You eat this? Crazy.
Foods are what keep us alive, right? So why does the human race eat food like “Bandit Burger! And if you don’t want a mile long one then how about a junior Bandit Burger!”? (Courtesy of Mc Donalds commercial.) I mean really, why not a smelly durian fruit? Or maybe a Tarantula (or two)? Seriously, people look at fried grasshoppers and fermented shark and say, “What? People eat that stuff?” and then you look at a greasy, four pound, death trap of a cheeseburger and say, “Oh gosh, that looks wonderful! I want to stuff my face full of it again and again!” and yes, one of my friends and I were joking about it and he said this, without even considering the consequences of doing that.
There are all sorts of different bugs and other foods that the first world countries do not even consider touching with a twenty foot long pole, never mind putting it in your mouth. Frankly, I don’t blame them!
This article covers the gross side of eating things like shark and Tarantula - and also the good things. I discovered some pretty incredible food – and people who have eaten it and can relate the good and bad (or sometimes just the bad). I have eaten a few of these crazy foods, such as durian and grasshoppers, and I can tell you that the durian is good, except for the smell, and the grasshoppers are good, if you can get past the legs and also the thought that you are eating a bug. But trust me, most of the things in here are better for you than a Bandit Burger.
Durian is perhaps one of the smelliest foods on the planet. Its reek can be scented from across a market square, across a grocery, on the other side of the street and through a wall. It is not a good smell. Read what Mark from Migrationology has to say about Durian – including a durian buffet (!!??).
“No other natural phenomenon that sprouts on this green earth comes close to the body altering, emotion heightening, crazy feeling, and flavor bursting sensation of the world’s ultimate natural gourmet high; the Durian…”
Photo: Durian, the king of fruit. The smell cannot really be described, it is foul, fetid, animalic, sweet...the taste is even harder to describe: think strawberries, walnuts and whipped cream, sprinkled with molten butter, fried onions and blue cheese. I love it. Absolutely delicious.
Photo courtesy and copyright flickr creative commons: flickr.com/photos/71287980@N00/
I have had grasshoppers before and I almost was able to bring them back to America to eat in front of my friends to prove that I had in fact eaten a dead, fried, chili sauce covered grasshopper. Unfortunately, the border patrol decided that would not work out. Once past the legs, they are quite tasty. I took off the legs once and ate it and liked it well enough. Read what Kevin and Ruth have to say about eating grasshoppers:
“What do they taste like? Well, they're cooked with lots of chili powder and limejuice so we wonder if that's really to mask the unsavory flavor of the grasshoppers, or if it just spices them up a little. It's a different flavor for sure, but not one that I either like or dislike. They went down okay with a beer later that afternoon!”
And check out this Guide to Eating Grasshoppers, by Anders Bruihler
Yep - I ate these. Fried grasshoppers - sauted in chilli ..
Photo courtesy and copyright flickr creative commons: flickr.com/photos/mattmurf/
Shark (kæstur hákarl)
I haven’t personally eaten Icelandic fermented shark ( kæstur hákarl). My mom and dad had it in Iceland when they went there for a week or two. Apparently they thought it was horrid, so I am not sure I would like to have it. If you really want to get the inside scoop, check out what MiMi had to say about hákarl:
“I've heard about hákarl or to give it its proper name, kæstur hákarl (Icelandic for "fermented shark"), as being an unmissable and unique part of Icelandic cuisine, so on my arrival in Reykjavik, I'm determined to track some down.”
Kæstur Hákarl (Icelandic for "fermented shark") It is a Greenland or basking shark which has been cured with a particular fermentation process and hung to dry for 4-5 months. Hákarl has a very particular ammonia-rich smell and taste, similar to very strong cheese.
Photo courtesy and copyright flickr creative commons: flickr.com/photos/moohaha/
Tarantula is also an unknown taste to me, and I am not sure I wish to eat it. I am getting a bit tired of saying this, read below and click the little blue link below that if you so wish dear readers. You can eat these in Cambodia. Check out what the good folks at WorldHum have to say about eating tarantulas:
“How to eat: You can eat them whole. But to start, pull off and eat the legs two or three at a time. Do this for a few reasons: The first is that you’ll notice the legs’ curious resemblance to the legs of its fellow arthropod, the soft-shell crab. With each crunch, you’ll also be able to better appreciate the flavor of the spider-monger’s perfected recipe: salt, sugar, oil, and garlic…”
Photo courtesy and copyright flickr creative commons: flickr.com/photos/30733371@N00/
You can eat any kind of bugs. Here are two remarkable stories about eating different types of bugs.
“I understand why many people shriek when it comes to eating bugs, even though I have no problem with water bugs. In Thai cuisine, water bugs are commonly part of certain chili sauces, and are not looked upon as a pest or bug. Besides, they are ground up and unrecognizable; just part of a dish I have eaten all my life.”
Bugs, bugs, and more bugs! Adventure travel writer and tv show host Julia Dimon proves her adventurousness by eating scorpions and centipedes in Beijing – read on…
“Donghuamen Night Market boasts dozens of stalls selling some of the world’s most exotic snacks: from silk worm, to scorpion, starfish to centipede, you can find it and TRY it, here!”
Photo courtesy and copyright flickr creative commons: flickr.com/photos/istolethetv/
All around the world, people eat what others might consider gross or crazy. Whether it's a Bandit Burger or deep fried tarantula, someone is bound to think it is gross. Hungry?
Gabriel Miller is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program