Tucking in on your travels: Delicacies from around the world
Tucking in on your travels: Delicacies from around the world by Dominique Suriano
Whether you’re exploring the cobblestone streets in sun-soaked Greece, or scuba diving off the shores of tranquil Malaysia, travelling sure does work up an appetite. There’s nothing better than sinking your teeth into the flavours of another world, and cosying up with a curry or biting down on some spicy skewers. But how about some slimy fermented squid guts, or crunchy green ants? If you’re feeling extra adventurous, here are some strange delicacies from around the globe to add to your list of creative cuisine to try.
Crispy crickets in Thailand
Deep-fried crickets and other insects are an incredibly popular protein source in Northern Thailand. It’s said that the least gooey critter is the grasshopper, which is mainly served in areas of Phuket, and often soaked in sweet soy sauce with lots (and lots) of salt. You can also try silk worms in kaffir leaves, or chewy skewer scorpions (the stingers are removed beforehand, which makes it a little better, right?)
Squidgy snails in France
A notorious foreign fancy, ‘escargot’ come prepared in a tasty garlic and parsley butter sauce, which definitely drowns out the slime factor. Snails are actually eaten in several European countries, and there are rumours that Mediterranean hunter-gatherer cultures were chomping on snails long before the beginning of agriculture. Think similar to an oyster, but with an earthier taste.
Hunky haggis in Scotland
The national dish of Scotland, haggis is a type of pudding which includes a mixture of beef, oatmeal, onion, pepper…oh, and don’t forget the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep. If that doesn’t sound too outlandish for you, once the ingredients are mashed together, it’s placed into a sheep’s stomach casing and boiled. Haggis has caused some controversy globally, and has even been banned from importation into The United States! Talk about a hefty meal.
Slightly spicy shiokara in Japan
Shiokara is the name given to fermented seafood, which is often eaten as an appetiser in traditional Japan. Though it has a sticky texture and unique odour, shiokara is known for its high levels of protein, vitamins and minerals which are essential for a healthy diet. If you’re not sure whether you’re about to eat shiokara, it looks a lot like swirly squid legs swimming in a pool of thick, red sauce. A culinary sensation for seafood lovers!
Garnishing green ants in Australia
Outside of our famous snags and fairy bread winning party combos, there lies a niche market for icky insects we usually squish under our thongs in disgust. Past indigenous sentiment saw green ants used as a remedy for the common cold, however since then we’ve taken it from the medicine jar to our dinner plates, often to add some extra flavour to cheeses or salads. Some people even sprinkle it on top of cocktails as a garnish! Fortunately, in most areas the ants are ethically sourced through traditional landowners.
Weighty warthog in East Africa
A bit more ‘hunk of meat’ rather than ‘hakuna matata’, warthog is described as a tastier version of pork. It can be found in the majority of restaurants and game lodges across Namibia and Tanzania, and comes with a side of traditional oshifima (maize porridge). Before you get too cosy with the idea of trying warthog meat, it’s important to know that the most sought-after cut is the pigs rear-end. Time to get up close and personal.
Juicy jellied moose nose in Canada
Unlike warthog bottom, jellied moose nose cannot be found in restaurants and is extremely rare in the greater Northwest. In general, moose meat is eaten in steak or sausage form across Alaska and Canada, but in the past, moose nose was preserved by primitive hunters to feed their family as it contains both white and dark meat. In some households, it can be found simmering with onions, garlic and cloves over the stove top or doused in broth to add flavour to soups.