6 Eccentric Asian Delicacies to Spice up Your Travel Experience
How many of these are you willing to try?
Food is such an important part of the travel experience. We get to learn a lot about a country by consuming the cultural and local delicacies. The flavours of the country often are a part of a nation’s identity and by tasting local foods, it’s a great way to add depth to our travelling experience.
Another great way to spice up your travelling journey, is to put on the adventurous cap and brace ourselves to try eccentric Asian delicacies. This guarantees you a memorable trip and a good story time content for all of your friends. With that in mind, here are some of the unique foods you can put on your ‘To-try list’ when you visit these countries.
#1 Balut – Philippines
Balut is a fertilised egg that contains almost developed embryos. It’s a common street food in the Philippines and Balut is usually eaten when the bones of the embryo are still soft. Balut is most commonly derived from duck eggs. It is believed to be high in nutrition and calcium. This popular delicacy can also now be found in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.
#2 Kopi Luwak – Indonesia
A popular delicacy found in the regions of Indonesia, Kopi Luwak or in literal translation Civet Coffee is one of the world’s most expensive coffee. In Indonesia, the Asian Palm Civet’s favourite ground to roam is commercial fruit farms. As a result of the civets’ raids on fruit farms, they’re often seen as pests. However, the value found in civet’s dung led to the growth in the Kopi Luwak industry and this in turn encouraged people to look further into the protection of these civets. The popularity of this coffee has transcended beyond Indonesia, and it can now be found in other Southeast Asian countries.
Kopi Luwak is made using coffee beans that are partially digested and then excreted by the Asian Palm Civet. If you’re feeling adventurous and craving for coffee in Indonesia, you may just want to try Kopi Luwak. Be mindful to only purchase Kopi Luwak that are ethically sourced.
#3 Century Eggs – China
Century eggs are a crowd favourite from China and are usually derived from duck or quail eggs. The eggs are known for its almost black outward colour and creamy and jelly-like texture on the inside.
The eggs are preserved in saline solution for months and this contributes to its darker tone. Century eggs are usually served with porridge or pickled ginger. Most oriental grocery stores across many countries, including Malaysia, sell Century Eggs. So, fret not! You can still get your hands on one if you’re looking for a taste.
#4 Natto – Japan
Natto is a traditional Japanese dish made from soya beans. Natto’s unique features include its slimy, sticky and stringy texture. On top of it’s unique texture, Natto also has a distinctive smell similar to the stinky tofu.
Many in Japan love Natto because of its numerous health benefits. Natto’s high nutritious value is linked to an array of health benefits such as bone health improvements, heart health and potential booster for the immune system.
#5 Bull’s Penis Soup ( also known as Torpedo Soup) – Malaysia
This dish is definitely not for the faintest of hearts. A popular dish that can be found in Malaysian mamak stalls, Torpedo soup is mildly spiced and leans towards the herbal soup variety. This dish contains bull’s penis and it’s believed to improve sexual performance.
The texture of the bull’s penis is said to be chewy and the soup which the penis is served in is said to be peppery. Many believe this dish has aphrodisiac qualities and it can benefit male’s virility.
#6 Fried Tarantulas – Cambodia
The arachnids are both the local and tourist favourites in Cambodia. Often served in a variety of fried finger foods, these tarantulas are mostly sold by street vendors to both adventurous tourists and local fans of the dish.
These fried spiders are said to taste bitter with a spicy tang with some also claiming it has a slight taste of chicken. Many Cambodians believe that the fried tarantula is nutritious and these arachnids played an important role during the struggles faced by Cambodians in the 1970s. Under the ruthless reign of Kyhmer in the 1970s, many Cambodians descended into poverty and hunger. So, people got their hands on any cheap food source at that time, one of them being catching Tarantulas.
Source: National Geography, CNN, Washington Post, Healthline, Petrosains