What's the strangest thing you've eaten?

Raquel StecherAbout Me
Blogger at Thoughtful Eating and Vintage Brand New. Please add my to your circles.

*WARNING: If you are Vegan, do not, I repeat DO NOT, read this post.

My father is from Portugal and my mother is from the Dominican Republic and I was born and raised in the U.S. So needless to say, with the cuisines from 3 different countries (and much more via friends, family, restaurants, etc.), I did not grow up to be a picky eater. When I was a child, I ate everything. I was pretty adventurous. Not to say I didn't give my parents a difficult time like most kids do when it comes to food. My only thing was that I wasn't a member of the clean-plate club. So while my parents struggled to get me to eat enough, they never had to struggle to get me to try new things because there were always new and different things to try.

So I started thinking about the strange stuff I've eaten. When I say "strange", I just mean your average American doesn't consume these things on a regular basis or at all.

Goat 



~ My dad cooked Goat a few times for the family. I haven't had it in eons and am curious to try it again as an adult. I just remember the meat being very very red, very fibrous and it having a really strong taste.


Rabbit


source: iFood.tv

~ my neighbor used to buy rabbits by the crate full and would kill them in his garage. He would resell to Portuguese families in the area but would sometimes give us one for free. Unfortunately, I watched him kill about 30 rabbits once and skin them. Not one of my fondest memories. I can't say I would eat rabbit again. I remember it distinctly tasting like a cross between wild game poultry and goat meat. I hope my vegan friend who owns a lovely pet rabbit will not read this and disown me!

Pigs Ears



~ gross huh? As an adult, I see pig ears as a dry treat for dogs. As a child and a teen, I used to eat them boiled and very rarely with sauce. I preferred them to pig feet which I thought were plain gross. Pig ears are fleshy on the outside and they have a layer of crunchy-chewy cartilage in the middle. If you are particular about texture, these are not for you. I had a pigs ear once that had hair still attached. I was traumatized and couldn't eat them ever again.

Chicken Feet



~ Can't say I ever cared for these. I tried them a few times but they are really skin on bone. Not much too them. My mom, however, grew up eating Chicken Feet in soup. Whenever we would go to the Dominican Republic (or even in Portugal sometimes), she would always ask for Chicken Foot soup with extra chicken feet.

Chicken Hearts



source: Law & Food

~ In a third-world country, you eat ALL the parts of the animal. Nothing goes to waste. My mother brought this mentality with her when she moved to the States. She would cook chicken hearts sometimes . She either saved the hearts from whole chickens or would buy a pack of them separately. I remember they were always fried and served with rice. I enjoyed them and would eat them again if given the opportunity. Not sure I would cook them myself though.

Snails


Source: Catavino

~ As a young girl, I remember visiting Portugal and seeing snails. Everywhere! Especially on the sides of houses. How do you control the population of snails? Eat them! Escargot is popular in Portugal. You can snack on them like beer nuts at your local Portuguese bar. I thought they were interesting but not worth the effort of fishing them out of their shells. I would have them again if I went back to Europe.

Beef Tripe




~ Mondongo is a Latin American recipe popular in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic. Traditionally it consists of beef tripe cooked in a tomato broth and served with garbanzo beans or some type of tuber like potatoes or yucca. It's pretty tasty over all but I could never get over the texture of the tripe. However, I am really interested in trying to cook this myself. Or at least having it again after so many years.

Beef Tongue


Beef Tongue


~  Do you hate me yet? Beef Tongue is a Portuguese & Latina American delicacy. Lengua (tongue) is boiled, the skin & bristle removed and then sliced and usually slow cooked in a soup or stew. Or at least in some sauce. I honestly don't even remember what it tastes like. But I do have a distinct memory of my mom bringing a big old cow tongue home from the grocery store.

Octopus



~ We eat this every Christmas! Check out my family's Christmas spread in my post about last year's holiday feast. My dad buys octopus frozen and has a special technique for boiling it. He cools off the hot octopus and dresses it with vinegar, olive oil, onions and garlic. It's very tasty.


Squid with ink


Source: Wikipedia

~ Lulas guisadas - Stewed Calamari is one of my absolute favorite Portuguese dishes. I ate it so often as a child and teenager. It's difficult to get the authentic stuff in the States unless you make it yourself or go to a Portuguese restaurant that knows what they are doing. Last time I was in Lisbon, I was adventurous and had some of my dad's Lula dish. The difference between these lulas and lulas guisadas? The calamari rings were bathed in the Squid's own ink. Blech. It was horrible. The ink tasted like liquid char. Pass.

Eels



~ Whenever we went out to a restaurant in Portugal, my dad just had to order eel stew (caldeira de enguias) at least once. And he would always complain "mais enguias!" (more eel!). I know I've had them numerous times as a child (both in a stew and fried) but honestly I don't remember what they taste like. Most likely, the flavor and texture is akin to a dense fish like mahi-mahi but with a more fishy taste.

Fish Heads


Source: Noob Cook

~ Well, to be honest. I really mean Fish eyes because Fish heads don't have much going for them. I didn't like eating fish heads as a child. My dad would fry whole fish and leave the heads on. Out of curiosity, I would eat an eye or two. Not one of my best moments.

So what's the strange thing you've eaten?

7 comments:

BillyBites said...

I've had rabbit, but I think the strangest would be something called "Kokoretsi". Its a greek word, look it up on the web and check out my lamb post for greek easter to see a pic

Athena Ortiz said...

Ive had octopus and squid with ink.
Also on a trip to spain as a youngster, I happened upon a slaughterhouse and had the exact same experience that you did, rabbits hanging everywhere - It scarred me for life.. You are very brave to try all those foods. I have mental blocks against eating certain things...
Cheers!

Thomas Pluck said...

Haven't had tripe, but I ate all the rest and more. Good stuff. :)

In Japan I had eel brains at a place that serves exclusively eel. Every part. Also fish milt, the sperm ducts. I've had gator but not snake. Louisiana gator is good. Also love sea snail, Italian scungilli salad. Delish :)

Jonas Nordin said...

Haha! Great post!
I don't know if I can contribute with anything particularly spectacular. Living in France for some time makes you taste a lot of the oddities you mention, oysters, snails, frogs, all sorts of intestines, tripe, kidneys, tongues, tails and such. To stand out I think I have to mention some odd Swedish things I have tasted over the years. Moose is a classic autumn meat, not even considered strange here. Bear and beaver are more difficult to find but still quite common in stews during wintertime. Heavily smoked heart of reindeer is a northern specialty. The weirdest dish we have here must be the fermented herring which both smells and tastes like death. My dad and sister love the stuff but I usually quickly leave the premises when those cans are to be consumed. The smell is so foul that you have to eat the stuff outside. Swedish people living abroad usually get a visit by the police when opening cans of fermented herring.

Raquelle said...

Billy - I just looked up Kokoretsi. wow! A little too much meat for me. Don't think I could stomach it.

Athena - I was braver as a child & teenager I suppose. Now I'll try different cuisines but I'm not so brave with my meat options.

Thomas - Eel brains! What does Gator taste like?

Jonas - Oh yes frogs! I almost ate those once but not quite. It's worse once you've dissected one in school. They don't look appetizing after you've examined the muscles with a scalpel. Wow Moose. What does that taste like? You've told me about the fermented herring of death. Pass!

Jonas Nordin said...

Rapid fire!
Moose is a great meat for stews. But it's definitely possible to grind it and make moose burgers and sausages. Boeuf Bourgignon and other slow cooked beef stews however, are perfect.

Moose is not that tender and doesn't contain much fat so it has to cook for quite a while. Tastewise it is quite like beef with just a hint of game, very tasty indeed.

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I've eaten all those things too! I'm from the Philippines and we certainly have a lot of "exotic" items. I think the strangest thing I've had (and actually liked) is calves brains :p

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