. But Texas, Kansas City and Memphis all tout their BBQ as God's gift to meat-lovin' mankind.

There are two recipes that I routinely make that aren't odd but that do include unusual ingredients. I brine chicken in pickle juice; it makes the chicken deliciously moist. I also make a ricotta cheese cookie that's absolutely divine.

But the oddest thing I think I've ever eaten was a soup my Thai aunt used to make. It was so delicate and light and lovely. I ate it by the bowlful until I found out that the primary ingredient was fish intestines. I just couldn't, pardon the pun, stomach it after that.

What's the most bizarre thing you've ever eaten?                                                                                                                                                                              


  1. I miss the ricotta cookies. So delicious. Arent kumquats and Spam normal? Or just in California? 😬

    1. There is nothing normal about Spam!

  2. "American" fish.

    And squid chips.

    1. Sounds like you want to come over!

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