Off the Beaten Palette: Adventurous Food in SE Asia
by Kshaunish Jaini
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South East Asia is a gastronomical delight for foodies, with varied local dishes available in every nook and cranny of the busy bazaars. It's cheap, unique and delicious! (Okay, maybe we're biased). But some of these aren't for the faint-hearted. Looking for a culinary adventure in South East Asia? Here's a list of some adventurous food to try, in order of high to low adventure level, to get that adrenalin pumped up in your tummy! Beware though, these surely are off the beaten palette!
Sang Cheong - Singapore
A highly adventurous dish! Pig's fallopian tubes served best with Chung Pao sauce. The texture is crunchy and springy. Would probably list this among the top weird food in Singapore.
Betamax - Philippines
Chicken blood is cooled or frozen until it takes up a jelly-like structure. It is then cut into rectangular pieces and grilled to taste! The name comes from the fact that the shape and colour represents the historically ubiquitous Betamax stereo tape. Tastes best with vinegar and chilli!
Fried Bats - Thailand
A delicacy served in Thai streets is bats boiled, feathers plucked and roasted on charcoal! Another variant is chopped up bat meat mixed with herbs, sugar and spicy paste, before frying and serving hot. So when you're taking a break from Kayaking in Koh Phi Phi
or spot a roadside stall during a drive from Chiang Mai to Pai
, you know what to order to satisfy those adventurous taste buds.
Balut - Philippines
A developing duck embryo that is boiled and eaten straight from the shell! Want a handy tip? Eat (drink?) it with beer!
Doh Khlem - India
When not trekking in the Himalayas
, try this simple Meghalayan pork and onion salad. Why adventurous then, you ask? Well, just that it is garnished with steamed pig brain..
Pocupine - Vietnam
Vietnam is known for more than it's fantastic caves and rock climbing in offbeat Cat Ba
. To truly satisfy those gastronomic fears, try the meat of this spiky friend - aromatic, juicy and delicious! Often compared with duck meat, just make sure the spikes are removed properly!
Kang Kaeb Baok - Cambodia
A lot of adventurous food can be found in Cambodia. Our favorite? Has to be skinned alive, cleaned and sun-dried frogs! And they taste just like chicken apparently (We wouldn't vouch for that..). They are served with rice if you're really hungry or can just be eaten as a snack.
Durian - Singapore
This good lucking fruit is sweet and creamy on the inside but notorious on the outside. Its odour is strong, extremely pungent and clings to everything. So much so, that it's not allowed on public transport in Singapore!
Koi Khai Mod Daeng - Laos
What's the best way to get rid of the ants in your room in Laos? Eat them! A dish made from Red ants and their eggs, literally. The mango leaves red ants eat, make them tangy and their eggs have a fluffy texture and a smooth buttery taste! They are usually cooked with lemon, mint leaves and freshwater fish sauce (yes!) to maintain a tangy, fresh flavour!
Kopi Luwak - Indonesia
Probably the most famous amongst all the ones mentioned here, Kopi Luwak is an expensive (very!) coffee made from the excreta of Asian Palm Civets. The coffee cherries are fed to them, partly-digested and defecated after which the coffee beans are carefully selected from the faeces. Apparently, the enzymes in the digestive tract of the Civet provides for the enhanced and rich flavour of coffee! What's the weirdest thing YOU'VE eaten? Share and comment below!