The 6 things I won’t try again.
My mentality in life is to try everything once. Growing up my father always told me to try a bite from each dish on the table. How can I say I don’t like something unless I try it?
This philosophy has given me the courage to try a variety of strange and exotic food from around the world. I discovered some delicious food along the way, but there have been some things I couldn’t stomach.
Food that tasted great but made me feel guilty:
Horse Sashimi (Japan)
Horse sashimi is much the same as raw beef, just a little stronger flavor, and smell. It was pretty delicious but I am strongly against eating intelligent animals. I don’t think I could ever eat dog/monkey/dolphin meat for this reason. Eating an animal that can think or reason on a similar level with humans just feels wrong. Once was definitely enough horse for me.
I was pretty hesitant to order this one. But ‘when in Rome’. Right? The whale was barbecued and came on a skewer with only two small pieces of meat. This put my conscious at ease, slightly, and I decided to go for it since this might be my only chance. The meat was very fatty as you might expect. I wasn’t very impressed as I prefer lean meat. But, I wouldn’t say it was terrible. A fatty steak from the supermarket will give you the same experience.
Shark Fin Soup (Taiwan)
This was actually pretty delicious! The cartilage in the fin was quite soft after being boiled and added to the soup. It is supposedly healthy and can improve skin conditions and other ailments, but I’m skeptical of these claims. Like the whale, I don’t think endangered animals should be eaten. Well, not more than once. Another reason I won’t eat shark fin soup again is the price. At around 10,000NTD ($300) a bowl, it will make a sizable dent in your wallet!
Things that tasted terrible:
Sea Cucumber (Taiwan)
The sea cucumber is considered a delicacy for many people and also claims many health benefits. The look and texture are things I can’t get over, though. It basically looks and feels like a giant slug. Imagine what chewing into a giant black slug is like, and you will have a general idea. It was quite pricey so I had to finish it off, but I wouldn’t order it again.
The durian fruit is pretty popular in Indonesia, often called the ‘king of fruit’. I was excited to give it a try since I had never seen it in California. The smell is a big turn-off for most people, but it didn’t bother me so much. The thing I hated was the texture. Like the sea cucumber, it was too slimy and had too much mucus for my liking. Durian is one exotic food, or should I say fruit, that I don’t enjoy.
Check out my post Adventures In Indonesia for more of my thoughts on durian and traveling in Indonesia.
Balut is another cultural delicacy that I can’t get used to. This common street snack is a boiled duck egg that is usually eaten with a bit of salt. This sounds delicious until you bite in and realize that the egg has been fertilized and there is a baby duck inside. The egg white tastes fine, but chewing through the duck fetus is too much for me!
Let me know if you have tried any of these and what your opinion was.
I’d also love to hear about the strangest exotic food you’ve tried before!