Being a massive foodie, I take great pleasure in experiencing wonderfully strange and interesting foods. I’d like to share with you a few of my favourites from around the world and maybe even persuade you go and discover some strange new nosh for your own taste buds to experience. You never know, you might come across your own weird favourite!
I want to begin here, because first of all it is somewhere I am now very familiar with from family holidays, but also it is a quick train ride away from capital to capital, so you can easily pop over and try some French delights!
Now the most obvious French ‘weird’ food is escargots (known to us Brits as snails). There’s definitely a hype behind this delicacy but in all honesty, if these little slugs haven’t been slathered in garlic butter there really is not much to them. Another, less widely talked about food, which you will often be able to buy at the ‘boucherie’ is sheep brain. Yes, you can turn up your nose at the thought, but have it gently pan-fried on toast and you have got yourself a killer starter.
Quick stop in the Netherlands, go and visit any food market and you will find a shop/stand that serves smoked herring with raw onions and gherkins. Possibly the Dutch version of marmite, it is definitely an acquired taste, but take a leap and become a fish fanatic!
My mum’s side of the family come from this incredibly diverse and cultural country and it is not short of unusual foods. Biltong is a snack favourite. At first glance you may think it is just a funny name for beef jerky but there are a few differences which ultimately make the SA snack the more superior of the two; biltong is gently flavoured with salt, vinegar and spices while jerky has a smoky taste; you can then choose on a scale of chewy to dry, and lastly, biltong is hanged to dry from raw therefore containing its flavours, whereas jerky is cooked in a dehydrator for 6-12 hours. I challenge you jerks to resist conversion! My second South African selection is bunny chow. Don’t worry, no rabbits are harmed in the process! Hailed from Indian South Africans in Durban, this dish consists of a hollowed out loaf of white bread and generously filled with curry. I’m surprised this is not more widely served because who doesn’t love bread or curry?!
Rambutan is a Southeast Asian fruit which comes from the Malaysian word rambut, meaning “hair.” Before you squirm at the idea of eating hair, stop panicking – that is just the outer shell. Inside is a white sweet deliciousness. The closest resemblance to this exotic fruit is a lychee: also a much underrated fruit gem.
Finally let’s talk about sausages. Forget the popular bratwurst you can buy at ANY shop or stand across Germany. Forget those boiled hotdog frankfurters that get drowned in ketchup. Be more adventurous and try some blutwurst. This translates to ‘blood sausage’ and it is so tasty. Even though you can find blood sausage all over the world (black pudding is an essential to a proper English breakfast), I thought that where best to begin than amongst a country of sausage lovers.