Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Weird Foods

After reading Anna's post about not eating salmon previously and now giving it a try, it made me think of food that I will and will not eat. It also made me remember a post that I had read from Pim about weird food.

Food is such a subjective thing. Something that tastes great for one person may taste awful for another. What defines our tastes is the culture around us and the environment that we grow up with. I don't think twice about eating offal and love it, but most Australians would go that is disgusting. Growing up in Vietnam and then in a very Chinese family here in Australia, I'm not afraid to eat anything.

Here is a list of some weirder things that I like to eat, in no particular order. I won't discuss about the ethical issues, that's another discussion altogether.

* Pig offal and feet. I particularly love the gelatinous nature of pig feet in a nice Vietnamese style noodle soup. I also can't get enough of pig's intestines (fried or slowly cooked) and order it at restaurants whenever they have it or buy it take away from restaurants that sell roast duck. I also like pigs stomach and tendons. I don't particularly like tripe or kidneys of the pig. The weirdest part of the pig that I absolutely adore is the brain. Cooked over 10 hours in a slow crock pot with Chinese medicine, the brain is delicious.

* Chicken feet and duck feet. Chicken feet are served in most Yum Chas and are a must have. Duck feet can sometimes be found in Chinese restaurants. I also like chicken feet that are marinated in vinegar and sugar. I don't like any of the chicken innards such as the gizzards, kidneys or liver.

* Jellyfish. I love marinated jellyfish with some boiled pork and pickled vegetables. The crunchiness and slippery texture of the jellyfish is great.

* Sea cucumber and abalone. These delicacies of Chinese cuisine are the top of the range. They are ultra expensive and are only eaten rarely. I guess abalone is less uncommon now but sea cucumber is still fairly yucky to most people. When cooked properly, the soft gelatinous texture of the sea cucumber matches perfect to the firm texture and wonder strong sea flavours of the abalone. My dad told me that when he first got to Australia, fishermen were throwing back abalone. He said you could buy a whole kilo of Green Lip abalone for $10, where nowadays you would be lucky to find a kilo for less than $300. The trade in black market abalone is so high that its now being run by gangs similar to the trade in drugs.

* Rabbit and goat. These aren't too strange but they're not your everyday items either. I loved the texture of the meats and the beautiful flavours.

There are a lot of weird food that I would love to try, but as yet haven't had the chance. Once again, I will not discuss the ethical issues. The foods I would like to try are

* Witchitty grubs. These are the quintessential Aussie bush tucker and I would love to see how they taste.

* Snails and foie gras, the quintessential French food are definitely on my must try list.

* Whale and seal. I wonder what the flesh texture will be like for such huge animals.

* Horse. They used to eat horses in the past so I'm intrigued as to how it tastes.

* Insects such as grasshoppers, scorpions, worms etc. Obviously I'm not going to go and just grab insects and eat them. I want to eat ones that are properly prepared.

* Octopus that are still alive and eaten that way. Must be a strange sensation to have something still crawling in your mouth.

There are a lot of weird foods that I have tried and don't like or don't want to try. For example, I've tried snake, crocodile, deer and pigs blood but don't like them. I used to like eating duck eggs where the ducks start developing already and have feathers. They are a delicacy in Vietnam and I used to eat them here in Australia too. But recently, I've found that I can't stomach them anymore. When I see the little duck with the feathers and eyes, it just puts me off.

I don't ever plan on eating cats, dogs, mice, anything blood related such as snake blood or things that might kill me, such as those Japanese puffer fish. No food can ever be good enough to risk possibly death (although that can be said for McDonalds and people eat that all the time hahaha). I don't know why people would want to eat those puffer fish when over 100 die from it each year.

Anyway, I hope no one will judge me on what I want or hope to eat ethically. You may object to not eating those things, but you shouldn't force your own opinions on me. I know that eating some of those things are not ethical, but then so is killing that chicken to eat. It's just that we have gotten used to some things. I don't want to go and hunt down all whales to eat, I just want to try a little bit.

Are there any weird things you have tried that are good and can suggest. Are there any strange things that you are still yet to try?


  1. HI thanh,
    how about this:

    1. Bull / deer testicle

    2. Sea tortoise soup. One of the priciest delicacy in HK and Mainland China. Very very nice. I wish Australia let this kind of practice

    3. Ike zukuri, sashimi off a live fish not a slab

    4. Deep fried fish that still twitches:,,30200-1274170,00.html

    All of them seem grotesque but gee, isnt't that the point ?
    It's grotesque for that very same reason, ultimate taste!

  2. Wow, you've eaten and enjoyed some very interesting things. I used to be quite brave, but I find I'm getting more set in my ways with age - which is a reason I decided to start trying new things.

    I was going to have my first taste of truffels with a Cafe Vue lunchbox tomorrow, but a day off work means I'll have to wait for another time.

    Also on my list is caviar - something that expensive has to be tried at least once.

    So, nothing out of the ordinary there, but it'll still be new for me.

    BTW - wichy-grubs (which is what I called 'em when I was little) are quite nice. Are you going to try them raw, or cooked? I'd recommend cooked for your first try (benefits of growing up in the country with a large indigenous population, have tried plenty of "bush tucker")

  3. Anonymous, I will give bull/deer testicles a try and if they are nice, I don't mind eating them.

    With the sea tortise soup, I haven't quite tried that but I did try some tortoise shell jelly in HK. It tasted like jelly that was slightly bitter. It was quite expensive too.

    I would also try the live fish and the deep fried fish if I get a chance.

    I don't think it has to be grotesque to be the ultimate in taste. I didn't say I would eat all these weird things all the time. Some things to me aren't weird, like pigs intestines that I love, and I like to eat that reguarly because I like the taste. As for other really weird things, I'm just curious I guess. If it tastes bad thougg, I wouldn't continue eating it.

    Anna, I want to try truffles too. I wonder what they taste like.

    I love eating caviar actually, the burst of flavour is so nice. I just bought some salmon caviar yesterday actually. Can't wait to put some on sushi that I make.

    I want to try more bush tucker too. There was this show that used to be on ABC or SBS where an aboriginal man used to teach how to cook bush tucker. Those things were really strange to me and I hadn't heard of half the things, but they did look interesting. As for wichitty grubs, I'm not sure where I can find them. If I do find some, I think I will try cooked first too. :-)

  4. Thanh,

    How about eating "me" out?