The odd things we eat

November 22, 2014

I'm a chef and I´m not always excited to try new foods.

 

There. I said it.

 

I just couldn´t manage the fried tarantulas in Cambodia, or grasshoppers in Thailand. I tried to talk myself into crunching through their crispy little bodies, but there´s something about creatures that crawl that make me cringe.

 

Would it have improved my abilities as a chef? Added a new dimension of flavour to my taste palate? Inspired a new dish?

 

Salty crisp tarantula legs accompanied with a dipping sauce of your choice

 

Perhaps not.

 

Although there are times when you get into the spirit of backpacking and you try not to thing too much about the weird food that come with the territory.

 

 

 

Silkworm poo tea in Luang Prabang, Laos.

 

 

After a gruelling 4 hours of hand weaving my own silk I was rewarded with just 30cm square of cloth (which I was rather proud of until my  teacher pointed out my errors and had a good loud laugh about it) I needed to relax and poo tea was calling my name.

 

I know very little about the process of collecting the poo from silkworms - the internet was not very helpful for the first time ever. Maybe it´s a way to get rid of the by-product of making silk and turning it into a little extra revenue. It didn´t make me sick so I guess all´s well.

 

(what you´re all wondering - it just tastes like herbal tea)

 

Keeping with the theme of hot drinks (and poo) the best coffee I ever drank:

 

 

Weasel poo coffee on a coffee farm in Da Lat, Vietnam.

 

 

They feed the coffee beans to the weasels, who in turn shit them out and then they´re washed (the beans that is, not the weasels), they're roasted, ground, and served.

 

Due to a lack of milk, coffee in South East Asia is usually drunk with a generous dose of condensed milk; syrupy and sweet. On occasion I was given a straw to drink it with, (what?).

 

 

 

In Ecuador I ate guinea pig (cuy) for lunch.

 

 

Cute and fluffy with fur, but remove it and it´s a giant rat. There´s very little meat on the bones and it´s like gnawing into the greasiest leg of chicken in your life.

 

The best part is that it´s served whole - so you get to stare the poor little bugger in the face while you nibble on its claws. Funny this actually made it on to my list of top things to do in South America

 

I´ve had the pleasure of eating alpaca chops every now and then while in South America, they´re actually something I could eat on a regular basis. Like a fattier version of venison.

 

 

Cactus ice-cream at Colca Canyon, Peru

 

 

Keeping up the stereotypical South American imagery I bought cactus flavoured ice-cream in Peru, ate half of it, then threw it out because the prickles kept catching in my throat (I don´t know what I expected).

 

 

Honourable Mentions:

Aside from these I've had a few more uncommon meals such as crocodile and kangaroo burgers in Australia, Emu and Goat in New Zealand (I have not yet tried huhu grubs - for shame!) and lamb´s brains in culinary class of which i ate the tiniest slither of brain - deemed it too brainy and gave it to the Chinese students who were all to happy to finish it off along with everyone else's. The taste and texture was exactly like you would expect a brain to be like.

 

Have you eaten anything unusual?

 

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The Travel Natural

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Hey, I'm Emma

Fuelled by wanderlust, curiosity and a little restlessness, a natural at budget travel, so naturally, a travel blogger. An experienced chef, a proud kiwi, and a burgeoning photographer. And my old friends reading and writing? We go way back.

All content is copyright of The Travel Natural and cannot be used, reproduced or manipulated without my express consent.

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Napier, Lake Waikeremoana, Wellington - NZ

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