When you plan a trip do you think specifically about what you can eat when you are there? There are certain parts of the world that are renowned for particular dishes or types of food. So how far would you travel for your favourite dish?
Some call it Food Travel or Food Tourism but it is certainly true that there are some dishes that just have to be enjoyed on location – in the place of their birth. We all know that for the best cream tea (scones and clotted cream) you have to go to Devon – or Cornwall. The two counties are still having that fight. For the best Guinness you have to go to Ireland and if you are a pizza lover then you have to visit Naples.
We don’t have to travel too far if you want to enjoy Poutine! – MacLeans published some interesting facts about this (I think) strange dish – It is widely accepted that poutine was invented in 1957 when a trucker asked Fernand Lachance to add cheese curds to his fries in Warwick, Que. “Poutine” is Quebec slang for “a mess.” And lastly can you believe the country style version has about 1400 calories in one dish!
You could go to Finland to enjoy squeaky cheese (a traditional dessert) or Morocco to enjoy B’stilla – pigeon pie??? Well it used to be pigeon pie but it is now mostly quail or chicken – but it has a sweet pastry crust.
I have to admit I am not brave when it comes to eating new foods. Anthony Bourdain was a warrior in this regard. He travelled all over the world and never refused a taste of some of the weirdest dishes. I think the main thing is not knowing what you are eating. I found this rather offputting when I was in Japan and was presented with a box of food at a corporate dinner. I had no idea what the different pieces of “protein” were in the box. Some of it seemed to be raw. It was so embarrassing. I moved things around – didn’t want to return my box untouched and felt bad about not eating it. Those around me who were familiar with Japanese cuisine were tucking in and saying how amazing it was. Did I miss out? I guess I will never know.
Maybe my hesitancy about certain foods goes back to those convent days in England. School lunches were provided and you had to eat everything on your plate because children around the world were starving. Not sure how we helped that but Sister stood there behind me making sure I finished every last spoonful of tapioca. Oh my god, I can’t even think about tapioca now without feeling the urge to throw up. How people drink that Bubble Tea is beyond me.
There are certainly lots of weird dishes out there but this one really made me sit back and … well …. read for yourself (from Tinggly Stories) –
“The weirdest food, certainly that I can think of, is Tong Zi Dan, a Chinese delicacy usually found only in the province of Dongyang, in the east of the country. These are boiled chicken eggs. What’s strange about that? It’s what they’re boiled in. Not water, but the urine of prepubescent virgin boys. Street vendors pay the boys to take a whizz in a bucket, then boil the eggs all day in the liquid, before serving. And they don’t even come with soldiers.”