I remember this one time in California, I took my friends to try some Vietnamese food for the first time. When we got to the restaurant the first thing they commented on was that it “smelled funny”. After looking at the menu, they couldn't find anything they wanted to eat, because they were not comfortable with most of the traditional dishes available. I ended up recommending the cold cut sandwiches.
I ordered the Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup with tripe, beef, basil and bean sprouts). For extra flavor I threw in some Hot Sauce and Vietnamese Barbecue Sauce. It was delicious. As I ate my soup, my friends looked at me like I was a guest on Fear Factor.
Why were my friends so scared of the food?
My friends were your average Americans. They ate mostly a diet consisting of steak, hamburgers and the occasional grilled chicken. They also tended to eat fast food like Burger King or McDonalds. It's not that they don't like vegetables or soup, they are just not open to eating any food outside of the Americanized versions of what they know, like Panda Express.
Now this works both ways
When I first moved to Japan I had a hard time trying new food that was way outside my comfort zone, like Natto (fermented bean curd). But as time passed not only did I learn to eat it, I started craving it.
Japanese people would always ask me, are you okay with eating (insert dish here)?
The more types of food I tried the more I wanted to try something new. I wouldn't say I am an exotic foodie, but I don't tend to say no to food. Now this should work both ways but it doesn't. The other day I was eating a sweet potato with melted butter. Apparently in Japan they do not eat sweet potato with butter. They prefer it dry. When I invited my family and friends to try some, they made the same look my American friends made at the Vietnamese restaurant. Eventually my wife tried some and she liked it. But her mom looked at her, like how could you stomach it?
I'll try anything as long as it's dead
As some of you know I like to travel. So far the most exotic food I've eaten was duck trachea(pictured below).
But I do draw the line at eating anything while it is still alive. Something about eating an animal or insect, while it is still alive seems cruel to me. Otherwise than that, I am open to try just about anything once.
I know one day I will regret this
I still have never had an insect of an type. I just hope when that they day comes the chef would have prepared it with the right herbs and spices!
Happy Travels and Eating Fellow Foodies!
Social Gelo with Angelo
Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)