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Traveling to a new destination is about learning more about the culture, by getting to know the locals. And you will mix best with them, by trying to eat what they eat. Unusual and different, trying these local drinks and dishes border with ‘extreme dining’ to many of us. Sure, we all get excited by trying something new and little bizarre, but read on and you tell us where you draw a line.
A nest of twigs and leaves wouldn’t be edible, but the Swift’s nests, made of saliva are called ‘Caviar of the East‘. And even more, a kilo of the rubbery texture can cost between $2,000 and $10,000, making it one of the most expensive animal products, consumed by humans, with Hong Kong and the US being the two largest importers of birds’ nests.
Tarantulas are not eensy weensy house spiders, they are eight legged monsters you can buy everywhere on the streets of Skuon, Cambodia. And the black, hairy arachnids are fried whole – legs, fangs and all, cooked with a little bit of garlic and salt, crispy on the outside with a gooey body on the inside.
The deadly Puffer fish, also called fugu, is an ultimate delicacy in Japan. This dangerous fish can be prepared only only by expert chefs in licensed restaurant, because its skin and insides contain the poisonous toxin todrotoxin, which is 1,250 times stronger than cyanide, and there’s no known antidote.
Almost as popular to the Philippine people, as hot dog to the American, the balut is in its essence a chicken fetus. They are cooked when the fetus is anywhere from 17 days to 21 days depending on your preference, although when the egg is older the fetus begins to have a beak, claws, bones and feathers.
This Sardinian ‘rotten cheese’ is a very different type of Pecorino – riddled with the larvae of the cheese fly. The cheese has to be eaten when the maggots are still alive because when they are dead it is considered to be toxic, and s the larvae can jump if they are disturbed, diners have to shield their eyes or place the cheese in a sealed paper bag until the maggots are starved of oxygen and die. It’s now banned for health reasons but can still be available on the black market in Sardinia and Italy.
Surstomming in its essence is fermented Baltic herring, that can be found on supermarket shelves all over the country. The herring is fermented in barrels for one to two months before it is tinned, where the fermentation continues for another few months. Very often the cans often bulge during shipping, or even storage, because of the continued fermentation process and you can imagine the strong odor of fermented fish. No wonder certain certain airlines have banned these local treat from being taken on flights.
Called also Sannakji, it is a raw dish consisting of octopus pieces, chopped while the creature still alive, lightly drizzled with sesame oil and served immediately whilst the tentacles can still be seen squirming on the plate and wriggling around in your mouth.
And if you dare to try any of the above, then go ahead and wash them with one of these potions.
Baby Mouse Wine from China is rice wine in a bottle full of, well..baby mice. It is a traditional Chinese andKorean “health tonic,” a cure for everything from cold to liver problems. Preparation is very simple – little mice are stuffed alive into a bottle of rice wine, where they are left to ferment.
Seagull Wine from the Eskimo people, is another simple booze recipe: Put a seagull in a bottle. Fill with water. Let it ferment in the sun. Enjoy.
Snake Wine from Vietnam a drink with a difference. Yet, another rice wine, but with a different note. The snakeis left in the rice wine for many months to let the poison dissolve in the wine. The ethanol makes the venom inactive so it is not dangerous, and snake wine supposedly has many health benefits.