A lot of these are typical delicacies that we don’t consider strange or foreign, but I do have to say that there are a few on the list that are definitely my first time trying.
1. Pig Brain
It’s not every one’s cup of tea, and it doesn’t look too appealing knowing it’s a pig’s brain. Since this is hot pot, we see it in its raw form. It’s at least placed on a nice looking platter with some greens. It’s placed in the hot pot for just the right amount of time before its ready to eat. Dip in the sauce of your choice.
Other food shown in the picture: duck intestines, yams, tofu skin, lettuce, vermicelli, duck blood, and more.
I had the pleasure of trying this at a Filipino friend’s house; it was scary as I stared at the developing duck embryo. I felt bad eating it, but gave it a try anyways. It was…… pretty good? It’s definitely a taste that is familiar because of all the other crazy things I’ve eaten before. For someone who hasn’t tried much, the thought of eating animal’s embryo in the your head while you’re chewing it probably might not be the most pleasant thing. Nevertheless, I would eat it again when I get the chance.
Eating process: You would crack open the hallow end of the egg, and sip out the juice. Some say that’s the best part! You get an awesome picture of what you’re about to eat. Dig in!
For many, this is old news, but hey, we don’t get this in the U.S. It is delicious and the eating process is part of the fun. We love to eat things that takes effort. The more effort it takes, the better it taste (like sunflower seeds). We usually like to eat these spicy snails with some kabobs, while sitting outside at the food night market.
Eating process: It’s already cooked with a lot of flavor. You still see the snail in its natural form with the shell. To get the snail meat, you use a toothpick to pick out the meat and yum!
This is one of those first timers. I often overlook what I get. I ate this assuming it was just crunchy fried dough with vermicelli. I ate this without knowing what I was eating. This was already down my throat as I found out this is caterpillars. The caterpillars that I see outside on the leaves and the one that makes silk? Now I’m looking closer at each individual pieces, and I see the black dots which are the eyes. I probably won’t eat this again. Reason being, it did not have much flavor or uniqueness to it. Just tasted like something crunchy that’s fried like chips. This is weird, even for us. Usually its seen in fancy restaurants.
5. Duck Blood
This was only the two different times out of many while I was in China. This isn’t too strange like the caterpillar. It’s slightly more common and people can cook it at homes too. The duck blood and vermicelli soup is a Nanjing traditional delicacy. It is usually cut into bite sized cubes. The surface is smooth and very soft. It’s like jello consistency wise but taste kind of like blood. Duck blood is supposedly good for your body.
6. Beef Stomach lining
You might have seen this if you’ve eaten dim sum. There are many was to cook this, varying in taste from black bean sauce to spicy sauces. It just has a funny look, with all the tentacle-looking strings hanging. The strangeness isn’t for how it taste so much, but the texture of this as you chew. It is very chewy, like it is never going to break down after endless chewing.
This isn’t as crazy as the eating live octopus in Japan and Korea, but this was still quite strange to me. I have eaten octopus sushi where it’s just a slice of it with rice. This looks like an actual one in its raw form and slabbed with some thick sesame sauce. I ate one. I don’t remember it being that bad and it tasted pretty good because the sauce was so tasty. The elastic chewiness and its appearance is what makes people hesitate before eating. And we don’t get to see/cook/eat an octopus in our daily lives, do we.
8. Fresh Lotus Flower Seeds and Lotus Root
This is big in my hometown, Wuhan China. Due to specific planting and growing conditions, this is only grown where it is suitable and also during specific times of the year. Lotus is amazing, it’s pretty and most parts are edible, whether its eating all the different parts, making tea, medicine or decoration. Every week, my grandma would buy the fresh lotus seeds (if they’re available) for me. Many other regions in China do not have this or its not fresh after being imported.
Eating process for seeds: You peel the outside and take out all the seeds. The seeds are wrapped in a green peel. Once you peel off the outside green layer, you get a white interior which is the edible part. Inside the white part, there is also a green bitter seedling which can be eaten or dried to make tea or medicine.
Cooked with red pepper, garlic and soy sauce. The frogs might look scary; since I grew up loving this, I don’t question it twice when I eat it. As you see, I grew a little desensitized to frogs if I’m taking an immature picture like this when I’m eating. This is quite delicious and many people might like this. It’s a more tender version of chicken. When I was on a cruise, they served frog legs cooked with butter and others have tried this and liked it a lot. There isn’t much strange taste and the meat is tender.
To make this list ten things, I had to add mangosteen. They are absolutely the best fruit ever. I have not had this yet in the U.S but sometimes this can be found in Asia supermarkets, but I would eat lots of this if we have them here. It’s kind of like lychee in appearance. It is wrapped with a shell with a few green leaves on top. We have grown to be very good at picking the good ones. It is easily opened by pushing the top and bottom together and it splits in half. Very sweet. High in antioxidant and used for medicine research to treat skin infections.