Monday, July 27, 2009

Exotic foods

People often ask me about the foods we eat while living over seas. Americans seem to be very interested in our food choices. They usually ask if we have eaten anything 'exotic'. I know that when they use the word 'exotic' they really mean 'gross', and I am unsure as to how to answer such a question!

The difficulty lies in the fact that everything is relative to where you are and what is available. I have eaten many things that most Americans have never tried and most would NOT try, but I would only classify a few as gross. And while you might think eating live worms is an exotic dish, in the jungle it was merely fast food!

Live earth worms collected by Jungle Mom and friends

I have eaten goat, which I do not considered gross, especially when prepared in a coconut sauce. Pigs stomach, tripe, would be my personal choice for the one of the grossest thing I have had to eat overseas. Or maybe intestines cooked while containing half digested food. This delicacy was once served to us by a church congregation as we were seated in the center and everyone else stood and watched us eat. I had a hard time getting it down without showing disgust on my face. It was served us in love and I tried to think of all that love as I chewed and swallowed, breathed deeply through my nose, chewed and swallowed. That meal took the most effort of anything I have ever attempted, including natural childbirth!

I have also eaten monkey, but unless it is smoked whole, it is fine. It tastes fine even when smoked but it does resemble a small child and...well, you can imagine.

A missionary friend purchases smoked monkey for dinner

Then there are the rodents we ate in the jungle, including the world's largest rodent, the capybera, but they are quite tasty and make a good home made breakfast sausage as well. However, the wild boar is delicious!

The Mighty Hunter, MissionaryWalt Mutti

Grub worms are not too bad, very greasy, but they fry up nice and crisp, sort of like bacon. Earth worms are best eaten smoked, so if ever asked your preference, remember, go for the smoked, not the raw or live worms. Think you can remember that?

Palm Grubs

Then there are the insects. Termites, ants and such are common in hot sauces and really add no taste just a bit of texture, so it's all good! I have not eaten tarantulas myself, but they are said to taste like shrimp!

Tarantula on a stick
(thanks to the Jank family for the photo)

I've eaten gator which is quite tasty. I even tasted jaguar, which grosses out the Ye'kwana indians. I never ate snake but I have watched it be eaten with relish by indians. It seemed yucky, but who knows?

'Nails'and the Mutti boys home from the hunt

Since living in Paraguay, I can not recall eating anything too exotic. Some of the food is great, some is bland, but it is all quite edible. I think the worse food I have had here was a hamburger served to me at Burger King in Asuncion. So far anyway...

I easily can recall the most exotic (gross) food I have ever had to eat in my life. It was when my grand mother made me eat pickled pigs feet once while visiting her in West Virginia!!!!

What is the most 'exotic' food you have ever eaten?


Betty W said...

I agree on those burgers!! Yuk!

Anonymous said...

That' some pretty nasty stuff, there.

Harry said...

Some of the foods you mentioned are kind of hard to find around here. Although ants and grubs are pretty easy. I don't think I'll be trying them any time soon . . . unless somebody dares me.

Hatless in Hattiesburg said...

i have had goat (tamales in santa fe nm) and wild boar (gourmet in houston tx), both of which were delicious. i can't remember having eaten any gross & exotic foods though - bugs, worms, etc. there are several grocery stores around here that sell tripe, tongue, & feet, and a couple that have whole pig heads for sale - none of which i have any interest in...

firepig said...

Rita, I don't think I could eat monkey...yuck.

In Venezuela I found the mondongo hard to take.When I first arrived I found my mother -in -law washing the tripe with blue soap-That was enough for me to reject it.You know how brown the tripe is there.It comes quite dirty.

But I think the most difficult aspect was when back in the 70's in Catia, the grocery store near us( Casa de los Chinos), was so dirty and full of flies , rotten smells, and hideous sights like piles and piles of bacalao covered in flies,that it would not have mattered if it were filet Mignon or ambrosia.I was turned off.

Brenda said...

In Peru they made goat with a cilantro sauce that was really, really good. The monkey would be hard. The hardest thing I ever had to eat was to drink a hot banana drink. Just grossed me out. You never know how something will hit you.

Heather Wheelock said...

I'm not sure you would classify it as gourmet, but we've eaten guinea pig here in Ecuador. The pictures are kinda gross, but I actually liked it.

MightyMom said...

gator is good! so is turtle soup and crawfish are fabulous! no matter how they're cooked! frogs legs are nothing to write home about, escargot (snail) is very nice...squid is only good if tender, otherwise I'd rather gnaw on a rubber band. and I love the mussel family.

I'd try your smoked worms...but not wiggling. ants...maybe...dead and in a sauce or something.

intestine with food inside?? ick. gag. ug.

Kimberly said...

Frog legs for me. Went frogging while very young.

Unknown said...

oh man!! I have been watching Survivor guy or whatever it´s called and watched him eat one of those palm grubs raw. eeeewwwww
I have eaten goat. Little goat. Cabrito. It´s so good!

Gutsy Living said...

When you eat worms etc., do you block the "thought" of what it is out of your mind? The monkey would be a tough one for me to eat.

Kate said...

Ant larvae (escamoles) in Mexico and guinea pig (curĂ­) in Colombia.

I actually liked both :)

Ryan said...

I ate some weird stuff some Assyrian Christians in Iraq made. It is probably a bad sign when they dish you up a bunch of something and laugh.