8 Amazing, Exotic, Bizarre Foods You Need to Try
I think everyone can agree that one of the most exciting aspects of traveling near or far is the food. I know I’m not alone in this gluttony, so please hold on to your forks, and pull up your adult diapers, because I’m about to take your mouth on an adventure around the world — with my thoughts on which foods are the wildest & best tasting. Oh, my wife and I have been traveling full time since 2014 — so we’ve had some time to dip our toes in here and there.
Of course, we’re working with a list of 8 here, and there are infinitely more foods out there that might make your average Joe double over — rotting fish and duck fetus anyone? I’ve picked out some that hopefully you know less about, AND that you would stuff your face with 100 times over.
Urojo — Zanzibar
What’s in your mouth?: Urojo is a brothy lemon / mango / coconut soup, filled with boiled potatoes, fried potatoes, fried lentils, and then topped with a few skewers of freshly grilled chicken or beef, lime juice, and local crispy potato chip crumbles. Add one or two mystery, spicy chutneys to your liking.
Stone Town, Zanzibar @heyheyandrew
Where do you get it?: Stone Town, Zanzibar from a little one or two-man cart plopped on any dirty alley. The ceramic plates should be hand dipped (washed?) in a water bucket after each patron imbibes. Soap? Nah. Oh, I’ll add that I’ve never actually seen the broth directly over a heat source, so yeah it’s just around lukewarm. Visit our friends at the Zan View Hotel & they will hook you up with the best Urojo spots on the Island!
What happens when you put it in your mouth?: Your whole day gets fucked up, and although it’s 100 degrees out (38 C) you order two more bowls, as your mind can’t comprehend this perfect blend of salty, sour, tangy, crunchy, tender, and juicy deliciousness. Immediately search for the nearest guy pressing fresh sugar cane juice (with ginger and lime obv), so that you don’t die of heat exhaustion. Pee for 3 hours straight.
Coxinha de Frango — Brazil
What’s in your mouth?: A crispy golden ball with a gooey middle. Outside: Deep fried, breaded (panko crusted if you want to be Gucci with it), dough (made with chicken broth and sometimes potato). Inside: Shredded chicken, Brazilian-style Catupiry cheese, onion, parsley, scallions, and secret seasonings.
Where do you get it?: Most restaurants in Brazil will have some version of Coxinha, and most of them are average to below average, but still worth trying (cover it in the red and white Arabe sauces you’ll find everywhere). If you’re lucky enough to be in Sao Paulo, here’s where you get the best coxinha money can buy: Bar Veloso, Vila Mariana Also, drink one of the world’s best maracuja caipirinhas and try the Esfiha, too.
What happens when you put it in your mouth?: You have to go have a cigarette because your mouth hasn’t been made love to like that since you practiced kissing “Zack Morris/Kelly Kapowski” aka, your childhood pillow, in the 90s. The golden crusted outer layer offers a perfect balance to the gooey mix of spicy chicken and cheese hidden inside this savory Cadbury egg. This is the perfect way to wash down those five sugary passion fruit caipirinha you drank for breakfast you glutton.
Shiro (or Shiro Wat) — Ethiopia
What’s in your mouth?: I still don’t exactly know. Let me go google it. Ok, so looks like it’s chickpea or broad bean powder stewed with onions, garlic, and sometimes tomato, and seasoned with ginger and chili peppers. Best damn beans I ever shit out 5 hours later in my life. Worth, every, squeeze.
Where do you get it?: Luckily, virtually every Ethiopian restaurant around the world ‘should’ have Shiro. It might be an “Ethiopians only menu” item, but if you ask for it, you look really hip and cultured, and they will probably hook you up.
What happens when you put it in your mouth?: Literally want to punch someone in the head right now because every thing feels so good and you’re invincible. Do it. Your dinner date has probably been annoying you all night because they had to eat with their hands. Go find new friends who don’t mind getting up to their wrists in food with you. You deserve better.
Springbok — South Africa
What’s in your mouth?: An antelope. Just a little guy, they get about a meter tall, antlers and all, and have a distinct black stripe down their sides. You’re eating the muscles of a dead one.
Where do you get it?: The major South African cities and tourists destinations will all have “game meat” restaurants. If you can find a higher-end local restaurant — often of Italian or French cuisine (or a Sushi spot), they may prepare a world class Springbok Carpaccio, for a bit of ZA flavor. Alternatively, eat it on a skewer, or any way that’s been on the braai (BBQ).
What happens when you put it in your mouth?: Stay far away from guns and long range weapons, because once you eat this, you will want to kill and taste the insides of every animal you’ve ever seen. Why does it taste so good? I don’t get it. What does a raccoon taste like? What does my cat taste like? I’M GOING TO EAT ALL THE ANIMALS!!!! Go vegan for sixty days to rebalance your life.
Pani Puri — India
What’s in your mouth?: I still don’t exactly know, but my local friends say it’s spiced mashed potatoes, and a spoonful of flavored water (tamarind, lime, chili), inside a deep-fried crisp (a Pani).
Where do you get it?: You’ll see countless food stands on the streets of Delhi, Mumbai, central, western, and eastern parts of India. Easy to spot as they have huge stacks of hundreds of little golden balls hanging off of the cart, likely with the text PANI PURI splattered all over it.
What happens when you put it in your mouth?: If you’re reading this, hopefully you’ve sat on a few curries in your life — a chicken tikka masala, vindaloo — all standard. And I trust you’ve put a Kati roll and some samosas in your face. Most of us are comfortable with the general concept of Indian food, but there’s something special that happens when you’re on a filthy back street in Jaipur, standing next to a cow covered in feces at 2am, and a guy digs into a deep pot, pulls out a three-finger wad of potato goop, puts it inside a little crispy ping-pong-ball with a hole in the top, then ladles a spoon of mystery liquid from his second pot, and then puts that little nugget in the back of your throat and you don’t die the next day. SO. STINKING. DELICIOUS. Now reflecting, was it the Pani Puri that was delicious, or that guy’s fingers? I’ll return with an answer after deeper contemplation. Anyways, please put another in my mouth, mister.
Shakshuka — Israel
What’s in your mouth?: A dead simple concoction that’s all about the preparation. Pan fry some onions, garlic, and fresh chilies until gangster, then add ripe, diced red tomato and tomato paste, heavily seasoned to your liking (paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper). Simmer it down to a thick paste then plop a few fresh eggs to poach on top. Cover until perfect. Add fresh basil leaves and cilantro like a boss, and then crush that pot with some warm pita and write me a thank you letter.
Where do you get it?: This dish is more traditionally Arab, but has become a breakfast staple (if you can find it) from Morocco to Israel. In my experience, most restaurants totally ruin this dish, and you’re best off finding someone’s grandmother to make it for you, or sack up and make it yourself. Make sure you make it saucy, not that dried up crusty garbage. Recipes here: http://bfy.tw/1dj5
What happens when you put it in your mouth?: Fuck “English breakfast.” Fuck omelets. You’ve always had all of these ingredients in your fridge your entire life, so why has the world been holding you back all this time?? Go search for answers to figure out why no one has ever given you creative freedom for breakfast. Climb a mountain, ask the gods, and tell your parents you’re mad at them. Breakfast is great again. Remember who sent you.
Tea Leaf Salad — Myanmar
What’s in your mouth?: If you just looked, and didn’t google it, you’d never know. But obviously tea leaves?? Fermented Tea leaves actually, onion, garlic, oil, peanuts, sesame seeds, cabbage, shrimp powder, lime… Looks seriously gross, see \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/
Where do you get it?: This is classic street food in Myanmar (Burma), so you don’t typically get it in restaurants — but it’s possible. Wandering around any main city in Myanmar, you’ll come upon a food stand that has it. It will likely be served to you in a little plastic baggy — the poor man’s ziplock, with that fold-over bit. In SE Asia, you know you’re about eat some delicious gangster shit if it comes in a little plastic baggy. If it looks like cow cud mushed at the bottom of the baggy, then your mind is about to be blown with the delicious taste of Tea Leaf Salad.
What happens when you put it in your mouth?: On first bite you can’t figure out if you hate it or love it. It’s an overly soggy salad (like eating cooked spinach that’s become cold) with an odd combination of ingredients, but after your third bite your inner Action Bronson comes out and you’re like FUCKKK that’s delicious. You hate looking at it, but don’t worry, you’ll be done eating your second baggy in 4 minutes. Trusss!
Tarantula — Cambodia
What’s in your mouth?: A spider as big as your hand. Unless you’re Donald Trump, then it’s a spider a bit bigger than your hand. (yes, I have a complete lack of class)
Where do you get it?: Oddly enough, both street vendors AND actual restaurants in Cambodia will sell you the furry spider.
What happens when you put it in your mouth?: I hate spiders. I punch them. I love animals and try not to kill them, heck I went full veg for like 6 months, but I punch spiders in the head. All the spiders. Punched in the head. So what could be better than the ultimate murder? The wifey and I went full lady and the tramp, she got the head and I took the butt, and ate a monster spider in unison. The reality is that they deep fry the living and dead shit out of them, so with no shit left inside, it’s like eating a black potato chip with legs. Pretty damn good. Where’s the Sriracha?
This took a really long time and far too much energy to write. I have a new respect for Journalists. Can I add that to my Linkedin profile now? You better go make my efforts worthwhile by eating some of this food.
I cut this list down from ~20 of our most notable international foods, so stay tuned to learn more of what your hot mouth’s been missing. In the meantime, go fill your face with the first 8, and come join us on Instagram. @travelingbetches and @heyheyandrew
***The Blonde & The Beard. The anti-travel blogger bloggers. No #blessed #yoga #luxurytravel #learingshit, but we hope you have a good time. Follow the blog at www.AandATakeTheWorld.com, Instagram @travelingbetches and @heyheyandrew, Snapchat @AdrienneMcDeazy and @heyheyandrew