- Food and Cooking
10 Strange Foods Andrew Zimmern Has Eaten
10 Strange Foods Andrew Zimmern Has Eaten
Andrew Zimmern is a food writer, chef and teacher but what he's probably best known for is eating strange foods on his popular TV show bizarre foods. Andrew travels the world and connects with other cultures through sampling their cuisine a little at a time. He believes that sharing food is the best way to experience other cultures. The show teaches a bit of history about the country he is visiting before delving into the foods that are not so strange to their customs, but may be to others. Bizarre foods first aired on the travel channel in 2007. Because of the popularity of the show bizarre foods America was added a few years later in 2012 where Andrew showcases the different foods people eat in the areas of the USA. Since the show first aired Andrew has eaten a lot of strange foods, this article will cover just 10 of them, let's count down.
10 Maggot Cheese
A sardinian tradition is casu marzu often called maggot cheese. Casu marzu starts out like just like any regular wheel of cheese. Months later when it's ready to eat you don't slice into it, you cut the top off and lift like a lid. It is some stinky cheese, alive and crawling with maggots. They are larvae of a fly that lays eggs in the cheese when it is young. If the maggots were dead inside the cheese it would be unsafe to eat.
Conch For Dinner Anyone?
Conch, you know those big shells that kids like to listen to the ocean in? Inside them lives a giant snail like creature. In Tobago's warm waters of the caribbean divers grab them with their spear and scoop them into bags. The diver sells his catch of usually about a dozen to local restaurants. Almost every part of the conch is edible except for the intestines. To cook them you need to get the meat out of his shell. To do this you need to break the crown of the shell and it releases the pressure and chases the creature out. Conch can be eaten raw or cooked in a number of different ways. The conch is a muscle. Andrew tastes some conch penis raw. Then they enjoy conch ceviche which is raw fish or shellfish that's been marinated in citrus juice typically lime. The acid of the juice causes the flesh of the seafood to become firm and opaque.
8 Guinea Pig
Where I live in North America guinea pigs are cuddly little pets. However, on the other side of the world in Ecuador and other in the surrounding andes mountain areas guinea pigs have been a national dish for thousands of years. They call guinea pigs cuy because of the sound they make. This small rodent taste great, is packed with protein and low in fat. Guinea pigs can be raised in very small areas and are easier to keep than many larger animals like chickens. Just like picking out your lobster at a fancy seafood restaurant you can hand pick your guinea pig for dinner if you want at Fiambres restaurant. It's a rather expensive dish in Ecuadorian standards at about $20 in a restaurant. They are grilled over indirect coals for about an hour and a half then it's done. It is garnished with avocados and tomatoes and served with a bowl of potatoes. Andrew said this was his first time trying guinea pig and the meat was fall off the bone tender, sweet and reminded him of pork shoulder.
7 Bamboo Rat
Talk about crazy! On Andrew Zimmern's trip to Thailand he was excited to try the bamboo rat he recently bought at a local highway jungle market. Just another exotic dish that might actually turn out to be delicious. The chef obviously didn't care enough to make it taste good because that bamboo rat was just covered with salt and oil from the grill. It took Andrew a while to realize what a mistake he had made. Taking another glance at the disgusting bamboo rat and smelling the unique scent of its insides completely changed his perspective. This unique and creative dish might just actually be the rotten flesh of a dirty rat caught in a strangely suspicious place. Although feeling sympathy for the bamboo rat might be a little too much, we can at least sympathize with Andrew - its hard not to vomit at the look of that! His drive for trying something new and adventurous just may have completely vanished.
6 Cobra Blood
Andrew visits an establishment in Indonesia that specializes in both wearable and edible snake products. A blood cocktail anyone? Getting the snake blood is not for the faint of heart, the handler must carefully chop off the snakes head without getting attacked. The blood is than drained into a vessel for drinking. The waitress adds the finishing touches to the cobra blood cocktail at the table side. The gallbladder for energy, bone marrow from the snakes spine for back pain and of course the cobras penis for sexual stamina.
5 Wildebeest Eyeball
Think of the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten. Now, imagine eating a wildebeest eyeball. Hard to imagine, not for Andrew Zimmern. Recently on the Travel Channel, the show Bizarre Foods showed host Zimmern hunting a 600 pound blue wildebeest in Namibia. Upon capturing the wildebeest, Zimmern was given various options of the animal to "taste", and they do say men are suckers for pretty eyes, even if it is a wildebeest eyeball. Along with eating the eye of the beast, Zimmern digested an appetizing stomach and heart. There's nothing more heart-healthy and full of protein than a wildebeest eyeball. So next time you decide to be daring and step outside of the box with what you eat, try a wildebeest eyeball from a 600 pound blue wildebeest, and while you're at it, taste a little bit of the stomach and heart too. After all, eating an eye from anything... that's hardcore.
In Skuon, Cambodia the local delicacy is the 8 legged hairy tarantula. A husband wife team go out into the forest to dig out tarantulas from their burrows. They even defang them before delivering them to their customers. One of their customers is a mother of 3 and a spider vendor. She buys spiders for about 12 cents each to fry and take to the city to sell.Andrew gets to see the preparation and taste these crunchy creatures. The first step is to give the live spiders a good bath with clear water twice. Her special recipe consists of mashed garlic cloves, salt, sugar, peppercorns and instant chicken soup mix. She fries the spiders while alive (eww) in the wok filled with hot oil for 3 minutes. When Andrew tastes them he said they are delicious sweet and nutty and reminded him of soft shell crabs. Some tarantulas have an added bonus of 50-200 eggs, the perfect seasoning and crispy fried skin makes up for the flavorless mealy eggs. The mother of 3 makes a great living for her family selling her fried spiders for about a quarter each selling out nearly everyday she earns about $25 daily.
We've heard of all the exotic and strange delicacies out there, fried tarantulas in Cambodia, haggis in Scotland, snails in France, or the risk takers fugu from Japan. But now this? Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods takes it one step further by trying out animal penis at the Guolizhuang restaurant found in Beijing, the first ever “penis restaurant”. The restaurant menu itself features the appendages from animals such as yak, donkey, ox, sheep and many more, along with the highly unusual and dizzyingly expensive tiger penis which must be ordered many months in advance.
Andrew dines at the niche restaurant, which opened in 2006, and tests his taste buds with the following dishes; snake penis fish soup, deer penis, slice and fried and yak penis as part of a tortoise, seahorse and herb hotpot.
For Andrew Zimmern, he mentions it was a Beijing experience not to be missed, but will it be something we ever see in the western world?
2 Bulls Ball AKA Rocky Mountain Oysters
In Denver, Colorado bulls balls otherwise known as rocky mountain oysters are served in the ballpark. On any given game day they only serve up about 50 orders. Not the biggest hit in the park. However about 65 miles north of Denver in the town a Severance (interesting name for a town that serves balls) there is a more enthusiastic crowd at Bruce's bar. There rocky mountain oysters have been on the menu since 1959. Bruces serves thirty thousand pounds of bulls testicles a year. There are months of preparation for Bruce's annual nut run an all you can eat testicle fest for 10 bucks draws thousands of bikers. Andrew didn't think they were very tasty, he called them bar food at best.
Across town at Euclid hall a posh pub chef Jennifer Jasinski serves young beef testicles as they are more tender. She carefully slices and peels the testicles then places them in a brine for 24 hours to season and get rid of any organ impurities. Then they are rinsed and poached at 180 degrees for 7 minutes, dredged with seasoned flour and sauteed. They are then served on a jerk seasoned banana chutney and garnished with sesame seed and chilis. Andrew exclaimed, "they are delicious." He also said if you wanna get rocky mountain high and eat some ball then come to Euclid hall because they know how to cook them here.
1 Cow Placenta & Colostrum
In an episode of "Bizarre Foods America", Andrew Zimmern traveled to Seattle Washington to see George Page of Seabreeze Farm. While there, Zimmern observed the labor and birth of a calf, and paid close attention to the afterbirth, which included the cow’s placenta.
Zimmern had seen placenta bagged in a place and being sold as a compacted source of protein, but he has no will to give it a try. As he noticed the cow placenta is very fresh so he never thinks twice to taste it. "Sweet, nutty, livery,” Zimmern makes a witty remark.He realized it's got a really mild taste and also has a "beautiful" aftertaste.
Cow placenta wasn't all. After giving birth, the cow has special protein-rich milk known as colostrum. This milk is only available through the very first day after the calf is born. He also tastes this milk as well. "That's milk is extreme, " he said.