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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Unusual Edible Delicacies

If you are what you eat, and you want to be extraordinary, then you should try these delicacies. They are definitely out of the ordinary!Uncommon foods aren’t always found in trendy eateries or history books. There are many delicacies that may seem strange to us but are part of common consumption for certain societies, religions, or cultures around the world.

Although your digestive system can’t tell the difference between a fried egg and a fried grasshopper, your palate certainly can. And everyone’s palate is trained throughout their life to grow accustomed to certain foods and consider them ordinary. So although the contents of your dinner plate may be regular food for you, someone else may think you’ve lost your mind. There are many "strange" food items that are just regular parts of the menu for many people. Here are just a few.

Butchers in almost all countries throughout the Middle East sell lamb’s brains or calf’s brains, and they are commonly stewed and eaten. The eyeballs of a roasted lamb’s head are traditionally considered to be delicacies, and in Saudi Arabia they are offered to honored guests at dinner parties and banquets. Both Arabs and people in the western parts of China eat the humps, meat, and feet of camels, although they are extremely tough and taste sour. The feet can be boiled with various herbs and tossed with a vinaigrette dressing, and the hump is marinated before being roasted. Tibetan cooks use yak meat in stews. Because yaks are very old when they are slaughtered, the meat tends to be tough. Elephant meat, eaten in Asia and Africa, is also tough, but elephant trunks and feet are not.

British gypsies (Roma) consider hedgehog meat to be a delicacy. English pubs used to specialize in serving rooke pie, a dish made from crow’s meat, but now it is almost never served. However, many Europeans (Italians, French, Austrians, Germans, and Swiss) are quite fond of horsemeat. Canada is a major exporter of horsemeat as well as live horses. The meat tastes similar to beef, but has a finer texture. Donkey meat can be used primarily for making sausage.

In mountainous regions, goat meat is popular, and goat milk is used to make flavorful cheeses. Meat from wild goats tends to be tough, and therefore is usually stewed. Meat from farm-raised goats is more tender, and is popular among Caribbean people in North America. Curried goat is easy to find in special restaurants in big cities. In Mexico and Spain, the testicles of steers that have been killed in bullfights are grilled and served with butter or olive oil-based sauces. Beef stomach and tripe are considered to be good sources of protein, but are usually found only in butcher shops catering to low-income populations.

In South America and Central America, chefs use sautéed iguana meat in casseroles, considered a delicacy. In Australia, chopped and marinated kangaroo tail ragout and sugar ants are a special treat. Insects are popular menu items in many places. Japanese candymakers dip ants in chocolate, and fried grasshoppers are a popular taste treat in Africa. North American gourmet shops offer fried silkworms and caterpillars. In Africa and Asia, you can indulge in locusts served with wild honey, which are said to have the taste of shrimp. Snake meat is easy to find in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. Snake soup and sautéed snake meat are believed to ward off the common cold.

Some delicacies often consumed right here in the United States are still considered strange by many people. Alligator meat - both fresh and frozen - is easy to round in Florida and Louisiana. Meat from farm-raised alligators is mild and tastes like chicken, but the consistency is a bit tougher. Snails, or escargots, are popular all across the country, and not only in fine restaurants. Snail lovers consider them to be in the same food class as oysters and clams, only land-based.

North American health regulations prohibit importation of many exotic meats and food items, but there are many gourmet groceries in Miami, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Vancouver, and Montreal that carry at least some of these unusual delicacies. So the next time you’re tired of the same ordinary meat loaf and mashed potatoes for dinner, why not get adventurous? You only live once, so you might as well live it up and try something extraordinary for dinner!
By Buzzle Staff and Agencies
Published: 3/12/2010

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