5 revolting things to eat on your travels

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Some delicacies can be less than delectable in a foreign place, says Megan Singleton.
Be warned, if you see cuy on the menu for a hefty price, know that it is a guinea pig enjoyed in parts of South America. Photo / Supplied
Be warned, if you see cuy on the menu for a hefty price, know that it is a guinea pig enjoyed in parts of South America. Photo / Supplied

1. Durian

Quite possibly the stinkiest fruit in the world, the durian looks as if it doesn't want to be eaten. Its outer shell is a hedgehog of spikes covering a thick layer of white flesh which hides the juicy fruit. It tastes good (they say) but smells so bad it has been banned from public transport and some hotels in Southeast Asia. If you're wandering past street vendors, they'll try to make you have a piece. I dare you.

Its outer shell is a hedgehog of spikes covering a thick layer of white flesh which hides the juicy fruit. Photo / Tourism Malaysia
Its outer shell is a hedgehog of spikes covering a thick layer of white flesh which hides the juicy fruit. Photo / Tourism Malaysia

2. Sheep's heads

"I want the eyeball," shouts the teen at the table, and out of the socket it is gleefully plucked and gobbled down by the lucky one who called first dibs. A slow cooked sheep's head; teeth, eyes and all, is prepared for special occasions across Scandinavia, Greece and South Africa. I have it on good authority the cheek meat is the best, albeit rather rich.

3. Duck embryo

If you see balut on the menu, steer clear. Still in its shell, it's a fully formed unborn duckling considered a delicacy in Southeast Asia. You munch and crunch on feathers and bones, a bit of beak and a foot or two. The balut is 17-21 days old, and locals usually wash it down with a beer. Just take the beer.

Still in its shell, it's a fully formed unborn duckling considered a delicacy in Southeast Asia. Photo / Dean Purcell
Still in its shell, it's a fully formed unborn duckling considered a delicacy in Southeast Asia. Photo / Dean Purcell

4. Thousand-year-old egg

This is not actually as revolting as it sounds, but it still freaked me out on a recent visit to Macau where I politely declined. Chicken, duck and quail eggs are preserved in a cocktail of ash, salt, quicklime (calcium oxide made from heating limestone) and clay, rolled in rice chaff and left to dry for around three to three-and-a-half months. When you slice them open they look like a glass eye, have a creamy texture and taste strongly sulphuric.

5. Guinea pig

Be warned, if you see cuy on the menu for a hefty price, know that it is a guinea pig enjoyed in parts of South America. The humble little critter is usually served lying on its back, feet in the air and face staring at the diner who is about to dig in. Incidentally, the painting of the Last Supper in the Cuzco Cathedral has Jesus and his disciples eating this dish.

- www.bloggeratlarge.com

- NZ Herald

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