Are you a foodie who wants to take it a notch higher and brag about it on social media? Or do you want to challenge your palate?
People try new diets for different reasons. Today, we might not be able to understand how and why some of these foods have made it to a plate. But they did. Some are beneficial while others have no known health benefit. You just have to cross your fingers, hoping that they do not kill you first.
In the event you travel to these destinations, here are some of the weirdest things you will hear people say (most likely indirectly):
- Cambodia: Uhmm … Waiter, can I have a plate of huge hairy Spiders, please?
The first reaction to a spider would be to scream your head off and run to safety, right? Apparently, this is not the case in Cambodia. Just as we wait for the avocado season here in Kenya, the Cambodian people wait for the rainy season in June, so that they can hunt and eat them. They need salt and sugar to “prepare” them before dipping them in hot oil to produce crunchy snacks.
If you think that this is weird, you will be surprised by the next statement. Tarantulas are far much popular than crickets and silkworms – which are other insects commonly sold in their street markets.
- France: Monsieur, I’d like a dancing frog in my plate, merci beaucoup!
People eat weird stuff for different reasons, such as curiosity and novelty, but those who eat frog legs (Known as grenouilles), come back for more because apparently, they are delicious. These frogs have been hunted so much, such that there has been a ban on commercial frog hunting and farming since the late 1980s. The legs are the only edible parts of the frog. People eat frogs as a staple; just the same way we feed on ugali in Kenya. The legs can be grilled, deep fried, boiled or whatever way you prefer.
Many who have tasted frog say it tastes swampy and somehow like fish. The exciting part is, when you are cooking or adding salt to the legs, they twitch. This is because frogs are cold-blooded and don’t succumb to rigor mortis.
- America: I’ll have a rattlesnake with a splash of lemon, please!
This is purely adventurous. Many people are squeamish at the sight of a snake, but some have their taste buds excited whenever they eat it… Well, if they see it first. This is so, even with the knowledge that dead snakes or decapitated snakes for that matter can still bite you or inject massive amounts of venom. Snake-eaters have found a way around that, and that is by pinning the head and cutting it off. And the most important precaution is, do not handle the snake’s head at all.
Some think it tastes like chicken, others like fish, so let’s assume it tastes something in-between. There have been no complains apart from, it can be a little tedious- It’s like eating a bony fish.
Rattlesnake tails. Image from http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/appetizers-and-snacks/rattlesnake-tails/
- Iceland: Hun, Can we have a rotten shark for dinner?
Here’s a free spoiler; it tastes as disgusting as the name suggests. Hakarl… Yuck! You need a strong stomach for this, my friend. The gag-inducing odour can be smelt from quite a distance, even before it gets to your plate. Why the hell would anyone want to eat that?
Probably because it was the only source of nourishment in the Islands of Iceland, and has been a staple food since the Viking times. The Greenland shark is as poisonous as it is ugly, and can only be edible if the poison is eliminated through fermentation over a couple of months.
- Kenya: Mama watoto, who ate my rat stew?
Alright, let’s be civil. Don’t act like you trust your butcher. All of us have unknowingly eaten weird meat in those delicious samosas. You know the ones that taste like they were made in heaven?
The difference is that the Chonyi and Giriama communities of Kenya eat the rodents of the Kadzora species knowingly. It is a dying habit due to the clearing of habitats and also modernization. It tastes like beef and goes well with ugali. This would be more pleasant than most of us would like to admit.
We need to Spice up Kenyan Food Culture