Eat a new food every type of day. It doesn't have to be exotic, it doesn't have to be bizarre, it just needs to be something you have not tried before. Try to eat dishes with basic ingredients you haven't sampled before, produce you've not even heard of, and cuisine from cultures you haven't experienced.
Simply sample a new food you've never tried before.

Why:

It's an odd trend in liberal society to consider restrictive diets englightened, willfully avoiding the cuisine of other cultures. As we grow up, our palette becomes more and more distilled, gradually eliminating all but a few things. In most developed countries, however, we are surrounded by the cuisine of other cultures. Experience the delicacies and fine cuisine of dozens of other countries is one of the simplest challenges you can tackle!

Bonus points!

Share with friends! One of the biggest joys of eating in every culture is sharing the experience. All new experiences should be bonding, but the act of stopping, sitting, and sharing a feast with friends, new and old, is a time honored tradition. Years from now, you may remember that awful meal you had thanks to this website, and laugh about it with friends forged in the experience.

While you're at it, keep up with the previous challenges. Can you meet new people pursuing new foods? Eat and shop at new places nearby? Have you kept up that new skill?

A Mild Word of Warning

Food allergies do exist. Luckily, MOST allergies are simply intolerances, and you aren't going to go into anaphylactic shock and die from trying a new thing. There are two exceptions:
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
If you're old enough to read this, you've probably already figured out if you are allergic to one of these two. If you are, you will probably die if you try eating them. Don't try eating them. This doesn't come as a surprise. For the rest of you, you may find some exotic foods don't settle well, but I think you'll be shocked to find most do.

SUPER BONUS POINTS!

Cook for me please. I'm so very, very hungry, and tragically bachelor-esque.

Resources:

allrecipes.com - Find out how to cook practically ANYTHING!
Exotic Meats and More! - For the culinary adventurers, order rare and exotic foodstuffs. This site seems to specialize in game meat, including kangaroo, rattlesnake, lion, alligator, and bear.
10 Most Exotic Fruits - Can you eat all of these? I bet your local supermarket has
every one. I plan on trying!
 

On to one of my favorite past-times-  seeking and eating out adventurous food.  I like to call this “oral skydiving”, because approached from the right perspective, trying new foods can be every bit the adrenaline-pumping rush of a death-defying jump into the stratosphere.  As an intro to June’s challenge, I wanted to give a list of insane foods I’ve already eaten, and a list of foods I’ve yet to eat but hope to this month.

Things I’ve eaten:

Miracle berries

This is a real term for a surprisingly real thing.  Chew on one of these berries for a few minutes, and your taste buds will actually alter-  suddenly your sweet receptors register a much wider range of stimulus as “sweet”.  I had some freeze dried berries, which you can order at ThinkGeek.com, and then spent one fateful evening devouring lemons, soy sauce, and pretty much any normally inedible foodstuff I could find.  I awoke to find my mouth covered in oral ulcers-  apparently the citric acid from all the lemons I had eaten was not exactly healthy.  C’est la vie!

 

Cobra blood

I saw Leonardo DiCaprio do it in “The Beach”, so I thought it would be a good idea.  It was by and large not a good idea.  I don’t know what I thought it would taste like-  perhaps butterscotch, with a hint of snake aftertaste.  You know what it tasted like?  Blood.

I drink cobra blood

Cobra gall bladder

With a lasting effect similar to what I’d imagine cocaine would have on a person, this was interesting.  Cut open and dribbled into rice wine, it set my blood on fire, giving me the energy to run around and babble incoherently for several hours.  Afterwards, I fell asleep quickly and easily, awaking 8 hours later completely refreshed.  Interesting note:  I discovered it to be the perfect cure for jet-lag.

Snake wine

Cobra WineMany cultures believe fermenting alcohol with the bodies of dead snakes gives it medicinal properties.  I believe it gives it an awful flavor.  My belief is correct.  Interesting note, it is, surprisingly, a somewhat potent aphrodisiac.  I’m not explaining any more.  You’ll just have to experience it for yourself.  Ladies, I still have some left.

Turtle

I have little to say about eating turtle.  The meat is pretty good in turtle soup, but the blood is weird and gelatinous.  The restaurant that served it to me tried to serve me a glass, but I’m not a turtle-blood-drinking weirdo.  I demanded they take it back and cook it with my rice.

Dog

I don’t want to talk about it.  I’ve heard in Korea it’s a solid dish, something one looks forward to eating.  Apparently I had it whilst unaware in an alley in Monkok, China.  There it is not culturally acceptable, and quite possibly not even legal.  It is sold to unwitting consumers, disguised as “real” meat.

Crazy Wrath-of-Khan bug (攋尿蝦)

The Pissing ShrimpAround the Kowloon peninsula, these were served everywhere.  Similar to lobsters, except with razor sharp carapaces and threatening praying mantis claws, these were interesting beasties.  The name translates to “The Pissing Shrimp”-  despite not being shrimp, these creatures urinate all over the place when frightened, so at least some of the name is accurate.  DO NOT EAT THESE IF YOU GET THE CHANCE IN AMERICA-  apparently the only time they appear of appreciable size is when they’ve been feeding off sewage and mutate.  Not a lie, click the link.

In America, we incorrectly refer to these as “mantis shrimp”, though they are neither shrimp nor mantis.

The order is “Stomatopoda”, so impress your friends and family by calling them stomatopods.

If you get a chance to eat them in Asia, I would recommend it.  Despite cutting my hand quite badly on the carapace, the meat contained within was like a slightly sweet, far more delicious lobster.

Sannakji (Live octopus)

Yep, eating live octopus is a thing.  It can be served either as small, whole live octopi, or large octopi, quartered but still moving.  Approached with a healthy respect and fear, eating this Korean delicacy is an experience not to be forgotten.  Approached with a cavalier approach, stories say it could be fatal.  The octopus, even when chopped up, fights for survival, sticking to your plate, teeth, lips, and cheeks.  Legend has it six Koreans die a year when a stray tentacle manages to seal off the airway.

Issuing this warning, I tackled this with a few friends.  We each grabbed a writhing bit of octopus, threw it in our mouths, and began to chew.  The texture did not change or break; the movement did not stop.  No one wanted to be the first to swallow, and I have never seen such a nervous dinner party.  I’m not sure who broke and swallowed first, but I’m pleased to say none of us died.

It was neither a good nor a bad dish.  So much adrenaline was pumping that I doubt any of us could even taste it.  Here’s a clip of some person I don’t know eating Sannakji cut a little more finely that ours.

Korean Sea Penis

Another wonderful creature with no english name.  Seriously, there is no American term for this.  Discovered at Wassada in Los Angeles, this was ordered based on the latin term “urechis unincitus”.  This is also where we were eating sannakji.

While I was fighting with an octopus tentacle, the uncomfortable waiter had to go find someone who spoke more english to double-check that I really wanted to order it.  I should have known that if they were uncomfortable serving this to a man frantically trying to shove tentacles back into his mouth as they escaped, the dish was probably not good.

It was definitely not good.  It was like if rancid like water could vomit.  Plus it had the texture of deep sea leeches, which I’m pretty sure is what it was.
Oh, I almost forgot to explain where they get the lovely colloquialism “Korean sea penis”.  Basically, these are large worms that live under the sea, and just so happen to appear exactly like uncircumcised male genitals.  If this doesn’t sound appetizing now, wait till you see it in real life.  Or on YouTube.  Right here.

Scorpion, Mealworms, Crickets

Finally, the taste of burnt hair without the trouble of burning hair!  Eating smaller arthropods is an exercise in futility, as these seem to have so little substance that they can’t possibly have nutritional value, and what little flavor they have will resemble fingernails or hair, as carapaces are more or less the same material.  Actually, if you want to get specific, they are made out of chitin, which I guuueeeesss is chemically not at all similar to keratin, so, hmm.  Well, anyway, bugs aren’t too filling in my experience.

Dragon Eye Fruit (Longan)

Longan FruitPhotographing at a factory in Guan Dong China, I was given the privilege to eat with the executives of the company in a small private lunchroom.  There they served me with a bizarre fruit that my translator called “dragon eye”.  I thought it was the most amazing thing ever.  Later it turned out it was simply a cousin of lychee, which, while asian, is not uncommon to America.  I would strongly recommend this one.  You probably won’t find longan in America, but lychee is close enough to enjoy.

Ox Knees

Found in a Korean restaurant without an English name in Los Angeles, I assumed this was a mistranslation.  I assumed the menu referred to “ox shin”, which I enjoy.  I assumed it would be edible.  I assumed wrong.  I was given four cartilage orbs.  I scraped off a little tendon or something, but overall this was the least “food” I’ve ever gotten in a meal.  What meat I did get wasn’t bad though.

Ox Knees

Thousand-year-old egg

Century EggThis name is given to a Chinese delicacy, originally created by tossing an egg into a pit of ash, salt, clay, and lime for months.  The resulting chemical reaction changes the egg into something that is more of an abomination in the eyes of god.  What once was egg is now the pure potential of flavor realized.   Actually, it’s just the saltiest thing you could possibly put in your mouth, including salt.  The interesting thing is the colors the chemically altered egg exhibits-  the white has turned translucent amber, the yolk into a murky green playdo.  Note that modern preparation is rapid and uses a synthetic chemical process, instead of months in random ash.

Jalapeno Soda

Brainwash, found in specialty beverage stores such as BevMo and RocketFizz, is great for two reasons.

1)  In pursuit of a black soda, it has been packed full of so much blue dye that your tongue, lips, gums, and bodily processes will be stained for several days.

2)  It’s probably your only chance to drink carbonated jalapeno drink.

It’s pretty awesome.

Other notable meats, all of which were delicious:

Ostrich, elk, deer, rattlesnake, chukar, jellyfish, raw shrimp heads, goat, alligator, quail, eel, sea urchin genitals (hah, did you know if you’ve eaten sea urchin sushi, that’s what you’re eating?) and bacon.  So much bacon.  I know it’s not exotic, but this is my blog, and I want it to be known bacon is delicious.

Things I have not eaten:

  • Tarantula
  • Lion (or any other feline)
  • Durian -  the fruit that smells so strongly of rotten meat that it’s not allowed in most hospitals.
  • Loquat
  • Horned melons
  • Star fruit
  • Giant grasshopper
  • Sri-Lankan cuisine
  • Ethiopian cuisine
  • Moroccan cuisine
  • Abalone
  • Head Cheese
  • Balut – a Filipino delicacy
  • Canned whale (Note this a felony to posses, along with any other marine mammal part or meat, in the US.  I’m not sure if I’d eat it given the chance anyway)
  • Kangaroo
  • Human flavored tofu, or “Hofu”  – (Note this does not exist, but people keep recommending it to me, unaware that this was an internet hoax.  The only reason it is on this list is that I like the word Hofu)

Any suggestions?  Leave them in the comments, and I’ll try and eat things you recommend

2 Comments to “The Weirdest Things I’ve Eaten: OR How Cobra Blood Does Not Taste Like Butterscotch”

  • You know, they serve abalone down the street from me. They keep them in tanks at the end of the pier. And I'd skip the durian. Tastes like death.

  • it's funy, beacouse it's rel

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Brave Newbie Writers

Phil WarrenPhil Warren (81)
Founder and editor of The Brave New, Phil Warren is now an accordion player, a minister, a sonic weapons expert, a director, a photographer, a public speaker, and a bunch of other things. Mostly he's an adventurer though. An adventurer who smells nice. Except when he doesn't.
NickNick (6)
One part Burner and one part Engineer; I’ve lived through twenty-five-and-a-half winters, and aim to keep it that way. My world is a strange one, and it’s my goal to make it stranger.

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