As I enjoyed some grilled cow hearts last week, I realized that I haven’t written a post about quirky travel food. Not just any kind of strange food, but a list of dishes that actually surprised me on my travels. Those memorable little ones that were odd travel food at first, but tasty in the end! So, without further ado, I introduce you to some quirky travel food I ended up liking.
Quirky travel food in the Caribbean: Eating iguana in Curaçao
During a beach hopping tour in Curaçao, our lunch stop at Jaanchie’s Restaurant included a free dish of iguana. All the girls on our table looked at each other in disbelief. I took a look (and sniff) at the iguana stew…didn’t seem any different than chicken. The cooked reptile reminded me of bony wings, actually. Once I took a bite, I was hooked! As expected, tasted just like chicken wings 😀 Can’t tell you this is what I expected iguanas to taste like when I saw them crawling on the best beaches of Curaçao…
Quirky travel food in Africa: Eating snail soup in Morocco
I’m not going to lie — this sounds more badass than it really was. You see, my friends actually ate the snail, using a toothpick to take it out of the shell and all. I couldn’t stomach this much, so instead, I sipped the snail broth. I call it snail soup. Yes, I drank the water in which the snails are pretty much cooked alive and seasoned in. It was salty and not too bad. I wouldn’t say it was my favorite Moroccan food, but still…I was surprised I was brave enough to try it (against my taste buds’ judgment). This delicacy can be found in several of the many stalls in Jemaa el Fna, Marrakesh. Definitely one of the quirkiest things to do in Morocco!
Quirky travel food in Europe: Eating whale and puffin in Iceland
Please don’t judge me. Yes, I did eat whale (twice, actually) and a cute little penguin-like animal called puffin. My first bite of whale was offered by my Couchsurfing host Asgeir as soon as we arrived to his home late at night. And I’m not going to lie: Smoked whale tasted delicious, tender even. The second time around, I was at a popular restaurant in Reykjavík and ordered an Icelandic food sampler. The waitress suggested the following platter and I said why not:
Not that I’m going to seek whale or eat it every time I can… But I believe Icelanders have a certain way of getting it, not as unethically as other countries. Yes, I admit it: I ate some whale and I liked it.
Quirky travel food in South America: Eating Peruvian heart kebabs
This quirky travel food has a different story. I actually tried them in Florida! My roommates, one who lived in Peru for over 2 years and another one who visited, decided to cook something “different” last week. I asked them what kind of beef they were grilling, but they said that they wanted me to try it first. And so I tried it, and naturally, was unable to point my finger on it.
Only after I finished an entire heart kebab, did my friend Joshua break the news: “Anticuchos de corazón.” I’m a native Spanish speaker, so my first reaction was “wait, did you say HEARTS in Spanish?!” My roommates Josh and Alan broke out into tears… of laughter. Oh well, I guess I ate cow HEARTS and I liked them, too! Recipe will actually be tomorrow’s feature for our new Hostel Cooking series. I hope you guys give them a try! 😉 They are great surprises.
Quirky travel food in the USA: Corndogs and fair fried food
Don’t laugh at me now! I actually do feel like an expat in the USA, even though Puerto Rico is a US territory. And one of the things that surprised me from American food was corndogs. They seemed odd and weird to me at first. But after I tried them, I absolutely loved them! Along with other popular fair foods such as funnel cakes and -gulp- fried Oreos and cookie dough!