There is something special about eating with your family or friends, and it’s a known fact that food brings us all together for celebrating birthdays, holidays and milestones. You can learn a lot about a country’s culture by experiencing their local dishes. Considered delicacies in their countries, the following meals are worth a try if you’re brave and curious!
Alligator meat has been used in various American cuisine for a long time. It is a healthy meat since it’s rich in protein and low in fat. The most commonly cooked part is the ribs, but the best cut of meat is said to be the tail. If it’s not overcooked, alligator is tender and has a similar consistency to veal. The rest of the body tends to be darker and more full-flavored, but it is also harder to chew.
In Florida, people hunt alligators for sport, and are allowed to kill one alligator each year. Restaurants that have alligators on the menu usually buy them from specialised farms.
So, if you find yourself in South America and want to impress your friends, order some alligator dishes and enjoy them with a good wine.
Century egg or pidan
Regardless of the name pidan which translates to the not-so-appealing smelly egg, this meal is a delicacy in China and a common dish in Vietnam that can be found at supermarkets. Once you get used to the smell, you can embrace its taste – apparently it is similar to a hard boiled egg except there is an unusual and powerful scent that invades your nostrils as you eat it.
Century eggs are usually served in rice porridge with minced pork and fresh green ginger. They are easily found in the Ho Chi Minh City, but their popularity is limited to the Chinese-Vietnamese community and people who have connections with it.
The recipes for making century eggs can differ as small adjustments are made here and there. The most common one involves keeping the eggs in a mixture of clay, wood ash, rice husk, quicklime and salt for 2-3 months. Over time, the egg turns a brown, translucent colour with a jelly-like consistency and has the odour of sulfur and ammonia.
Tiet Canh (or blood soup), Vietnam
Blood soup is a Vietnamese favourite and it can be easily found in many restaurants. The recipe is fairly simple: freshly killed duck or goose blood (sometimes pork) with peanuts and herbs on top. In Vietnamese culture, it’s believed that eating raw blood gives you strength. Tiet Canh’s popularity has declined in the last few years as bird flu spread amongst Asia and it became a health concern.
Tacos are maybe the most popular Mexican food, coming in different fillings but every time delicious. Even when it’s filled with…roast insect larvae. That’s right, escamoles are considered to be insect caviar, and apparently have a buttery taste. Enjoy it with guacamole!
Bird’s nest soup
You might have not heard of bird’s nest soup, but in China, this delicacy is much cherished for its rich nutritional content and its health benefits.This rare soup is made from the nests of a certain species of birds and it’s one of the most expensive delicacies of Chinese cuisine, dating back the time of the Ming Dynasty. The nest contains bird’s saliva and in order prepare the soup, they are boiled for a few hours in chicken stock, until reduced to a sticky consistency.
The maggot cheese, or as the Sardinians would say, casu marzu, is a rotten cheese obtained from pecorina, containing live insect larvae.
For a number of years the production and the sale of maggot cheese was forbidden but now you can enjoy a slice or two if you go on holiday in Sardinia. According to locals, the cheese actually tastes better in the maggots are still alive when you have it. As the process of making this delicacy is no easy job, you might be surprised when you see the hefty price tag!