Saturday, November 05, 2005

Weird thing's I've eaten so far

What is weird or unusual varies greatly from one culture to the other. What would be considered a very ordinary food item in one place might be considered a delicacy in another place or even a taboo. The place pork occupies in Western and Far-Eastern cuisine as oppose to its proscribed status for practicing Jews and Muslims exemplify this very well.

Now, at the risk of disgusting some and irritating others, here’s a list of what one would consider unusual food items I have tried (note, some of these items are now quite common on my plate while others will never touch my lips again):

Fruits and Vegetables:

First of all, every time I see a new vegetable or fruit I would buy it and try it at home. It would be hard to mention every fruits and vegetables I’ve tried but here are some of them:

- Durian
- Water lilies (yep, the slimy stuff too)
- Wheat grass
- Chirimoya
- Dandelions (flowers, buds and leaves)
- Different kind of seaweeds, fresh and dried (including dulse)
- Different edible flowers
- Sea asparagus
- Cedar leaves (infusion and jelly)
- Fiddleheads (fresh and dried)
- Lotus roots and lotus seeds


Being an avid mushroom hunter and eater, I’ve tried quite a few mushrooms. The weirdest I’ve tried is called the jelly tooth (pseudohydnum gelatinosum) which is a relatively bland gelatinous mushroom which grows on well decayed wood. As if this mushroom wasn’t weird enough, I cooked them in tea flavoured simple syrup and served them over ice-cream. I’ve also tried most of the cultivated varieties available in North America and:

- Lobster mushroom
- Abortive Entoloma
- Chicken Mushroom
- Comb tooth
- Sweet tooth (hedgehog)
- Puffballs
- Morels
- Fairy ring mushroom
- Many kinds of chanterelles (black trumpets, golden chanterelles, tube chanterelle, yellow-footed chanterelle, grayling…)
- Many kinds of bolet, including some very slimy ones from the suilus family
- Common Lacaria
- Shaggy mane
- Blewit
- Orange milkies
- Gypsy
- Matsutake

Meat, seafood and other animal products

- Crocodile
- Snake skin
- Frogs (not only the legs)
- Jelly fish
- Sea urchin
- Squid and octopus
- Snail (escargot)
- Scorpion (tastes like shrimp)
- Crickets
- Silk worms’ cocoons
- Cicadas
- Horse meat
- Guinea pig (as in big hamster)
- Dog’s meat (yep, even that!)
- Bear
- Moose
- Deer
- Rabbit
- Tons of different game birds
- Ostrich and Emu
- Many different kinds of fishes (including small non-gutted dried and fresh fishes, sharks, carp, eel...)
- Goat
- Spam
- Testies (mutton, pork and beef)
- Chicken and duck feet
- Tripes
- Tendons (stewed for hours)
- Blood (blood pudding, jellied blood and boudin noir)
- Brain (veal and pig)
- Sweet bread (veal)
- Bone marrow (veal, pork and beef)
- Heart (beef)
- Kidneys (pork, veal and beef)
- Pig foot


- All kind of stinky cheeses
- Stinky tofu
- Fish food
- Tofu ‘skin’
- Chicha
- Poutine
- Kvass
- Chinese thousand years egg
- 'Oreilles de christ' (fried pork rind)
- Natto (fermented stinky soy beans)
- Vegemite

I probably miss a lot of things here... I'm sorry if you found it disgusting at times (I actually hope you found it appetizing too).

A last note: I never ate voluntarily any animal in danger or disparition; that is plainly wrong! On the other hand, I do not want my life to be directed by other people's taboos and like to keep an open mind when faced with the unknown. I feel I am lucky to have had the chance to try all of these things.


MagicTofu said...

In the veggie section, I should add the delicious bitter melon!

fufu said...

You forgot testicles. Animals', of course.

MagicTofu said...

No I didn't... its written! Don't you think that dish delicious?

To our dear readers, Fufu and I had this dish in Beijing, it was cooked at the table on hot stones so we were appreciated the aroma and the show. And by the way, Beijing is a dream city to any food lover... If you plan to go there, it is worth to spend some time, energy and money looking and eating at some of its best restaurants... and don't forget the smaller ones too.