Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bon Appetit?

While watching a BBC documentary discussing the Kombai's unique treehouse building skills, they also mentioned that the tribe, at times, they eat sago grubs. I. then, recalled watching a show, of which the name escapes me, where the host tastes various exotic foods from around the world. Here are some that I've read about and wondered if I would ever eat. Would you?

1. Sago Grubs- These juicy and plump grubs-- a delicacy in some regions, such as Papua New Guinea (location of the Kombai tribe) and Malaysia (where sago grubs can be found nicely packaged)--are found in the rotten trunk of the sago palm. They are in the larva stage of the Red Palm Weevil. If eaten raw, it is recommended that you bite the head off first (the dark area of the grub) because they have teeth. They become a bit feisty if you touch their head and can bite you. However, you may also enjoy them slow-roasted over a warm fire or fried. Apparently, they taste like crab, but some say they are slimy and a bit salty.

2. Maggot Cheese (Casu Marzu, formaggio marcio)- Who loves Italian food? I do! But would you try this? If you want to enhance the flavor of cheese (because the maggots release an enzyme that helps the cheese ferment),  try adding some maggots into the mix. Maggot Cheese is quite popular, and illegal, in Sardinia, Italy.The recipe is quite simple. Place the cheese, made of sheep's milk, to rot in the hot sun, and then allow insects to lay their eggs. You'll know it's ready once it is covered with lots of maggots. These little guys soften the cheese. You can remove the maggots or enjoy this delicacy with some extra nutrition!  Warning: If you choose to eat with maggots, maggots may try to jump in your eyes so it is recommended that you cover your eyes. Also, be mindful that the maggots live in the cheese and so will also defecate in it...just some food for thought :) If the maggots are dead, then it should not be consumed as it is dangerous and toxic.

3. Baby Mice Wine -  When I read " A Hundred Secret Senses" by Amy Tan I recall her mentioning baby mice wine as well as balut (fertilized duck embryo). The wine, typically found in Korea and China, is so fresh that actual baby mice lie, visibly, at the bottom of the bottle for your viewing pleasure.  Newly born mice (no more than 3 days old) are torn away from their mother's teat, drowned in rice wine, and left to ferment for about a year. Some say it tastes like gasoline. It is believed to have healing properties, possibly curing liver problems and asthma issues. Warning: You may swallow a mouse.

4. Balut ( Fertilized Duck Egg)

Who doesn't yearn to one day try an almost fully developed embryo? Apparently, this dish--popular mostly in Asia--is very delicious and is believed to be an aphrodisiac. In order for the fetus to develop, it's essential to keep the eggs warm. For this reason, the eggs are placed in the sun to absorb heat and then transferred to baskets to keep the eggs warm.  About 9 days later the embryo is revealed upon shining a light on the egg, meaning that in 8 days it will be ready to be boiled  and consumed. Enjoy the feathery goodness of soft-boiled duck fetus.

5. Codfish Sperm

First of all, I have to admit that I am glad to know that we can eat almost anything and survive. The creamy texture of the codfish sperm dish melts in your mouth. It is believed that it boosts one's stamina. There are plenty of photos that show that it can be prepared in a manner that looks appetizing. Dismiss the brain-like appearance, because it is is a delicacy in some parts of Asia, and you might actually enjoy it. Don't knock it until you've tried it, right?

6. Goliath Tarantulas-

So I'm not fond of spiders, and even less so of tarantulas. When I saw a couple of Venezuelan kids hunt for goliath tarantulas-- the largest of all spiders-- simply bend back their legs and roast them over a fire for dinner, I was pretty impressed. Not only are these spiders the most poisonous, they also have large fangs and they shoot out hairs that irritate the skin by causing a stinging sensation. According to the BBC documentary on jungles, they taste like crab.

1 comment:

  1. I remember I saw this one episode of Millionaire matchmaker, and the one of the gentlemen took his desired date out to a really fancy restaurant in the city; it think you may have seen this episode. Anyway, all I can remember is her freaking out over the duck embryo and the whole date just fell apart. It's amusing to witness culinary differences and acquired tastes. I don't think I could be able to eat any of those things if I didn't think they tastes good. I would probably try the maggot cheese or the tarantula if I had a choice.