Have you ever had one of those “cream of tartar is the same thing as tartar sauce” disasters? Well you certainly know now that if you mix those two up, your chiffon will not be a tasty dessert. While Recipe4Living has many expert cooks, we have probably all had a time in our cooking explorations when we have come across an ingredient and thought “what the heck is that?” As fellow gastronomers, gourmets, and gourmands, finding out about new foods is almost as fun as sampling them. In that spirit, here are some of the rarer, odder, and more exotic foods from all over the world. While I wouldn’t really recommend all of these, I’m not here to judge; haggis just might be someone’s absolute favorite.

Bubble Tea/Boba– Boba is a Taiwanese matcha bubble tea drink that comes in a variety of flavors. Large marble-sized balls of tapioca, sometimes made from sweet potato, form the bubbles in this often fruity drink. The bubbles are sucked up though a large straw and chewed. Tapioca drinks like this are popular in many Asian restaurants throughout the states. I love them!

Ceviche– This immensely popular dish in Mexico varies, but always consists of a raw fish or shellfish chopped up and marinated in lime juice overnight. The most popular choice is red snapper, while shrimp ceviche is becoming increasingly common in restaurants in the U.S.

Conch– That pretty horned shell found on the beach, the one you can hear the ocean in, was probably once home to an animal called the conch. While protected as an endangered species in the U.S., this edible snail is a popular food throughout the Caribbean, but must be tenderized because of its toughness. Vendors in the Bahamas serve the shellfish right on the water by chopping up the raw conch and marinating it in lime juice. It’s delicious!

Durian– This football-sized fruit covered in spine, from a tree native to Southeast Asia, is the definition of irony. The smell from the custard-like flesh of the fruit is absolutely horrendous, often compared to rotten meat or sewage, but the taste is extraordinarily good. Many call it the king of fruits. Public signs in many places in Southeast Asia outlaw bringing a durian onto public transportation.

Fiddlehead Ferns– This one sounds safe enough, being simply the sprouting tops of new ferns resembling violins. These are served as a delicacy in the northeast United States and western Canada. But strangely enough, fiddleheads contain a toxin that can cause symptoms similar to food poisoning from undercooked meat. Adequate cooking does destroy this toxin, but many restaurants still make the mistake of quick-sautéing fiddlehead ferns.


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