It seems like the past little while all I’ve been talking about is food, so I figured why not continue with the trend!
Whenever I travel I try to sample some of the local cuisine, and boy have I had some strange stuff! During my crazy Euro Trip back in 2012, I had a few tasty (and some not-so-tasty) treats during my adventures. If you’re heading to any of these places and feel like being adventurous, try some! It’s fun, and you may just discover something delicious. If you’re not a fan of it, well, knowing what you don’t like is just as important as knowing what you do!
So this one isn’t so weird as it is just a little on the gross side. For me, the thought of eating a snail was a little nasty. France has made it a delicacy however, so what better place to try it than in the beautiful city of Paris? My friend I was staying with took my travel partner and I to a local French restaurant where we all split one. Even though she was born in France she had never tried it herself! Naturally I forced her into it, and I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t know if it was the fact that it was smothered in pesto and garlic butter… actually yes that was probably the reason now that I re-read that statement… but it was delicious! The escargot itself was a little chewy, but not unlike that of squid. I definitely devoured my fair share, and I would try it again! Although my opinion may change if prepared differently, but for now I’m a fan.
Pretty simple: sausage, curry powder, and ketchup. Welcome to the street meat of Germany! In all honesty, I wasn’t the biggest fan. For me the curry powder mixed with the sausage almost made it taste somewhat sweet… an odd taste for a sausage. I don’t know if I was over-thinking it or if my stomach actually wasn’t a huge fan, but I think I’ll stay away from this one. Although I do enjoy curry much more now than when I tried it, so maybe it’s time for another chance… time will tell! Also, please excuse the embarrassing picture of me.
Hungary’s Véres Hurka
For anyone who is a meat and potatoes kind of kid, Hungary is most definitely the place for you. Vegetarians? …good luck. I’m not joking. I had a tour guide laugh at someone who asked for vegetarian places in Budapest because it’s just not a part of their culture. I digress, back to meat talk. My love for paprika was sparked by the amazing chefs of Budapest, however I unfortunately discovered that my stomach is not cast iron. The blood sausage of Hungary is a strange little creature, almost having a smokey sort of burnt taste. It is exactly as it sounds… blood boiled into more of a paste and made into a sausage. I wasn’t a fan and only got through half the portion, and even that came back to bite me later on which led to a short night with porcelain being my best friend. So I plan to stay away from that evil blood sausage next time I’m in town. That means more other deliciousness for me! Also for your information, the blood sausage is the top left one that’s really dark.
Now this is one I had a bit of trouble choking down, mainly for the texture. A mixture of sheep innards (heart, liver, lungs) that’s seasoned and boiled into a paste-like consistency. I’m not usually a fan of anything in paté form (especially meat), but Haggis was just plain weird. It was almost slimy as well as mushy. In all honesty, I can’t even describe how it tastes… I think my brain has just naturally blocked it from my memory.
Probably one of the more creepy-looking foods I’ve eaten, but surprisingly delicious! I was a fan of this from my first bite, and had it every chance I could while in Spain. These little baby eels have a very mild taste, not fishy at all or anything like that, often lightly sautéed in garlic before being served. When I first had it, they were served on some fresh bread with a tempura zucchini, but when served alone, a special wooden fork is given to you as the metal of a traditional fork can take away from the taste! Overall in my opinion, as long as you can get past how they look, I think you’d enjoy it!
Now there’s a reason I saved Iceland for last, because man those Vikings ate some weird things!! Iceland’s traditional dish, fermented shark, consists of a sleeper shark that’s been prepared with a traditional fermenting process and then hung to dry for 4-5 months. It has a very recognizable ammonia smell, and boy can you smell this thing coming! The actual shark itself I found didn’t have much taste to it, but it’s hard to get it down with that smell attacking your nostrils! Definitely not for the faint of heart. Also, don’t let the picture fool you – the dish is about the size of one you’d get for dipping sauce.
Another odd dish to come out of the little island is Sviðasulta, or Sheep Head Jelly. About as appetizing as it sounds, it’s another traditional Icelandic dish that’s served during their traditional mid-winter celebration. Sviðasulta is made by taking the meat from a sheep’s head after it has been boiled and then pressed into moulds. This paté is another acquired taste I’d say, and one that I don’t really wish to. You can also have this delicacy in another form – the actual sheep’s head – which I might be more opt to try. Even though it’s served as is (eyeballs and all), the texture of the sheep head jelly is mainly what got to me. When eaten with turnip and all the other fixings that came with it, I was able to get it down.
Some good and some bad, but I think I’d have to try them all again one more time… except maybe the Haggis. My tastes have definitely changed since I tried all of these, so maybe I’ll surprise myself and actually find a place in my heart for them!
What weird worldly foods have you tried?