Cooking and eating are some of the great pleasures in life, especially when the dishes excite and intrigue. Exploring exotic foods takes a fair bit of courage, but it can be worth it to find a new favorite food or dish. Here are some new foods to try to bolster your palate
Frog legs, a well-known French delicacy, are traditionally eaten in Asian cuisines but have increased in popularity and accessibility here in the States. The meat, harvested from a specific type of water frog, is reminiscent of chicken but is more delicate and tender. Frog legs may be found in the butcher case in your local grocery store or can be ordered online. To prepare, one can try any recipe intended for chicken wings with fantastic results.
There are spices, and then there is Spanish saffron. This is the most expensive spice in the world due to its harvesting process. Saffron threads are the stigma of the aptly named saffron crocus. Each flower blooms for one week per year and only three saffron threads can be harvested from each flower by hand. The flavor is well worth the price tag for adventurous eaters, especially since a little goes a long way. Health food stores often stock saffron, or it can be purchased online.
Known as the "king of fruits", jackfruit is a massive, spiky monster with a unique odor. Once available only in its native nations, jackfruit has worked its way into the meat substitute industry due to its versatility, especially when coated with various sauces. A quick trip to your local grocer or health food store should produce packages of BBQ jackfruit "pulled pork", which can be served just like its animal protein namesake.
Rocky Mountain Oysters
These innocent sounding tidbits are not oysters at all, but the castrated testicles from young bulls. Castration is a common practice to control cattle populations. The testicles are then pounded flat, battered and deep fried to make this exotic midwestern appetizer. Those who live in the midwest have likely experienced this dish before, but the rest of us may enjoy trying Rocky Mountain oysters as part of an adventurous eating adventure.
Chicory first appeared in the United States as a coffee substitute during the Civil War, when blockades disrupted deliveries of coffee from South America. Once the war ended and coffee was readily available once more, chicory fell out of favor, only to be reintroduced as a healthier alternative to coffee by companies seeking to lower the price of coffee. It is still a tasty and interesting drink for those seeking something a little more exotic. The beverage can be served with cream or milk just like coffee and provides a similar experience with an exotic spin
Pidan, also known as century egg, is a Chinese dish consisting of an egg preserved in a mixture of clay, quicklime, ash, salt, and rice hulls for a period of several weeks to several months. The white of the egg takes on a dark brown or black color and becomes translucent, while the yolk turns green. The pH increases significantly, changing the egg's flavor. Pidan can be peeled and eaten in a similar fashion to hard-boiled eggs or may be served as part of another dish. They are most commonly found in more traditional Chinese restaurants here in the states.
Overall, exploring the world of exotic foods can be an experience unlike any other. Adventurous eaters will enjoy these delicacies for their unique characteristics and exotic flavors.