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What is the most unusual food you have cooked or eaten?

 
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While I was in college I got to try all kinds of foods I had never heard of. Anchovies were the most unusual and I have not had them since college.

Then I had a job where the company did a lot of entertaining and had champagne and caviar.  I don't think I have had either since then.

What is the most unual foods that you have cooked or eaten?
 
master gardener
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A few things come into mind.

I think the one most engrained in my mind is a thing called Tako (Could be wrong)? It was essentially just a serving of prepared baby octopus. You just pop it in your mouth and chew. Really good drinking food in hindsight! I went to an all you can eat sushi place and the bartender I knew was trying to see what strange things I would try.

Chicken feet is great, I do enjoy them but haven't learned to prepare them myself yet.

Goose jerky is a favorite among a bunch of people I know where I live. Probably the only way many people here utilize goose meat they get from hunting.

Elk out of a smoker is phenomenal. In high school, we had a substitute teacher who came in for a history lesson with the actual teacher. She was a reenactor, as well as her grown son, and they were teaching us some things from the Rendezvous-era of America and worked in smoke game meats! I think that was for an AP-US History class. (AP is advanced placement, college credits can be earned from these courses in the USA by students if they test high enough)
 
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Huh, I'm not sure. It looks like you're focus is individual ingredients rather than prepared dishes. I'm hoping this thread will take off because it'll be interesting just to see what we each understand unusuality. (For instance, I'd had all three of the foods you listed before I was ten, so it would have never occurred to me to include them.)

I guess it's unusual for Americans to like kimchi. Or at least, I've encountered a whole lot of people with a strongly negative reaction to it. But I run in fermenting circles and also know tons of people online who like it as much as I do. I also love pickling dry veggies in miso.

There are a lot of foraged ingredients that are probably unusual among the general populace but not for Permies -- like dandelion, nettles, burdock, sorrel, acorns, etc.

Oh, I know; it must be nukazuke! Even among ferment-heads, it's not the most common technique.
 
Anne Miller
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Timothy Norton wrote:Chicken feet is great, I do enjoy them but haven't learned to prepare them myself yet.



Goose feet:

https://permies.com/t/240783/cook-beer-wine#2235122

Christopher said,  It looks like you're focus is individual ingredients rather than prepared dishes.



Anything, anything from individual ingredients to prepared dishes!
 
pioneer
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While in Taiwan my wife and I were invited to have dinner with neighbors.  They decided to bring out a special home made beverage:

Murder Hornet Rice Wine.

I hesitated, but ended up taking a few shots. It wasn't terrible..

On another day, also in Taiwan, I joined a permie friend and his girlfriend for lunch.

“Do you want to try some of my homemade hot sauce?” he asked.

“Yeah, sure.” I said.

Then he says “Oh, by the way, we have some snails to go with it.”

At that moment I regretted my decision to accept his invitation, but being that eating snails is very common in Taiwan, especially amongst the indigenous, I figure the time would have come to try them eventually, so I just rolled with it.

“What kind of snails are they?” I asked him.

“These are the large invasive ones we see everywhere.” he said. He was talking about the African snails.

At that point I was thinking to myself “What have I gotten myself into?”

But I tried them. The texture was like eating a very tender rubber. Chewy, with a slight crunch. The flavor was somewhat bland without the hot sauce - probably because of how many times they were cooked in boiling water to remove the slime.

It wasn't my favorite food to say the least, and I won’t be going out of my way to gather them for feeding myself anytime soon.

But I do love the idea of becoming so connected to our environment that we can turn problems into solutions with our habits. Eradication with toxic chemicals isn’t necessary when we can find the benefits of things that are normally way too aggressive. We can become the stewards by helping to convert what is overly abundant and begin cycling the energy towards more desired outcomes. In this case id probably just feed them to ducks, black soldier fly larva, or make a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer out of them.  
Murder-Hornet-Rice-Wine.jpeg
Murder Hornet Rice Wine
African-Snail-Snack.jpeg
forked snail
Cooked-African-Snails.jpeg
bowl of African snails in Taiwan
 
Posts: 71
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Mine is probably a bit mundane. Some years ago, my spouse and I picked nopales (the pads not the fruit). He removed the spines, and I fried them with eggs. They were so good that I ate a lot, and learned the hard way that one should only eat a little of a new food. They didn't make me sick or anything, I just didn't like the flavor for a long time after that because I'd eaten so much.

Ours were fatter than the images I found on the internet, but here's what the plant looks like for anyone interested.

 
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I eat a lot of beaver From my fur trapping, and an occasional raccoon. One of my more interesting things, though.....I don't target snapping turtles, but if I happen to come across one and I'm in the mood, I'll take it home for dinner. One time, I butchered a snapping turtle that was full of eggs, so I pulled the eggs out from inside of the turtle and boiled them up and ate them. They were delicious. Interestingly, the "whites" never turned white like a chicken egg, they stayed clear, but still turned somewhat stiff. Apparently the sulfur in chicken egg whites  is what makes them harden, and turtle eggs don't have that.
 
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Years ago, I worked in a rather fancy restaurant that did farm-to-table cooking, including lots of in-house butchering. I was only there a few months, but I got to have little tastes of all the things. Lamb's heart tartare stands out, along with different kinds of sausages including head-cheese - the chef would wax poetic about the inclusion of "squeaky bits". He also did something amazing with pig's ears, either sous-vide or just a braise so long and slow it nearly melted; that was fantastic. Other than meat, there were pickled mustard seeds (lovely caviar-like pop of flavor!), fancy cheeses, some new-to-me veg like watermelon radish and sunflower sprouts. At a different restaurant job, I did try "rocky mountain oysters". Wasn't impressed, but I would give them another chance.

OH! While in culinary school, my classmate from Ecuador brought in two cuy, or guinea pigs, to roast. I gave it a good try, but I think it needed a more acidic condiment to work well. The bit I tasted was greasy, like... an oddly fishy ham? Would try again if opportunity presented.

I've tried chicken feet, but nibbling on little bones seems so tedious that I'd rather throw them and the same birds' wings into the soup pot.

Once, after a working at a food vendor trade show, I got to take home a lot of random/rare produce from a display, including the best fruit I have ever eaten. Fortunately it bore a sticker identifying it as a white sapote. Imagine all the rich silkiness of an avocado with the sweet flavor of a very ripe pear. Magical. Never seen one again.

In my pantry now, I have a jar of teeny-tiny shrimp, fried and seasoned to use as a snack or topping, and pork floss, used basically the same. I like to pick out slightly out-there things at Asian groceries, though I genuinely can't eat hot peppers, so that's limiting.

A lot of foraged mushrooms seem like alien life-forms: giant puffball, anyone?
 
Anne Miller
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T Bate wrote: nopales (the pads not the fruit). He removed the spines, and I fried them with eggs.



I have had that dish, once when we lived in Mexico.  The dish was fixed by a neighbor.  Tasted like green beans and scrambled eggs to me.

I would probably try it again if the occasion arises.
 
pollinator
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Meat:
Groundhog is alright.  Grasshoppers roast over a fire are ok. Bear ham is pretty good if you cook it right, otherwise its tough.

Plants:
Spruce tips are good if they aren't too mature.
 
master pollinator
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I recently tried tempeh that I made. It’s a peculiar taste, mild and also oddly pungent. Essentially, cultured moldy beans. They made good snacks after steaming some chunks, adding salt and pepper, and then frying them.

Canada Lily roots are also  unusual. They taste sweet, mucilaginous, and starchy: delicious!!! But they’re also not common in the wild, so not sustainable (yet) to harvest in any major way. I have been trying hard to cultivate them but it has not been easy.

Lobster mushroom is a Russula or Lactarius mushroom that has been parasitized with another, orange fungus. It’s an odd thing to think about eating, but they’re very good.

A few others deserve some minor mention. Twisted stalk berries, spikenard shoots and berries, basswood winter buds (many people eat the spring buds, but they’re good to eat all winter long), barberry leaves, sorghum pith, tuber-bulrush tubers. And sedge seeds—I think they’re drooping sedge, though can’t remember the Latin name—some Carex. They could make a good perennial grain candidate in wet areas.
 
pollinator
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I've eaten snails in paella and in some kind of garlic sauce. I don't like mollusks much to start with but the garlic sauce was good.

I've eaten cicadas done up as taco meat and as the crunch in chocolate pudding. I thought no matter what they got put in, it still tasted like bugs.

I've eaten prickly pear leaves and fruits, as well as kiwanis melons and countless starfruit. Never had a buddha's hand though, would like to try one! Same goes for jackfruit.

I made kangaroo burgers, but they were not as good as the kangaroo chili I made after that.

I made yak burgers, but I think I like ordinary beef burgers more.

I had Impossible Anouille once, it was horrible, almost made me vomit.

I've eaten ostrich, sliced up on a salad. It was delightful, kind of like beef but lighter and sweeter.

Squid and octopus are two of my favorite meats.

In the warm months I enjoy what I call "lawn salad": walking around my lawn picking the inexhaustible dandelions and clovers until I've eaten 1-2 cups of greens.

A lot of the food I regularly cook (majudara, chana masala, jollof rice, etc.) is unusual only if you consider where I live; in other parts of the world it is quite ordinary.

I'd like to try horse, I've heard it's good.

I keep hearing about pawpaw fruit (a.k.a. Hillbilly bananas) but I never see them growing anywhere.

One time in my 20s I went to this party where we ate these berries that make sour stuff taste sweet. That was fun. (All the libations at the party helped too, probably...)

I'd like to try 3D printed meat once the price comes down to normal meat levels. Then I could try whale, mammoth, you name it.

But the big question is...

If they could 3D print a steak of human meat, would you try it?
 
pollinator
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Ned Harr wrote:I

I keep hearing about pawpaw fruit (a.k.a. Hillbilly bananas) but I never see them growing anywhere.

..One time in my 20s I went to this party where we ate these berries that make sour stuff taste sweet. That was fun...



I just planted a paw paw outside our window last season! I'll try and let you know how it goes.

ALSO-- Just bought a half-of-a-bull from Georgia= Bull Testicles!!! I will make them soon; have no idea how yet but figure the universe will help me figure it out like she usually does... what a world!!!

cheers all!
 
Anne Miller
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Something else that I got to experience in college, also a once in a life time esperience:

Limburger cheese

Once it reaches three months, the cheese produces its notorious smell because of the bacterium used to ferment Limburger cheese and many other smear-ripened cheeses.[7] This is Brevibacterium linens, the same one found on human skin that is partially responsible for body odor (particularly foot odor)



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limburger#Nutrition_facts
 
Christopher Weeks
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Anne Miller wrote:Limburger cheese


Ha! I like stinky soft-rind cheese and I like stinky blue cheeses, but when I had the chance to eat Limburger, I backed away.
 
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We made groundhog stew out of a groundhog that was digging underneath our foundation.  It was delicious--fat, apple-fed, young, succulent.  My boys (who were young teenagers then) were horrified, but both had seconds because it was so yummy.
 
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A friend bought a Buddha's Hand from a local shop as she was curious. She slivered it into a mug for each of us and poured boiling water over it for a citrusy tea with Japanese food for dinner. I thought it was great.

So much does depend on where you are. I got to taste a White Sapote when I was in Hawai'i with a friend. They are in the persimmon family, but I'm not aware of anyone growing them in North America. Not sure what the range is - what ecosystem they need.
 
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Nopales cactus salad (in Mexico)-delicious!
Rattlesnake-blech! did not taste like chicken, had to spit it out.
Nisperos (Canary Islands)-I guess these are similar to loquats.  Delicious!
Conch (Bermuda)-yum
Testicles-I don't remember from what animal. I ate it fried in cornmeal.  I didn't want anymore after that.
Sweatbreads-not a fan
Guinea hen-delicious
Road kill- (deer)-excellent
Feral pig- delicious
Quail-good
Wild turkey-good but legs were tough

I'll eat just about anything fermented-but not the 100-day old eggs.  I'm sure I've forgotten something.
 
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Before I became a nurse I worked at several fancy restaurants and country clubs.  
Alligator- Cajun style,  just tested like Cajun
Sweetbreads- thymus gland,  looks like brains... couldn't get past that
Pork tenderloin-basically rare,  as long as it is up to temp it is safe,  but really pink pork scared me a bit.

My husband was tricked into eating- " Indian turnip", not sure if that is what it is actually called,  but it had a delay then turned his mouth into a blast furnace.

Weeds I enjoy: chickweed,  yarrow,  nettle,  lamb's quarters.

Growing a huge patch but have yet to try Japanese vegetable Fuki. (Pictured behind the tripod trellis frames)
20220601_125225.jpg
growing Fuki Japanese vegetable ohio
 
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All things considered, I haven't been that adventurous.  That said, as I travel to more places, I get to try more things.

I've had limited opportunity, but wild rabbit (snowshoe hare) snared in central / north Saskatchewan.  At a restaurant that was identified as Mediterranean (by a Greek fellow), there were small octopus in a salad.

In Vietnam, we had some banana wine.  On the same trip, live prawns were brought out in something like a chafing dish and cooked at the table (glass lid on the dish so you could see them).  I'm not really big on seafood so didn't find it that exciting.  In South Africa, what they call venison was either impala or kudu.  Black-faced impala have black marks on their posterior / tail that look like an M, so they were referred to as fast food (M for McDonalds).  I've had wild boar a couple times.  I expect I'll try cuy when we visit Peru this spring.

We have a lot of cattails growing around the dugout on our property, so one day I intend to dig some up and give them a try.

There's probably others worthy of mention but none come to mind.
 
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Dog, groundhog, frogs, ants, and crickets.

I tried dog when I was traveling in China. The groundhog was bothering my trees and ended up in the slow cookers. The cheap Chinese food buffets near me often have frog legs, and Purdue University has an annual "Bug Bowl" where they have lots of bug based foods.
 
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Years back, my Dad and I used to dive for scallops.
In our neck of the woods, you can only harvest between November and April.
That makes for some cold diving!
But the muscle of the scallop is sooo delicious - particularly when you shuck and eat it (yes, raw) with the ocean water still dripping off your wetsuit!
 
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I work for a organization that supports First Nations and Inuit in Canada.  We had a cultural awareness even about ten years focusing on Inuit.  For lunch we were served artic char, raw seal and caribou.  I liked the char but the seal tasted very fishy and the caribou like lichen (not that I would know what lichen tastes like!).

The first farm raised pig I butcherd I ate the testicles -- not bad but chewy, and the lungs well I tried the lungs but dog got to finish them.
 
Maieshe Ljin
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Cris Fellows wrote:

My husband was tricked into eating- " Indian turnip", not sure if that is what it is actually called,  but it had a delay then turned his mouth into a blast furnace.

Weeds I enjoy: chickweed,  yarrow,  nettle,  lamb's quarters.

Growing a huge patch but have yet to try Japanese vegetable Fuki. (Pictured behind the tripod trellis frames)



Indian Turnip is probably Arisaema, or Jack in the Pulpit. Although I haven’t tried them quite yet, I have some drying and will probably at some point. According to hearsay they shouldn’t taste that way if they are prepared correctly.

I love chickweed too! So much so that I happily let them take over the garden. You can tell what kind of a gardener I am…

I’m interested to hear about Fuki. What inspired you to grow them and how has the process been? Are you waiting for them to mature like rhubarb? There are some scattered but impressive of European butterbur growing by our river in the gravel bars and stream banks (biggest leaves I had ever seen!) and I’m considering trying to prepare them in the same way. It sounds as if they shouldn’t be significantly less edible.
 
Cris Fellows
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Maieshe Ljin wrote:

Cris Fellows wrote:

My husband was tricked into eating- " Indian turnip", not sure if that is what it is actually called,  but it had a delay then turned his mouth into a blast furnace.

Weeds I enjoy: chickweed,  yarrow,  nettle,  lamb's quarters.

Growing a huge patch but have yet to try Japanese vegetable Fuki. (Pictured behind the tripod trellis frames)



I’m interested to hear about Fuki. What inspired you to grow them and how has the process been? Are you waiting for them to mature like rhubarb? There are some scattered but impressive of European butterbur growing by our river in the gravel bars and stream banks (biggest leaves I had ever seen!) and I’m considering trying to prepare them in the same way. It sounds as if they shouldn’t be significantly less edible.



I was trying out several perennial vegetables.   All of the other (I don't even recall what I planted) rooted cuttings/ seedlings that I put in that fall dematerialised.  I planted one Fuki.  It has taken over the little plot under the black locust.   It is beautiful.   Related to coltsfoot, it looks just like the fall coltsfoot leaf, but the flower is alien looking in the spring and nothing like coltsfoot.  The difference in the leaves is Fuki is HUGE!  I haven't tried it because the few recipes I found involve fussy double cooking.  I want to try this year.   Regardless,  between Fuki and Jerusalem artichoke,  my apocalypse garden is full.
 
Maieshe Ljin
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Cris Fellows wrote:

I was trying out several perennial vegetables.   All of the other (I don't even recall what I planted) rooted cuttings/ seedlings that I put in that fall dematerialised.  I planted one Fuki.  It has taken over the little plot under the black locust.   It is beautiful.   Related to coltsfoot, it looks just like the fall coltsfoot leaf, but the flower is alien looking in the spring and nothing like coltsfoot.  The difference in the leaves is Fuki is HUGE!  I haven't tried it because the few recipes I found involve fussy double cooking.  I want to try this year.   Regardless,  between Fuki and Jerusalem artichoke,  my apocalypse garden is full.



I’m amazed—that came from just one root! It reminds me of how quickly pokeweed will grow from seed—if only I figure out how to detoxify them and not turn them to mush…
 
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Randy Butler wrote:Years back, my Dad and I used to dive for scallops.
In our neck of the woods, you can only harvest between November and April.
That makes for some cold diving!
But the muscle of the scallop is sooo delicious - particularly when you shuck and eat it (yes, raw) with the ocean water still dripping off your wetsuit!



A friend was going through dive training and the group would bring up fresh scallops. ( this was off the shore of Newfoundland) She said they would clack their shells and scoot along the deck. She didn't eat any because she said she really could not get her head around eating something that was actively trying to get away!

My family was always into food so we would try lots of different things, especially when we travelled. I kept on with it and could always find something new whenever I was in the mood for adventure during the years I lived in Toronto.
Pretty much, if it is seafood, I've tried it, except jellyfish. Meats: caribou, moose, rabbit, seal, snake, alligator, emu, ostrich, bison, quail, ptarmigan, grouse. The fruit and veggies are too long to list since there were so many different cultural enclaves that I could go to and buy things I've never seen before to try. I don't remember them all but I did develop a taste for Asian pears, mangos, pomegranates and fresh water chestnuts long before they were common in the regular grocery stores. ( part of why I was growing my own Asian pears was because I figured out that the ones I loved were the Chojuro, which I can never find to buy anymore)

Funnily enough, the thing that has been throwing the most people lately is that I've tried, and am encouraging people to eat hostas! ( nice fried and a great way to stretch a small supply of asparagus)
 
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Paw Paw tastes amazing, for those who were wondering!  I have young trees which have not produced fruit yet, but I picked one from a woodsy area in Indiana, tore it in half and shared it with my sweetie while hiking.  Kind of banana custard-y flavor and texture.

I'm not adventurous (at all) with animal products, but late last fall I picked some Hardy Kiwi off my newish vines for the first time, and they were WAY better than I expected them to be.  Like a super-juicy kiwi-flavored grape, edible skin and all.
 
pollinator
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Rocky mountain oysters--bull's balls.  Battered, deep-fried, and served with ranch dressing.  They were okay.
Ostrich burger, alligator, tripe.  Ostrich burger and alligator good; tripe I'm not a huge fan, but it's a traditional food in my husband's family so I partake.
Salmon eggs from a fresh caught salmon that I had just reeled in.  I was fishing in Alaska and insisted on learning how to clean and dress out what I caught.  Probably one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten and definitely the freshest.  I know there's more; I'll post again if I remember.
 
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Banana flowers chopped, sautéed & made into a curry in Sri Lanka. Delicious!
As a kid we would have homemade blood sausage.
 
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what makes a food unusual? I'll go by how often I have run across it or eaten it, with a little bit of whether I've seen others eat it.
pawpaw is good. seldom seen here. only had jaboticaba once. rather fond of fuchsia berries. only found saskatoons once, so for me that's unusual. very nice.

I make marmalade out of bergamot oranges, that's fairly unusual. I've tried to grow them but failed.

snails are good  when well seasoned but not terribly unusual in restaurants. I probably wouldn't order them again, and preparing them to cook is too tedious. fresh raw mussels on the beach are good. have eaten crickets (stuck in my throat) and grasshoppers.
i remember sweetbreads being good many years ago, but they're another thing i probably won't eat again. I had iguana once. It was served to me as "chicken", but my (male) friend was served out of the same pot and was told it was iguana. Plus I didn't recognize the part I got, didn't look like chicken to me. I cooked beef kidney once and it came out terrible. Chichen feet are wonderful but you get too many in one order, so you have to have a companion who is willing to share.

I've only found sugar kelp, laminaria saccharina, once. that makes it unusual. yummy!
The rest of the seaweeds I forage are common to find and common to eat.

I've only eaten natto once. so it's unusual for me but not for the world.

I just found out cow parsnip greens are edible, so they're unusual so far. Immature pine cones are an unusual treat given how common they are. Bracken fiddleheads aren't unusual to find, but they are to eat, as you can't eat much. Alexanders if pretty unusual here in western north america.

bitter lactarius mushrooms are common to find but unusual to eat, take a lot of processing. many mushrooms i have only found and eaten once so that makes them unusual despite others eating them.

cattail flowers are another thing i've only had once and have wanted to eat again ever since.

 
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I accidentally ate horse once. I was living in Budapest and running low on money before my next paycheck. I bought the cheapest meat at the deli, some bologna. I brought it home, and made myself a sandwich. It was terrible, so I fished the little bit of wrapper that had come with it out of the trash. That's when I saw the word for horse. I didn't finish the sandwich.

Also while living in Hungary, my now wife and I were invited to a pig slaughter. We helped make the sausage (we were put in charge of cleaning the intestines for casing). Afterwards, we were given some of the sausage to bring home. They gave us a small bit of the coveted kolbasz,  a bit of blood sausage, and a whole lot of the sausage made from organ meat and rice. The kolbasz was amazing. The blood sausage was edible. But when we cooked up the organ meat sausage, we realized why they'd given us so much of it (almost thirty years later I get queasy just thinking about the taste).

In rural Romania, I was served raw bacon. It was okay but hard to chew. I was with my brother and my sister-in-law, who covertly put all of theirs on my plate. I didn't want to insult our host, so I forced it all down. Our host also served us sour milk with sugar (he was very proud to have sugar). It was reminiscent of yoghurt, but I think it was literally just sour milk. Because it was most likely raw milk, it was probably fine--none of us got sick from it at least.
 
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Chou doufu (translated= stinky tofu)
Maybe it doesn't count because it never made it to my stomach. Friends in Taiwan gave it to me to try knowing I wouldn't be able to swallow it. I tried, seriously I tried. It just kept returning to my mouth. I was trying to be discreet that I was struggling but they all burst out laughing, handed me a napkin and told me to just spit it out.

It's fermented tofu which doesn't sound extreme but... For example, there are carts that are pushed around and the seller yells, "Chou Doufu!!!" You can smell it before you see the cart or hear the seller.
 
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Traveling for work provided a number of interesting culinary experiences, especially when with my manager. He would try anything, which encouraged the local team to try even harder to find something he would not eat. Don't play that game in Asia

On my first trip to China, a large group of us sat down in a private room at a restaurant. A dish with a large dome of foil on it (looked like Jiffy Pop popcorn) turned out to be deep-fried shrimp on sticks. They were maybe 3/4" in diameter, 6" long in the shell with their eyes looking up at me. Being new to this, I asked my manager about the proper way to eat it. He said, you just eat it... all of it. One of the customers had just gnawed the head off one, so I went for it. Very crunchy. After getting through the first one, I noticed the local guys on our sales team had removed the head and were peeling them.

Then there was the time when I managed to get not one, but two giant gelatinous bits the size of my index finger dipped into a bowl of soup. Pretty sure they were beef tendons cooked until soft but that's only a guess. Based on the texture, I always worked hard to avoid them after that experience.

Someone else mentioned stinky tofu. Yep, I tried it deep fried. It stinks. Unfortunately, when asked if I liked it, I said it was OK, so the whole plate jumped off the lazy susan right in front of me. A little goes a long way and I had enough for a couple of lifetimes that evening.

The camel hoof soup was so spicy hot that I only got a bit of the broth down before giving up. Watching the ladies dance with the 12' long anacondas later wrapped up a memorable evening. I know what you're thinking - same as I was thinking when they said "let's go downstairs and watch the dancers." It wasn't at all what I expected - the only visible skin was faces and hands. Seeing them dance among the audience and wrap the snakes around the other patrons encouraged me to stay waaaayyyy back.

Speaking of snakes, deep fried rattlesnake is OK if a bit greasy. It was fried, how could it be bad? The deep-fried shark we butchered on the tablesaw in the Caymans was good. I can also recommend deep fried ice cream sandwiches dipped in sopaipilla batter.

One item I've always wondered about was a long slender silver-gray thing I ate in China. It was about 1/8" in diameter and 3" long. It looked interesting so I tried one. Initially I thought it must be a vegetable but when I bit down, the crunchiness made me think of bones. Maybe some kind of seafood? They never told me what is was. The julienned jellyfish was like crunchy rice noodles - translucent and tasteless but good with a sauce on it.

When eating Peking duck, evidently the puffed up skin is the delicacy. I preferred the meat which was very good when eaten with sauce on little pancakes. While on the topic of poultry, a common Chinese dish is chunk chicken in clay pots. They cut up a chicken into 2" squares and stuff it into small clay pots about 3" across. Skin, meat and bones all together. It's boiled and then served cold. It's very challenging to eat (especially with an overbite) since you can't remove the bones with chopsticks - you just have to chew around the bones as best as you can then spit them out. If you are at a Chinese truck stop they put Plexiglas on the tables so you can spit the bones out anywhere that is convenient.

Chipped reindeer in a cream sauce with juniper berries is very tasty.

A neighbor gave us some canned bear meat which was great in beef stroganoff. Another neighbor gave us some grouse which was excellent in a mushroom cream sauce.

One of my favorite items was kangaroo tenderloin at the Three Crowns pub in England. The taste of the wild platter included venison, ostrich and kangaroo. Another favorite item was sushi in Japan.

Going out to eat with a group of coworkers in a foreign country definitely broadened my horizons. I never would have dreamed of ordering, much less eating a lot of the items I tried had I been on my own. It was definitely a blessing to experience all the different foods and cultures. If you get a chance to eat something unusual, go for it!
 
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Hubby and I made bread out of acorns.  It was ....dense.
Bear sausage at a retirement party in Louisiana was fabulous.
I ate a blue mushroom my co-worker said was edible.  It was gross.
I was served dog in the island nation of Pohnpei.
And growing up in the Marshall Islands we ate breadfruit.  That's yummy!
Had some good heart & tongue hash in Bemidji Minn.
Swallowed the innards of a sea turtle egg raw on the beach.  Dad did it, my brother refused, I was about 7 and of course had to do whatever my brother chickened out on doing.  Can't remember the taste.  
Ate caviar about age 11.   Thought it tasted like crude oil smells.
And ate lamb that was cooked in the sand in a desert Wadi in Jordan.  That was FABULOUS.
 
Susan Mené
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Ellen Lewis wrote:what makes a food unusual? I'll go by how often I have run across it or eaten it, with a little bit of whether I've seen others eat it.



That's my mindset about the topic.  What's strange to one person/place/culture is ubiquitous to another.  And the food  tell a story of a culture, a household, even the food of any given individual.

So interesting.







 
Susan Mené
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Shannon Mapes wrote:Hubby and I made bread out of acorns.  It was ....dense.

Agreed! My brother made acorn bread when we were in our teens and it was dense-that was the first word that came to mind when I ate it.  
I would love to forage acorns and black walnuts and give a try at reducing their bitterness, and then using them in different recipes.  Unfortunately I developed an allergy to all tree nuts about a decade ago.

 
Maieshe Ljin
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Susan Mené wrote:

Agreed! My brother made acorn bread when we were in our teens and it was dense-that was the first word that came to mind when I ate it.  
I would love to forage acorns and black walnuts and give a try at reducing their bitterness, and then using them in different recipes.  Unfortunately I developed an allergy to all tree nuts about a decade ago.



I also have varying allergies to almost all nuts—except for acorns, which are fine. So unless you have specifically reacted to them, there is an untested possibility that acorns are safe. I found out via the skin prick test, then trying small amounts and increasing.

But yes, there are so many butternuts and hickories around that I wish I could eat from. There are still jewelweed seeds though…
 
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What is unusual is definitely dependent on your culture and location (Haggis anyone ?)

I like to experiment with perennial vegetables, which although I am amongst fellow travellers here, could be considered pretty unusual. So far (not counting asparagus and globe artichoke as they are mainstream!):
Good King Henry: grows really well for me. A little bitter, but my husband will eat it again.
Solomon's seal: grows well, still need to get rid of the bitter that overwhelms the 'pea' flavour
Erythronium: yummy, roots like a oniony potatoe
Mashua: a bit spicy, makes good chutney!
Yacon: A good substitute for fruit, but really wants slightly warmer weather. It survives outside, but only crops in the polytunnel.
Sharks' fin melon: nice noodles, which store and freeze well. I wasn't keen on the green bits, but will try them again. Wants it warmer,so I haven't managed to overwinter one yet.

I'm hoping my Kalopanax will be big enough for me to break a shoot off this year. It is only a baby, but I saw one locally this week that was 20 feet plus! So if I like it- that could be a useful crop in future. Also my Udo should be big enough, and I need to get the timing right for my Hosta.
I tried bracken fronds last year, but boiled hem so many times they were tasteless! I want to try extracting the starch this year ("please can I dig up some of your bracken?" ).

Historic foods that we now forage are also of interest - so silverweed and pignut (conopodium majus) in particular, are pretty useful here. I made a whole meal from foraged ingredients last year.
 
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Looks like for some people here organ meats including brain and thyme gland, headcheese, boiled calf head etc. are kind of exotic. Here in Bavaria they are still fairly easy to get.

From my understanding it is also more difficult in the US to eat raw meat, not only beef tartare or Carpaccio but especially pork. Minced pork with onions and spices is quite popular here (pigs and wild boars are monitored very closely in Germany and there are no cases of trichinosis).

There are few things that I would consider unusual. We have such an international community in Munich and turkish, chinese, african food stores that you get almost everything you can imagine.
I have eaten natto and all  kinds of fermented stuff, but have never eaten a typical northern German "Grünkohl mit Pinkel", a dish made with kale and some kind of sausage.

To Germans, fruits like medlar and sea buckthorn are not exotic, I have also often nibbled on beechnuts, but I have also eaten kiwano which you don't get in normal supermarkets (I grew them myself) and cherimoya/custard apple and guavas when i lived in the tropics which you can't buy here.

My chinese sister-in-law also grows and cooks with vegetables that are rather unknown here like water spinach, bitter gourd, some varieties of cucurbita and chayote.

I love seafood and have eaten it since I was a toddler (clams, crabs, sardines eaten whole, spider crabs, caviar, octopus etc.) but nowadays with the knowledge of how devastating the fishing and farming of these is I almost never eat fish or seafood anymore.

In our home we try out lots of "exotic" recipes and although my kids do have some personal preferences they are quite open to trying new stuff. There are some "potato Germans" who are very traditional that would not eat things like olives, capers, mussels, mushrooms and similar. They have a hard time when travelling!
 
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