Adventures in Eating

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When we travel we tend to give ourselves license to try new things. Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, Hiking Canada’s West Coast Trail or taking a Tango class in Buenos Aires are all classic travel adventures that ask us to muster up a bit of nerve. But what about adventures of the stomach?

Being a curious traveler often means convincing yourself to eat things you wouldn’t normally eat. Vegetarians occasionally find themselves eating meat when no healthy non-meat alternatives exist. And dedicated carnivores have been known to “go veg” when traveling in countries like India, to help ward off the dreaded Delhi Belly. And then there are some of us who will eat weird and wacky things just to say we did.

In honour of those adventurous eaters among us, here is a sampling of a few of the more unusual and palate-challenging delicacies from around the world. (For images, click on the small photo in the top right corner):

Fried and Roasted Insects: It’s easy to find vendors selling fried grasshoppers along Ko Sahn Road in Bangkok, Thailand. I’ve heard they taste like popcorn!

Deep Fried Tarantulas: This Cambodian snack food takes the hairy and poisonous arachnid to a whole new level of terrifying.

Cod Cheeks and Tongues: Just what they sound like, this is a traditional fish meal (using less than traditional parts of the fish) from Newfoundland, Canada. The cheeks are actually quite tasty when battered and deep fried (but then again, what isn’t?)

Cuy Chactado (a.k.a. Roasted Guinea Pig): A Peruvian dish, this flattened rodent makes a mockery of the fondness you had for your childhood pet, and can be found all around Cusco for those getting ready to set off on the Inca Trail.

Witchety Grubs: One of the most well known types of Australian bush tucker, this fat, white grub is the most important insect food of the desert. They are eaten raw or rolled in ashes and apparently taste a bit like almonds.

Rocky Mountain Oysters: Despite living in Canada, I’ve never had the good fortune to come across these regional “delicacies”. Without getting into too much detail about how these are prepared, the “oysters” are actually bull testicles, seasoned and deep-fried.

Balut: JB, a ToursByLocals guide in Manila, provided a photo of what has got to be one of the biggest challenges out there for a Western stomach: a duck egg that is fertilized and left to grow for several days before it is boiled and served in the shell. The duck embryo is easily recognizable as a baby bird.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten on your travels? Share with us on our Facebook Page!
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