American’s don’t do weird food. Latin Americans even less so.
Okay, I may be generalising but every time the conversation turns to food – the Asian is always the one with lots of fascinating stories to tell.
The truth is, Asians cuisine is varied as it is vast. Curries to bread, steamed to deep fried, insects to dogs – just name it and Asia has it.
Even if it currently doesn’t exist, someone will eventually invent it. Like durian hotpot – completely crazy but the Chinese are already on it.
This dawned upon me when talking to a colleague about food. She was telling me about her food restrictions and her diet. And I responded about how my unencumbered appetite for all things food takes me to different places around the city.
With Washington hosting world-class restaurants from every corner of the earth, some cuisines that I’ve grown to enjoy here are Portuguese churrasco, Americanised Japanese sushi rolls and German weinerschnitzels.
My colleague is from El Salvador and she said the weirdest thing she has eaten was turtle eggs. I would definitely try that if they weren’t endangered or illegal. I told her I’ve eaten porcupines, insects and civet cats to which she simply recoiled in horror.
In another conversation with a Philly native, she tried crickets in Thailand and said never again. I guess everyone isn’t Ian Wright (the original bizarre food guy before Andrew Zimmern).
Perhaps my most memorable conversation about food was with someone I met from Togo who said the weirdest thing he’s eaten was goat.
He too expressed shock at my food repertoire while I remarked at how civil Togolese cuisine is.
However, there are always crazier foodies out there. Like that time I met a girl from China who has eaten lizards and seahorses – that seemed totally bonkers to me. In true foodie fashion, she said I should try it before expressing utter disgust.
The one cuisine that I have wanted to try is Ethiopian but haven’t quite got around to it. From preliminary research, their injera looks a lot like thosai surrounded by colourful vegetarian condiments.
Too bad my American husband thinks Ethiopian food is weird. If this was in Malaysia, I’d already have a bunch of kakis to go with checking out the latest food digs in town.