When I travel, I make it a point to find something weird to eat. I’d prefer it not be something I can get just anywhere – I scoured Web sites for a way to get a fresh black sapote fruit here in Arizona, but no dice: I had to chase that all the way to Cape Tribulation in Queensland, Australia.
But I encounter the weirdest purely by accident. Here are a few wild foods that can delight or disgust, depending on your palette.
Dangerous Delectables from Down Under
As you might guess, they’ll eat just about anything in New Zealand – especially it’s #1 pest,
the imported possum. While exploring the South Island of New Zealand, be sure to stop in Pukekura at the Sandfly Cafe. There, you can sample a personal-sized possum pie. Yeah, it’s a big ol’ ratlike marsupial. But, as Naked Bus driver Renee says, “It’s easy to eat!” It really doesn’t taste that different from beef. But you know it’s possum, and that makes it fun.
Australia gets two entries on my list of must-try whacky foods. If you’ve just arrived in Sydney, check out the Australian Heritage Hotel and its excellent restaurant. If you’re up for a liberal and exotic interpretation of a pizza, pick from emu, kangaroo or salt-water crocodile toppings. I chose the croc, and got a chicken-like texture with a briny hint of billabong. I hope your plans take you to Darwin in the Top End – it’s the starting point for awesome adventures into the Kakadu. It’s also home to the Wharf Precinct, where you can pick up a tasty camel schniztel. I expected it to be tough and stringy, but was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t far different from veal – but I still get lots of “ewwwww” factor when I tell people about it.
Get Teste With Me
Now, my own home state of Arizona boasts more than a few crazy treats – pit-cooked javelina (a wild pig) and fried rattlesnake, to name just two. But neither can compete with what you’ll eat at the Rock Springs Cafe monthly Hogs ‘n’ Heat BBQ and Nut Fry. You can play it safe with steaks and such, or dive into the namesake “nuts.” No, we’re not talking pecans and almonds here. This is all about Rocky Mountain oysters, bovine gonads, bull bollocks. Dig in, cowboy!
A Fishy Treat for an Iron Stomach
I’ve saved the grossest for last, and we’re visiting Iceland for this diabolical delicacy: rotten shark meat! The Icelandic folks call it hakarl, and devouring it is a show of fortitude. Or, if reports are to be believed, a sign of completely non-functional tastebuds. I fully intend to eat this when I get to Iceland. After all, a few moments of gagging is fully worth telling people about this and watching them gag just from hearing about it. With its ammonia content, this stuff must taste like cat pee, but I can’t resist a challenge. It doesn’t sound like you can just roll into any old grocery store and pick some up, but this blog post gives some clues.