We’ve covered global breakfasts, so we HAD to do the same for main/side meals in honour of our Poker Face video. In the most recent edition, the guys tried offal, aka edible animal organs, such as veal brains and sheep testicles! Whilst this is common practice in some countries, it can be unheard of and even deemed bizarre in others. For example, an extremely popular offal dish in the UK is steak and kidney pie, which combines diced beef, kidney, gravy and pastry. Whilst THIS is completely normal to us Brits, the idea of tucking into pig ears for dinner could have some running from the table! Without further ado, let’s take a deep foodie dive and celebrate weird, wonderful and fascinating dishes from across the globe…
Iconically, kangaroos are very well known to be Australia’s national animal. There are 50 million of them in the country, which is double the amount of residents! However, there is another interesting fact about Australia that may not have these kangaroos jumping for joy. Kangaroo meat is widely sold in some supermarkets, available to purchase online and order at restaurants – does anyone fancy a kangaroo burger? It is said that kangaroo meat is celebrated for its health benefits when compared to its red meat counterparts. It contains less than 2% fat, is high in protein and contains multiple vitamins and fatty acids. Did you also know that crocodile meat is available to purchase in places such as Australian supermarket, Coles? This includes slow cooked ‘crocodile green curry’ and ‘crocodile tail steak’!
This one really took us by surprise… Which is hard to do! In 2009, the Guinness World Book of Records dubbed casu marzu as the ‘world’s most dangerous cheese’ – but what exactly is it? Considered a delicacy in the Italian island of Sardinia, casu marzu, which translates to ‘rotten cheese’, is infested with… Wait for it… Maggots! This is considered to be a glorious treat for locals and even referred to as an aphrodisiac by some.
The process begins with cheese skipper flies laying eggs in the natural cracks of the cheese; typically Fiore Sardo. Maggots then hatch and make their way through the cheese, digesting the proteins in the process. This helps it to decompose and reach a soft and creamy texture. It is encouraged to eat the cheese whilst the maggots are still alive! Whilst no severe health cases have been linked to this food, it is advised that it be eaten at your own risk as it can present serious consequences. We would make a relevant pun right now, but that would be quite cheesy…
Don’t be alarmed by the name, these eggs are preserved for a long amount of time (weeks or even months), but nowhere near a century! Although, according to legends, these eggs do indeed date back to being discovered a century ago during the Ming Dynasty in China. They can also go by the name of ‘thousand-year’ or ‘millennium eggs’ and consist of chicken, duck or quail. The preservation mixture is made up of wood ash, salt, clay and quicklime – this causes it to become super darkened in colour. The appearance is usually a deep grey or green, with a jelly-like texture! Century eggs are known for their rich, strong taste and are enjoyed in many parts of Asia including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc. A typical way to serve up this EGGciting dish is as an appetizer with soy sauce, or alongside congee (a type of rice pudding).
We’ve picked something a little different here and gone for a dessert – but not as you may know it. What came to mind when you read the name? Akutuq is a native sweet dish from Alaska that has been around for many centuries. The twist? This frozen dessert traditionally consists of animal fat (e.g., from whales) and seal oil mixed together with flavourful berries and fresh snow! The ingredients have widely varied over time, with location being a large factor too. The beauty of akutuq is that it can’t be bought in store and is almost always homemade – making the process of eating and enjoying it just that much more sentimental.
Hákarl, aka a Greenland fermented shark, is the national dish of Iceland – this has been a huge attraction for tourists! The fermentation phase (a process of chemical change in food or drink), has the shark meat sliced, buried and then hung to dry in the open. This is to ensure that the dish is safe for consumption, given its toxic skin! However, because of this rigorous procedure, the smell of the meat is said to have a super strong ammonia smell – making it not one for the faint-hearted. The meat can vary from a more mild, fishy taste, all the way to strong ‘blue cheese’. The most interesting part? The aftertaste of the shark meat has been described as tasting like urine… Yes, you read that right! We guess this could explain why a shot of brennivín, Iceland’s signature drink that translates to ‘burning wine’, popularly follows the meal!