My Food Diary

Peculiar Food from Other Cultures

One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

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As people get increasingly exposed to the wide world, be it through the media or by travelling, we learn about other culture’s differing boundaries for food. We learn about their perception of what is “acceptable” or “taboo” to consume.

 

Puffer Fish

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It looks darn cute! ^^

This Japanese delicacy, containing raw puffer fish, is the literal embodiment of the phrase “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”.

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The Japanese ALWAYS has such exquisite food arrangement designs

Also known as “fugu” (河豚) in Japanese, the puffer fish is the 2nd most poisonous vertebrate in the world. Its poison is 1,200 times stronger than cyanide and there is no known antidote for it.

Undeterred by the risks, it remains a popular delicacy among the Japanese – especially the liver, which they consider the tastiest part of the fish, despite it being the most poisonous part.

 

Balut

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So poor thing, the little duckie… >.<:

Balut is a street food commonly found in Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. It is a fertilised duck egg which contain a partially developed embryo.

Balut is believed to have aphrodisiac benefits and medicinal purposes for pregnant/delivering women. It is doused in garlic and vinegar, or sprinkled with salt and chilli, balut is often served with beer.

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Live Octopus

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The dancing octopus looks kinda hypnotising to watch…

Live octopus, also known as sannakji (산낙지) in Korea, is another delicacy eaten raw in Asia. It is usually lightly seasoned with sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

The more adventurous sannakji lovers may go for the WHOLE live octopus. Eating it whole is no mean feat as the octopus will be sure to fight you every single step of the way. A few poor souls have lost their lives in the battle with this delicacy when the live octopus refused to be swallowed, clinging onto the diners’ mouth with their tentacles and choking them.

Which may be the reason why the majority prefers it sliced into smaller pieces, as a snack to accompany alcoholic beverages such as soju or beer.

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Escamoles

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Does that look like a plate of fried rice to you?

Look closer!

That is escamoles, a dish made of a mix of ant larvae and pupae. It can be found in many Mexican cuisine and has a history dating all the way back to the Aztecs.

With its nutty and buttery flavour and texture similar to cheese, the Mexicans have whip up a wide variety of cooking styles for the escamoles – either as the star element or as a complimentary ingredient.

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Kopi Luwak

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Kopi Luwak aka civet poop

One man’s shit is another man’s gold.

Kopi luwak is most expensive coffee in the world. It is produced from the partly digested coffee cherries pooped out by the Asian palm civet. Retail prices range from approximately USD 600 to USD 3,000 per kilogram!

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A civet cat & its favourite coffee cherries. SO CUTE!!!

The taste of kopi luwak can vary depending on the origin and type of coffee cherries ingested by the civet and the whole production process of the beans.

Many critics from the coffee industry, however, regard it as a novelty item and a marketing gimmick…

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Would you be game enough to try any of the above?

If you know of any other exotic food from your/other cultures, or have tried any of the above, do share them with me!

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