Your friend’s tales of jaunts abroad can’t ever exclude their adventures trying (or attempting to try) exotic local foods. These aspiring Bourdain-to-be’s are all too ready to dish the details on the delicious, the disgusting, and the downright bizarre to many of us. However, much of what’s strange to some, is ‘no big deal’ to our friends from those countries.
Here’s three such commonly abnormal Asian foods and how to conquer them on you next trip to the far east:
Thailand’s Congealed Blood Cakes
Thai people love noodles and it’s one of the cheapest and most readily available street foods found throughout the country. However, many people visiting Thailand for a short time may not realize one of the secrets to a great bowl of noodles is the variety of textures available in each spoonful. This applies to every imaginable texture from the familiar crispy pork skins added to the bowl, or the squishy, gelatinous blood cakes. Believe it or not to Thais these blood bits make every bowl more enjoyable!
How to Conquer Blood Cakes:
You’re your own worst enemy here. Remember staring at them will solve nothing, nor is isolating the blood cakes to your advantage. To win ignore them, chop them up and make them a part of what’s in your chopsticks, instead of the sole item.
Malaysia’s Unanimously Loved Durian
You thought you liked fruit before your made friends with a Malaysian. The widened eyes, the foreboding grins, and the unfiltered giddiness overcoming them as your afro is spotted at the local durian stand is unmistakable. However, learning to tap into the appreciation for the fruit they have grown up loving can be elusive. That’s because unlike other fruits, durian has a reputation for being one of the stinkiest fruits and you will find many signs banning it from hotels and many public places.
How to Conquer Durian:
Your friends are your worst enemy, so if it’s your first time to try durian, have it fresh, and be sure to eat the fruit on your own terms. Avoid the heat, frozen or pre-packaged versions, and don’t assume you’ll enjoy the fruit while Team America surrounds you with negativity.
Japan’s Affinity for Keeping it Raw
Japan is an amazing place to eat and challenge your palate beyond the deep fried rolls available at your neighborhood’s community mall. But remember nothing will get you so rapidly disowned by family members, as openly sharing about the new raw eating habits you acquired in Tokyo. Japan has strict rules and regulations about the process and preparation of animals used for raw consumption. Raw fish, beef, and even chicken is commonplace in Japan, while nowhere else in the world is it safe and acceptable to eat such a variety of meats uncooked. But while that may put your mind at ease, remember it’s still not likely to stop Aunt Janie from pleading with Jesus to deliver you from evil.
How to Conquer Rawness:
Your upbringing has done you a disservice when it comes experiencing real sushi or other raw meats. You’re a long way from home and there was no room for eating inhibitions in your carry-on. Take a brave friend along, readily avail yourself to the condiments and sauces on the table, and if all else fails, order some liquid courage to chase this common Japanese drinking snack.