When trying the hot new niche restaurant down the street is not satisfying your foodie fix, it may be time to step outside your comfort zone. While traveling the U.S. may be enough for some, getting your food fix internationally might be the best option for you. Unless your name happens to be Andrew Zimmern of Travel channel’s Bizarre Foods, there is a big world of uncharted foodie territory out there for you to explore. To get you started on your quest, here are a few suggestions that may ratchet up the intensity of your taste buds.
We’ll begin our list not with something you eat, but something to drink in Indonesia. This is a form of coffee you can enjoy on the first morning of your international foodie adventure. This experience will not come cheaply, however, as this coffee goes for between $120-300 per pound. Why so expensive you ask? It is made from the excrements of an Indonesian cat-like creature called the Luwak. The Luwak eats only the ripest coffee cherries, but its stomach cannot digest beans inside them, so they come out whole.The result is a coffee said to be so wonderful your Starbucks drinking friends will be ripe with jealousy.
While the name gives little away, this Cambodian delicacy is not for the faint of heart or arachnophobes. A-ping are actually giant tarantulas that are fried whole - legs, fangs, and all. Unlike the expensive coffee above, a-ping only cost a few cents and supposedly taste delicious. They are best plucked straight from the burrow and pan fried with a bit of garlic and salt. Those who have given it a try say they taste like chicken, and consist of a crispy exterior and gooey inside.
For the adventure seeker, look no further than the Japanese dish Fugu that is made from the poisonous puffer fish. Highly regulated in Japan due to the danger in preparation, fugu fish contains poisonous tetrodotoxin in its organs and has to be sliced in a very precise way by only the most expert of chefs. If sliced incorrectly, fugu can be deadly in seconds. Apparently, the risk is worth taking, for the fish’s flesh is indescribably delicious.
If you are looking for something for breakfast to go with your expensive kopi luwak coffee you purchased in Indonesia, Balut of the Philippines should do just fine. With balut, you get to eat your chicken and your egg at the same time. Fertilized eggs are boiled just before they are due to hatch, so your yolk oozes out followed by a chicken (or duck) fetus. They are cooked when the fetus is anywhere from 17 days to 21 days depending on your preference.
In order to enjoy this delicacy from Iceland, it is encouraged to not take a look at this cute little bird known to some as a sea parrot. Puffins are eaten by breaking their necks, skinning them and then eating the fresh heart raw. Puffin is supposed to be delicious, like a fishier version of chicken or duck. The rest is often smoked, grilled or pan-fried.
Finally, we’ve reached dessert, and for dessert it is recommended you give Akutaq (as it is known to the locals) a try. Akutaq is commonly known around these parts as Eskimo ice cream made with reindeer fat. It also consists of fish, dried salmon eggs or berries. Like regular ice cream, Akutaq is creamy and cold. Unlike the ice cream you are probably used to, Eskimo ice cream is traditionally not the sweet treat you are used to. Although if you travel to Alaska, you can try it with sugar added to give it a flavor you are more accustomed to from ice cream.
The writer, Brian Levesque, is a self-described foodie who always strives to find the best (though unusual) foods from around the world and share his experiences. When traveling at home though, finding good restaurants is easy: he just goes to www.foodpub.com. You can learn more about Brian on Google+.