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Strange food
I'm waiting for my wife to finish cooking octopus for our lunch. The thought of eating this really didn't appeal to me, but I tried it anyway. Now I love it.

That got me thinking. What is the strangest thing that you have eaten? Where was it and why did you try it?
asked in foods

hdtg answers:

I have eaten many things which may be considered to be strange by western standards. I have travelled extensively and am usually willing to try the local fare unless its something I have an ethical issue about. Also as a child my grandfather, an ex miltiary personage, who took us to visit many remote places, felt it important in doing so to teach us the basic skills of survival in whichever enviroment we were visiting.
He firmly believed that it was important to overcome the preconceptions about acceptable foods, as he was convinced that manylives are lost needlessly through disgust. So I think my first experience of such lessons involved self prepsred worm patties which resulted in much heaving and annoyance with my grandad.
All that said I think life ahs taught he was mostly right and more than one of his lessons has stood me in good stead:)

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Topaz2308 answers:

Have tried chocolate ants but only because someone tricked me into doing so and thought they weren't to bad but when I actually discovered what they were I was more than a little bit consumed by nausea.

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KentPDG answers:

I have been served a great variety of foods in my travels around the world, items not seen ordinarily on American (or British, I assume) tales.

Among the most unusual were two items served at several large dinners during my stay in the Buryiat Republic, in eastern Siberia. The dinner begins by bringing in a large platter bearing a cooked sheep head -- stripped of skin and wool, but otherwise intact. The Guest of Honor (i.e., me) is expected to choose a savory morsel of meat (eyes are permissible) and consume it while everyone else is watching. The GOH is then expected to pronounce it uncommonly good, after which the head is passed around for everyone to sample; and the meal begins.

During the dinner we are served a large plate of what appears to be fudge -- a roughly cubical dark brown mass. Again, everyone pauses in their eating and conversation while the aforesaid GOH cuts into the mass, and eats some. It is sheep's blood, cooked into a jelly but otherwise just as the sheep produced it. (In Russia, sheep are killed lying on their backs, so that all the blood will pool inside the carcass; the cooked blood is considered a high point of the banquet.)

Also unusual, not in the food but in the service, is fresh milk.

When a distinguished guest comes to town, two children are dressed in traditional native costumes, and they wait by the side of the road. The car bearing the guest stops, and the children recite a classic welcome in the native language (quite melodious). The girl holds a long sky-blue silk scarf draped across her hands, on which she holds a bowl of fresh milk. The guest then takes the milk, and drinks it to show he accepts the honor of the welcome. The other child then offers some fresh bread. Quite a lovely and moving ceremony.

Yet another food, which I would bet no one else in this group has tasted, is Oblipeka Wine. The Buryiats grow fields full of oblipeka bushes, which produce an orange berry. The oily juice has numerous medicinal and other benefits. The juice is also fermented into quite a delicious wine, which evidently has health benefits significantly greater than typical grape wines.

Supplement from 06/01/2008 07:27pm:

BTW, octopus is a common item of Japanese sashimi. My (Japanese) wife loves it; personally, I find it a bit bland and rubbery. I always have a few pangs of conscience eating it, because octopus, I understand, is the most intelligent creature in the ocean.

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wumpus answers:

Witchetty soup - made from real witchetty grubs.

Can't say I was particularly stuck on it.

The other odd one I tried was hedgehog flavoured crisps, although since everybody says hedgehog tastes like chicken, they could easily have been chicken crisps in a new wrapper at double the price.

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goatcompas answers:

I took an international marketing course while working on my MBA.

While having a formal dinner in Tokyo with some of our corporate hosts, one of the courses was a small cube of something that looked like tofu garnished with a piece of wilted asparagus. It had an interesting flavor and texture, sort of gelatinous and creamy, with a slightly fishy flavor.
The woman seated next to me spoke English well and had a small electronic translator, so I asked her what it was.
She said, "It's tofu, but made with..." and proceeded to spend the next ten or so minutes manically typing away at the translator to find the right word. Finally, she said, "Do you know what is Roe? Is like roe, only from the males."
My almost instantaneous reply was, "More Sake, please!"

Gilroy, California has a garlic festival every year, and the garlic ice cream is a big hit as well.

While in the Marine Corps, I tried Balut (once, it tastes worse than it sounds), which is a Philippine delicacy consisting of fermented duck eggs that are mature enough to have a distinguishable bill but not too feathery.

Some of my Mexican coworkers have shared some of their favorites with me, like barbecued chicken feet and toasted locusts.

The University of California, Davis department of Entymology has an open house every year that includes insect-based foods such as meal-worm quiche (sort of bacony), Steamed honey-bee larvae (think sweet baby shrimp) and deep-fried crickets (Think Cajun-spiced pumkin seeds with legs).

In Okinawa, they preserve a pit viper (called a Habu) in shoju, a single-distilled rice whiskey. It is supposed to increase virility. It tastes sort of like moldy ass with afterburn.

Don't forget Kopi Luwak coffee. Mmmmmm.... Poopy.

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