Would you eat this?

Travel is exciting – exploring new destinations, new cultures and…. new and sometimes, strange cuisine. Many people are understandably cautious about trying foods that they don’t know or recognise and also there is always the fear of getting sick while on holiday. Nobody wants that.

However a recent article in hostelworld.com got me thinking about strange food around the world. I think that particularly backpackers are brave when it comes to trying out new and weird things. Usually they are young and don’t have much money so eating local makes sense. Also bear in mind that what makes a delicious meal in some cultures might not be so appealing to others. So let’s take a look at some of the strange foods they looked at –

One of the dishes they feature in this article are chicken’s feet. It made me chuckle because this was something often sold in the local markets in the rural areas around Swaziland and was regarded as a cheap and fairly nutrious meal. It would be served with another part of the chicken that people typically do not eat – the head. Sold together they were locally known as “walky talkies”. You would find these on sale at many of the townships sold with “pap” (cornmeal porridge) and a tasty sauce.

Did I? Nope ….

Tuna eyeballs! I am not kidding. This is a delicacy in Japan. On my recent trip there one of our group said this would be the only holiday where she returned home having lost weight. But they never did serve us tuna eyeballs (thank goodness) …. so….

Did I? Nope ….

Snails! The typical dish that makes you think of France. Served in the shell – just in case you forget that it was once a snail. Look, having grown up in Cornwall where the fields are enclosed with stone walls I saw plenty of snails in my life. Big fat snails leaving long slimy trails behind them. Our Cornish snails were so good that we had people coming over from France to come and pick them and take them back there. I guess they were sold off as the genuine French Mademoisell le Snail!

Parlez-vous francais?

Did I – nope!

Guinea pig? Very popular in South America. You can even get guinea pig pizza. The website roysfarm.com extolls the virtues of guinea pig farming saying that it has a lower impact on the environment …. “Guinea pig farming business is a more profitable source of food and income than many traditional stock animals such as pigs and cattle, because these animals require much less room than traditional livestock and they reproduce extremely quickly. The guinea pigs can be raised in both urban and rural families for supplementary income. Meat of these animals is high in protein and low in cholesterol and fat. The meat is described as being similar to rabbit and the dark meat of chicken.”

I don’t know ….I keep thinking of those little guinea pigs that they used to keep in school running around in their little exercise wheels ….

Did I … nope!

Marmite? Very popular in England and Australia – it is a yeast based product, quite salty with a “love it or hate it” following.

Did I …. You bet! LOVE it….

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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