Food is one of the most important features of any culture. What we eat often says a lot about what as nation or culture we grow, how we cook, and what life is like around us. That means that when we travel to new destinations, one of the most important things that we have to do is to experience the cuisine. Sometimes the food is outside of our personal comfort zones and since trying new things, especially when you are concerned about whether your stomach will handle it, can be very scary. In order to truly experience another culture, however, you need to be open-minded. Here are some of the most interesting foods around the world that you need to taste.
1. Century Eggs
Don’t let the name fool you, the egg is not really a hundred years old. It is actually a bird’s egg (quail or duck) that has been preserved using ash, salt, quicklime or clay so that it turns black. This delicacy is available in China and Taiwan. Once you get over the color, it is a pretty tasty treat.
You may have heard of this spread before, but if you haven’t tasted it, you should at least try it. Popular in Australia, vegemite is a thick, black spread that is used on toast. It has a salty taste that usually takes a few tries to grow accustomed to. Do not insult it, though, as the spread is as common as hot dogs in Australia and criticism would not be well-received.
3. Black pudding
A well-known popular British dish, black pudding is a sausage that is filled with congealed blood, potatoes or grains. It is part of a fatty and filling traditional breakfast. It isn’t only the Brits who eat congealed blood, however. Pig’s blood rice cakes are popular in Taiwan and even sold on the streets as a treat.
Haggis has a reputation built around it as being a Scottish cuisine that dares are made of. However, haggis is not something that is eaten by all Scots on a daily basis, but it is available throughout Scotland. The dish is made up of a sheep’s internal organs cooked with oats inside of the sheep’s stomach. If that is too icky for you, you can try a version without the sheep’s casing, but it would not be authentic haggis.
5. Head cheese
Now I would like you to maintain an open mind before dismissing the idea of head cheese. The dish is not cheese at all, but is made out of the head from either a pig, cow, or sheep. The head is typically boiled and the fatty marrow of the animal creates a kind of jelly-like texture around it. It can then be sliced for sandwiches, dinner, or even simply put in a salad. This is still a common food found across Europe, just as it has been since the middle ages.
6. Durian fruit
The difficulty with eating durian fruit is simply that it smells like rotten garbage, which is off-putting for most travelers. The fruit does not taste the same as it smells, however. The fruit is native to Thailand and is not really found elsewhere in the world, which is in part due to the horrendous smell.
If you have never eaten a shark before, then when you are visiting Iceland, you should try it. Harkarl is the process of preserving a shark by fermenting it with its own fluids and then hanging it up to dry. It may sound unseemly, but if Icelanders have been eating it for a long time, it cannot be all bad.
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