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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Weird Food

David Lebovitz, posted the question: what is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten? It’s a great read if you are currently dieting and need incentive to just drink a glass of water instead. In case you are a visual person and need photos, click on the links:

Here was my response to the question:

1) Shirako Soup at a Japanese sushi bar – its Cod fish sperm sac. Sushi chef say good for kinky kinky in bed. Did it work? No. All hype. Maybe a little barfy barfy in toilet but thats it. Photo of Cod Fish Sperm Sac (you know you want to click on that link to check it out)

2) I don’t know what the Vietnamese name for it is, but the duck egg with fetal duck still inside of it, totally formed with beak, feet, fur and all. Poached I think. Cut off the top of the egg shell, slurp out the remaining yolk/white and then scoop out the fetal duck and crunch and munch. Did I like it? No. I’d say that really grossed me out. Photo of Fetal Duck Egg Thingy

3) When we were little, Mom used to tell us to eat the Jelly soup. She called it Chinese Jelly. It took me 15 years to finally figure out what the Jelly was…..something about when the frogs spew eggs – the sac that the eggs all stay in is the “jelly.” Why on earth would my mother feed me such stuff? It really does explain my ability to touch my nose with my tongue. Photo of Frog Fallopian Tube Egg Jelly

4) The last time I went back to Hong Kong, my dad served an amazing feast to celebrate. Nothing says “Welcome to Hong Kong!” than a bowl of regurgitated bird saliva. Mmmm mmmm good. Now, I just want to know what my ancestors were snorting when they decided to climb up a dangerous mountainous cliff, scale the cave wall, sneak in and steal a bird’s nest, shimmy on down, run home and pick out the unwanted twigs to be left with the prize…..a glob of bird vomit that holds the nest together. Hmmm…lets make SOUP! Lets charge $1000 a pound for bird spit! Lets tell people its supposed to help your skin complexion! I think I’ll stick with my Oil of Olay. Smells better. Photo My Peeps Enjoying a Bowl of Bird Vomit

I’m curious to know if you can top any of those!?! Leave a comment!



39 Responses to “Weird Food”

  1. Courtney — 4/11/07 @ 11:43 pm

    Hey great blog! My boyfriend is from Hong Kong too. I’m sure he’d love if I tried some of your recipes. Last time I was over his parent’s house for dinner, his mother offered to make me some bird nest soup with the same ‘good for the skin’ claim. Luckily I knew what was really in the soup so I declined.

  2. Anne — 4/12/07 @ 6:13 am

    What is the weirdest food youve i’ve ever eaten? Pretty much anything i’ve cooked myself. You’ll just have to trust me here. If i became a cannibal or one of those freaky live monkey brain eaters, the meal would still be a step up from my meatloaf.

    Have a super day!

  3. Jaden — 4/12/07 @ 7:32 am

    Courtney – I just don’t know how they got the claim “good for your skin-ah!” :-) Email me if you ever have any questions re:recipes.

    Anne – you just made my morning smile!

  4. Sue Ann — 4/12/07 @ 5:38 pm

    GROSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t EVEN WANT TO KNOW what my mom fed me while in Thailand. I think i’m going to be sick. HEE HEE

  5. lindsay — 4/12/07 @ 9:58 pm

    Ah, the beauty of growing up in with Cantonese cuisine: that question never throws me, and whoever asks usually ends up with a startled look on their face!

  6. tigerfish — 4/13/07 @ 4:03 am

    I had goosepimples just by reading those…yeeks!

  7. Steve — 4/13/07 @ 12:59 pm

    Being married to a Filipina and living in the Philippines for four years, I can say without a doubt that I have sampled some of the wierdest food in the world. I love it, but I’m not sure I could even come close to explaining most of them. Blood soup probably tops the list, though. Ugh!
    Your #2 on the list sounds very similar to balut, which is fetal chicken egg (rather than duck) that has been roasted for several hours. Our daughter loves balut, too, and that’s usually the first thing she eats when we visit my wife’s family!

  8. Steve — 4/13/07 @ 1:06 pm

    You know, I really ought to click on the links before commenting on the posts… D’oh! Balut! MMM!

  9. Mamassage — 4/14/07 @ 12:29 am

    I am gagging here.
    It is evidently time to move on to your next post.
    It’s certain to be far more enticing.

  10. Steve (different Steve) — 4/16/07 @ 6:51 pm

    I thought balut was duck egg. There is a great blog all about eating weird foods (www.deependdining.com) that had a nice graphic post about balut a couple years ago. Here’s a link: http://tinyurl.com/ys99yo

  11. SteamyKitchen — 4/16/07 @ 11:18 pm

    Steve- thanks for the link. I just graphically relived step by step the grossest moment of my life! :-)

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  13. Eddie Lin — 5/2/07 @ 12:07 pm

    How about a weird way to eat normal food?

    http://www.deependdining.com/2007/04/good-food-cold-sushi-hot-bodies.html

    Great blog you have! Good luck!

  14. SteamyKitchen — 5/2/07 @ 2:46 pm

    Eddie- I’ve been a DED groupie for awhile now!!!

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  19. Lee Ping Chong — 7/20/07 @ 1:17 am

    I have eaten frogs, snails, bird’s nest (your number 4), liver, blood, intestine, chicken feet, and cockroach’s soup.

    My husband and I almost ate snake soup but walked away after seeing how the snake was being hammered to death.

  20. Kitt — 7/20/07 @ 3:34 am

    How about silkworms? I had them several times in northern China and even cooked them once (cooking tip: the ones that don’t wiggle in the wok should be thrown out).

    They have a crispy skin with innards the consistence of hard scrambled eggs plus a little chewy thing in the middle. You bite the end off, squeeze the innards into your mouth and discard the skin. Tastes a bit like chicken livers.

    Mmmmmmm.

    (Oh hey, I just discovered you can buy them canned!
    http://www.slashfood.com/images/2005/10/silkworms.jpg )

  21. Regina — 7/24/07 @ 3:11 pm

    HA! You think growing up Chinese is hard with cuisine, try Hungarian! I have eaten tongue (both beef & calves), the wonder that is headcheese (love it), pickled pigs feet and knuckles (have to admit as a kid i just loved these things), tapurkie (which is nothing more than fried and salted chicken skin, very tasty), oh and my personal favorite chicken bones – yuck! my grandmother used to make me eat them, she said the little ones you just pop in your mouth and crunch away, the larger ones you had to bites and suck on… yeah I’m good eating around the bone thank you! And a myriad of other strange European foods that I am probably better off never knowing about, as long as it tastes good ignorance is bliss. :)
    BTW love your blog, recipes and photos are great!

  22. jamie anne — 12/14/07 @ 1:54 pm

    i’m surprised though, that you jaden of all people wouldn’t eat swallows nest… yet i have to admit, i always thought people wre joking about them being saliva and explaining that they had to be a type of seaweed…

    Filipinos have a hype for “weird”, per say, foods…

    barbequed pig ears
    dinuguan (literally Blood dripped – stew with goat and pigs guts and the blood as extra flavoring)
    Balut – the unborn-chick-in-the-egg thing… very common back home…
    stewed sweet-and-savory pig’s feet
    lengua
    snails in coconut milk with fresh baby wild fern
    and our very own, SOUP NUMBER FIVE aka beef broth with veggies and bull BALLS… uhuh. sounds good huh? the balls taste sorta of chewy and the thought of eating them not so pleasant, but the soup is tasty!

  23. lunarennui — 1/17/08 @ 8:04 am

    Try pickled moose tongue.

  24. Marvin — 3/16/08 @ 7:05 am

    I don’t know how I got here, but once I did, I could not leave! Excellent! I can’t wait to get home and bloody cook something!

  25. courtney — 3/23/08 @ 1:11 pm

    Im pretty game for anything although these were odd.. Just tell me after I eat it. The pictures make it look appetizing !

  26. just read this
    and jaden?
    you TOTALLY FUCKING WIN

  27. Dan — 5/21/08 @ 1:51 pm

    Hmm, I lived in Korea for over 4 years while teaching English and got to eat a whole lot of weird food. I ate stranger food than my wife who is Korean.
    1. Dog. Let’s not get hasty here folks. They raise a breed of dog that is used for boshintang and other dog stews. Supposedly good for “stamina” and many other health issues. I never heard of anyone being helped by it. So, get over it, they’ve been eating it for a looong time. On another note, look back in the history books and see what the Norweigians ate when they won the race to the South Pole. Can you guess what type of “power” the Norwegians used for their sleds?! Yep, dogs. Can you guess what happened to the doggies who perished? Yep, they were made into a stew that the explorers and the other dogs ate.
    2. Sea slug, sea cucumber, sea, aww hell, if it was oozing across the sea floor, it was in a tank to be on a dinner plate. Although the live octopus is still one of my favorites in the fish markets. They take a live octopus, hack the tentacles off and put them on a searing hot plate and deliver the plate to your table. The tentacles are still squirming on the hot plate. Make sure to crunch down on them or they will stick to the sides of your mouth.
    3. Not in the weird dept, but one of the tastiest. Free-range, grass fed hogs from Cheju Island. Man, too tasty to even write about. The hogs run around eating the sweetgrass on the farms. Anyways, sliced thin and eaten Korean style.
    4. Kangaroo in Sydney. Very red, dry, meat. Kinda like mutton.
    5. I had the fish egg sac soup in Korea until I just couldn’t take it anymore. I can’t stand the sight or smell of the stuff. Wife and her folks love it, makes me want to blech everywhere.
    6. Of course, the late night drinking street food, chicken feet, grilled chicken innards/gizzards, intestines, and other parts of the beast/fowl that you don’t find in the supermarket.
    That’s all I can think of in this short break that I ate whil living in Korea and traveling around Asia.
    Keep up the great work Jaden. I love your writing style and great recipes you provide.
    Thanks,

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  30. michelle — 3/16/09 @ 4:31 am

    (3) & (4)
    Hashima and ‘bird’s nest’ aka swallow spit = I .. actually quite like those. The items themselves are tasteless, its the broth/syrup whatever that I like. I never knew what Hashima was, and when I did – I just let it process in my mind, and carried on eating.

    Dried Fish Floating Bladder – Love this in the steamboat – chicken stock, cabbage, fishballs, meatball, mushrooms, sea cucumber and the fish floater. Yum.
    Yesh – I love sea cucumber as well.

  31. Hanna — 3/24/09 @ 10:36 pm

    Hi,

    I just wanted to add a few more weird Korean foods:

    1) Silkworm larva. They’re boiled in a big pot, and their odor is one thing I can count on to gross out any and all of my friends who come visit.

    2) Sparrow. Yes, as in the little bird. I think it’s much less common now than it was in the past. You’re supposed to just crunch through the whole thing, although the head was left out of the eating in my group.

    3) Cow or pig intestines. It’s normally fried on a pan at your table.

    4) As aforementioned, chicken cast-offs. I’d like to add chicken gullets, simply because the Korean name threw me off the first time. Literally translated, it’s something like “poop house”.

    And as an aside, is it an East Asian thing to believe in certain foods as “good for your skin”? Impossible beauty marketing seems to thrive in Korea. Example? “Drink this corn husk tea! It’ll give you cheekbones/melt away chipmunk cheeks!” (Rough translation as they actually like to use the term “V-line”.)

  32. Jorge — 5/19/09 @ 11:57 pm

    Well, I’m half mexican, half nicaraguan. Visiting my grand parents in Managua my cousins tricked me into eating armadillo and iguana, which they wouldn’t touch. They’re actually delicious. I also found out I’m allergic to ants by eating them dipped in chocolate in southern mexico… let’s see… I’ve also tried a variety of insects traveling through mexico, like maguey worms (they taste like butter and nuts), crickets (amazingly lemonny) and ant larvae (nutty, too)…. oooo and let’s not forget river crabs. They’re called alcauciles here, and are pretty much the missing linkbetween the cockroach and the softshell crab….

    I guess it’s better to try this shit and actually have some evidence before stating an opinion

    You only live once!

    Ps…. rattlesnake in northern mexican mountains is also great

  33. Kath — 3/30/10 @ 9:50 am

    I didn’t know such weird taste treats existed! Sea urchin sushi is as far as I’ve gone. (Ain’t it grand to be Irish!)

  34. Brighid — 6/30/10 @ 2:33 pm

    I saw people eating seahorses and starfish in china… I can’t imagine how to actually eat those :s

  35. szssgy — 11/9/10 @ 2:50 am

    delicious food

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  38. Lee — 6/5/12 @ 4:29 am

    The most bizarre food I’ve eaten is dancing prawn salad. Live baby prawns are mixed up with a spicy sauce, noodles and vegetables and served immediately. It’s not easy keeping the prawns on your spoon as they are jumping all over the place. I can’t say that it tastes that nice either.

  39. Jared — 5/20/14 @ 7:11 pm

    I once at a raw, bloody coyote heart. He was hit on the highway, and I stopped and cut out his heart. It’s actually not that gross, but my dad was kind of disgusted.

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