Of all the words you can think of to describe food, “fear” is probably the last one that comes to mind, if at all you are inclined to run your brain in that direction. After all, whoever heard of anyone being afraid of food? What do you expect to do – bite you? Maybe…if you happen to eat any one of these really scary culinary concoctions that people have deemed to call ‘delicacies’.
The general reaction one has towards mice and rats is a very loud squeal, and yet, it is very common in some parts of Asia to fry newborn rats and mice to a crisp (or, if you want to go easy on the oil, they can be grilled too!) and enjoy them along with an assortment of sauces. Famed culinary author Jerry Hopkins recommends pinkies in spring rolls paired with a traditional Vietnamese sauce of cilantro, ginger, fish sauce, chilies, garlic, and rice vinegar. Yummm…?
If you were scared out of your pants by the movie “Arachnophobia” or the more recent “Eight Legged Freaks”, this is your way of extracting revenge on these “tentacled” monsters. A-ping is a species of tarantula that fits into the palm of your hand, although we wouldn’t recommend holding a live one there for too long.
In the small Cambodian village of Skuon, which has earned the spooky name of “Spiderville”, it’s common to see street vendors frying a heap of these spiders with sugar, spices, and garlic. You know they are well done when their bodies turn a dusky shade of red and their legs are ‘deliciously’ crispy.
In the mood for some caviar? So what if you can’t get your hands on the more expensive Beluga caviar, try the Mexican version made from the eggs of…BLACK ANTS. Popularly nicknamed “insect caviar”, escamoles can be served up to you in any number of ways – boiled and cooked in creamy soups, along with tortillas and guacamole, or simmered to a thick consistency in tomato sauce. Those who’ve had the good luck (?) of tasting this delicacy say escamoles have the creamy texture of cottage cheese and a nutty, buttery flavor.
In Sardinian language casu marzu literally translates into “rotten cheese” and that’s exactly what it is – rotten cheese, crawling freely with larvae laid by the cheese fly. And, instead of dumping cheese gone bad into the trash can and producing a fresh batch, the good people of Sardinia, firmly believing that nothing should be wasted, eat the soft, wet, gooey cheese…and I mean all of it!
While some have the sense to clear the creepy crawlies from the surface of the cheese before popping it into their mouth, others have no compunction eating the cheese as it is. Even more fantastic is the fact that this food is considered a delicacy and is only available on the black market.
There really is no accounting for taste. First cheese gone bad and now putrefied eggs! Except, of course, the Chinese call the process “curing” not “rotting”, in an effort to pander to people’s sensibilities, I suppose. Although they are known as the 1,000 year old eggs, they are only a few months old. Thank goodness for small mercies!
Raw chicken, duck, and quail eggs are covered with a mix of quicklime, ash, clay, salt, and straw and left like that for weeks or months. By the time they are harvested, the egg yolks have turned soft and green, the whites turn to an amber jelly like consistency, and the entire preparation fairly reeks of sulphur. These eggs (if you can still call them that at this stage) are served with pork, scallions, silken tofu and ginger or added to a rice porridge known as congee.
Republished by Blog Post Promoter
You must be logged in to post a comment.