Answering the questions we’re most often asked, every three weeks we’ll answer a FAQ to share what people want to know when they find out we’ve been traveling for over two years… LAST MONTH’S QUESTION: Will it be hard going home? NEXT MONTH’S QUESTION (on July 17): What are your biggest regrets of the trip? .
WHAT’S THE STRANGEST THING YOU’VE EATEN?
Food and strange don’t really mix any more. I’ve made it this far is because I’ve eaten whatever is available, by committing myself to eating whatever is served wherever I find myself hungry. For the most part I have known what I was eating, but when I’m hungry there isn’t much difference between chicken liver and hot pink pizza…it’s what’s for dinner. So…what is strange to eat? Dog? Not strange for some people, and yes, I’ve eaten dog. Raw horse meat? I can’t tell you enough wonderful things about horse sashimi (Basashi), it’s deee-licious! Raw bull testicles? Had it, but I’d prefer Rocky Mountain Oysters, thanks. Have a foot fetish? Well I sure don’t, I’ll pass the pig trotters and chicken feet to my cousins…they seem to like them. Are these things strange?
Japanese people and I look at animals very similarly…
I’m an unapologetic omnivore. I don’t have any dilemmas with it. The reality is that traveling for me is about experiencing foreign cultures and I want to try what they eat. I’m not traveling to promote or push my cultural dietary ideas, no, hand me the chopsticks, spoon or let me dig in with my hand…I’ll give it a try. That said, there is no guarantee I’ll come back for seconds… .
I often find myself asking “what is normal?” rather than “is this strange?” When I can’t read the menu or don’t know what to order I look around and point, assuming that whatever everyone else is eating is what you would normally eat. This method has brought out many dishes that most would classify as strange. When chicken knuckles, fire ants or raw bull testicles are served then that’s what I eat. Who knew chickens had knuckles, but they taste pretty good and now they don’t even classify as weird.
I have always been an adventurous eater, approaching food the same way I approach life, I’ll try anything twice. I have my parents to thank for this, on a trip to Japan when I was eight there were several times where I ate what was served- there was no option for picky eaters. And if you didn’t like something you still had to take a few bites. Always taking a few bites has served me well in getting to know different cuisines around the world.
Pigeon served from a Coca-Cola can in Vietnam, everyone else was eating it- seems normal to me.
When it comes to the main question of what is the strangest thing you have ever eaten it is a matter of perspective. The strangest mouth sensation from any food that has crossed my lips goes to the mouth-numbing feeling of eating spicy Sichuan food in China. The award for the worst texture of anything I have ever eaten goes to pig trotters in Seoul, South Korea and when it comes to a new favorite food that had never seemed palatable before the award goes to horse sashimi in Tokyo, Japan. So, the question becomes not what is the strangest thing I have eaten, but what is my new normal?