3 More Weird Foods For You To Try (That You Could Totally Make Yourself)

So, I just realized it’s been a while since I talked about food here. And that’s a shame because I REALLY do enjoy preparing, cooking, and trying new meals.

For this installment, I wanted to focus on delicacies that we common folk could prepare ourselves. So let’s dive into gastronomic adventure with…

A-Ping

You’ve heard of fried green tomatoes, but have you ever seen fried hairy spiders?
Source: The Telegraph

We Americans may balk at the idea of eating anything that resembles a bug (though many of us are totally cool with crabs and lobsters for some reason), but in Cambodia, fried tarantulas or A-Ping are the dish that saved the people.

During the reign of Pol Pot, many people were forced into hard labor and starved to death. These hairy buggers then quickly became a primary food source as they were plentiful, easy to harvest (just jam a stick into their nest and pull them out when they bite onto it), and super healthy; having more protein than a 6oz steak. Frying them with sugar, salt and garlic also give them the flavor of marinated fried chicken.

What’s more, they’re cheap. At only a few cents a spider, A-Ping is a major part of the Cambodian economy that almost anyone can grab at a street vendor and families often make a good business selling it.

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Don’t be fooled, friend; that ain’t fried chicken.
Source: The Telegraph

The wise reader will note that The Rocky Mountains are nowhere near the ocean and, therefore, cannot produce oysters. So, what are Rocky Mountain Oysters if not oysters? Well, their alternative name – Montana Tendergroin – may give it away.

That’s right; they’re fried bull testicles.

Like most non-traditional cuts of meat, Rocky Mountain Oysters came out of necessity. After castrating a bull to prevent unauthorized breeding that can lead to injured cattle, what are you supposed to do with his berries? Throwing them away would be wasteful, so why not eat them?

If you’ve ever had a chicken fried steak, these are very similar. Really, they’re no different from any other cut of beef. Once you get over where the meat came from, you may find you enjoy having balls in your mouth (enjoy that one, folks – I don’t get a chance to make raunchy jokes like this often).

Mamajuana

And now, a selection of liquor to complement our strange meal.
Source: Sunrise Villa

And to close out our buffet of the bizarre, let’s booze it up with some tree bark brew (that alliteration was more work than you think, by the way).

Mamajuana is a traditional tincture (that’s fancy-talk for herb-infused alcohol) from the Dominican Republic that contains rum, red wine, honey and a variety of herbs. What’s great is that you can steep this fine drink yourself and can buy the herbs pre-assembled so that they meet all FDA regulations. After that, it’s just a matter of choosing your favorite rum, red wine, and honey in your preferred amounts and let steep for a few days. Best of all, it’s common practice to reuse the herbs for months or even years. So you don’t need to keep buying a new starter kit when you’ve killed the batch. Hooray for exotic eating on a budget!

In addition to being touted as a powerful aphrodisiac, Mamajuana is also often used for fever, body aches, and fatigue. In fact, former Boston Red Sox pitcher and Dominican native Pedro Martinez attributes his teams 2004 World Series Championship victory to taking team building shots of the stuff. So, who knows? Maybe this little brew is just what you need to step up your game.

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3 Foreign Foods I Want To (and You Should) Try At Least once

If I were to settle down and choose a single topic for The Archive to cover, I think I’d want to be a Food Blogger. The only problem is that, without a larger corporation to back me financially, food shopping would become prohibitively expensive.

But I do love food. My parents taught me how to grill and bake at an early age, I enjoy trying new recipes, and eating out with a small group is one of the few social situations that feel comfortable in.

But my fondest food memories come from my college Cultural Anthropology class where our professor brought in foods from all around world for us to try. It was here that I learned that Fried Scorpion isn’t too bad, Vegemite is to be feared, and that Durian Candy is the best thing ever.

That class gave me an itch to find other foreign food stuffs to try that I’ve never been able to scratch due to lack of funds and/or means to produce them myself. So until then, I’ll just have to dream of the day when I can sample…

Chapulines

foodie-fest-mezcal-3-2-2014-2

Even bugs love taco night.
Source: operagirlcooks.com

Originating from Aztec-era Mexico, Chapulines are actually a common breed of Grasshopper that have been baked on a clay cooking slab. You may turn up your nose at the idea, but entomophagy (the human consumption of insects) is widely practiced around the world as the insect bio-mass dwarfs our own. That kinda makes us in the north-western part of the globe the weird ones.

The appeal of Chapulines comes from their ease of harvesting; anyone with a nearby alfalfa field and a net can catch them by the pound late in the day after they’ve exhausted themselves eating. What’s more, most insects are comparable to beef in terms of nutrition.

As stated above, I was surprised that Fried Scorpion was passable. With many people saying that Chapulines are savory and are a good complement to guacamole on tacos, I suspect that these little guys could be better.

Buzz Buttons

No, that’s not the name of a new feature on BuzzFeed.
Source: Amazon

Buzz Buttons or Szechuan Buttons are a fascinating little flower (they’d have to be to trick me into eating my veggies) whose appeal lies in it’s unique taste. When eaten, they cause a tingling, effervescent sensation in the mouth.

An addition to a strange sensation for adventurous foodies, Buzz Buttons also aid digestion by increasing saliva production. It’s also believed that they have anti-septic qualities that are great for cleansing the palate between courses.

Much more of a garnish than an actual food item, Buzz Buttons are still a curious challenge for the culinary thrill seeker.

And speaking of culinary thrill-seeking…

Miracle Berry

img_1798

This photo doesn’t convey the magic these little buggers contain.
Source: miraclefruitfarm.com

 

Out of all of the foods listed here, this is the one I absolutely must try once before my demise.

Miracle Berries are the fruit of the plant native to western Africa. There, the berries are used to make sour Palm Wine more palatable, but not by adding them to the liquor.

You see, Miracle Berries contain a unique glycoprotein called Miraculin that can temporarily alter taste by binding to receptors on the tongue and mouth. Long story short, it makes sour things taste sweet.

Imagine it; Grapefruit that doesn’t make you wince. Vinegar that tastes like white wine. You could finally stomach those good foods that are just too sour to handle.

One day, I’m going to get a ton of Miracle Berries and just have a tasting party just to mess with people.