The anticipation of a meal – the wonderful aromas, glistening colours, textures – and then the flavours. Eating is undoubtedly one of the most sensational activities ever, yet the experience is amplified tenfold amongst ‘different’ cultures and places. Indeed, some of the most enjoyable and downright despicable experiences I’ve ever had involve food and travel. Here’s a few of my more memorable adventures.
Stuart’s Well, Northern Territory
Without a doubt, my worst eating experience ever was in Stuart’s Well, a small town about 80 kilometres south of Alice Springs. Here my bushman friend Luke grabbed a kangaroo tail out of the freezer and threw it straight on the fire, skin and all. Shortly after, he grabbed the crispy appendage and began engaging in vigorous typewriter-style nibbles, much like one would on a corn cob. I tried the same, however the tough skin, burnt hairs and appalling smell thrust me into the corners of culinary despair. Never again.
Excited by the festivities of Guadalajara, in Mexico, I decided the time was ripe to engage in a bit of swine offal in a small café. Pork brains were on the menu and being adventurous (at least I thought so) I decided to chew on them wholeheartedly. These battered and deep-fried brains tasted like whopping balls of crispy-coated snot. While not the most delightful meal I’ve had, it certainly was a memorable experience.
On a visit to Bangkok, I sat down expectantly with a bag of fried grasshoppers and a few tiger beers. The waitress quickly showed me how to twist off the head and munch away, which I did happily through about 50 locusts. It was a rather pleasant sensation that went well with a beer. Although my partner thought I was disgusting.
Closer to home, I entered the post office in Scamander on the east coast of Tasmania. This shop contained an adventurous train set that chugged over people’s heads, along with a curious collection of native pies. Some of the more memorable were the wallaby, rabbit, crocodile and scallop pies. The wallaby pie tasted a little gamey, yet uber-flavoursome, the crocodile pie tasted like chicken with more funk, and the scallop pie – well, one bite sent me all over Tasmania searching for these little sensations, which I’ve written about here, and here.
What are some of the more ‘exotic’ foods you’ve tried travelling? I’d love to hear about them!