Strange countries and strange food

Are you brave when it comes to trying new foods when you travel?  Personally I am not.  I think it is because of too many years spent at Convent lunches with Sister Michael Joseph standing behind me while I struggled to keep down that bowl of tapioca pudding.  Yuck.

But don’t let me put you off.  If you enjoy watching shows like Anthony Bourdain you will know that there are some out there who will try just about anything and maybe that is all part of the whole “travel the world” experience.  Bourdain believes that when you travel you should never ever refuse a local dish which has been prepared for you.  So what’s out there that’s strange and different?

How about a fried Tarantula in Cambodia?  Apparently they are very popular and taste a bit like crab.

Guinea Pig in Peru?  Yes guinea pig is a delicacy in Peru and you can even order a guinea pig pizza if you feel so inclined.  Growing up we had guinea pigs as pets.  I just can’t figure out eating one which I suppose is a bit hypocritical because I am not a vegetarian and eat beef and I reckon cows are some of the most intelligent creatures out there.

Here’s a dish from Mousehole in Cornwall, England.  Now although I grew up very near to Mousehole I have never heard of this dish so I will have to check with my Cornish friends.

“A pie with fish that stare at the sky: Stargazey originates from the Cornish village of Mousehole in England, and is served on Tom Bawcock’s Eve (23rd December). According to legend, this heroic sixteenth-century sailor rowed out one December evening in high storms and returned with a catch big enough to feed the starving residents.”

If you are in Israel you might like to try some chocolate covered locusts – it’s the only thing to do really when you have plague after plague and apparently the locust is the only insect that is considered kosher.

In Ukraine it is popular to cut the meat off and just eat the fat.  It’s called Salo and the fat is smoked and then left in a cellar for about a year and then eaten with rye bread.   Not sure how healthy this is but I do recall a South African cardiologist telling me once that it would be very healthy – bypasses the esophagus and goes straight for the coronary artery!

Which brings me to Canada – boy you have some pretty strange food here too!  As a Brit the idea of putting gravy on your fries (or chips as I would call them) is really odd – and then to sprinkle them with cheese curds.  I haven’t tried Poutine yet but I promise one day I will, but I definitely am going to pass on the stuffed Moose heart.  Sorry!


By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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