Occam’s razor, bizarre food, and exploration – Part 1.

Balut egg in Dalat, Vietnam.

Balut egg in Dalat, Vietnam.

BR85R5 Corn Smut Ustilago maydis growing on field corn Michigan USA corn

Corn Smut Ustilago maydis growing on field corn Michigan USA cor

The drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Thomas Stearns Eliot OM, better known by his pen name T. S. Eliot
Poem : 4 quarters – section 5

I am structurally atypical in my likes and dislikes when it comes to eating food. I am happily in the company of Andrew Zimmern of the bizarre foods. Just like in Star Trek, the Original series – TOS, which I watched during my formative years in India, I love exploring foods of different cultures. I am fascinated by people, places, and the unique contribution food makes to human history – warts and all – the good, bad, and the ugly.
I have just discovered through BBC travel about a quora question that is absolutely my heart’s question: Ethnic and Cultural Differences: What food is popular in your country, but unacceptable in other countries?
Why do I like that?  I guess it could be my life long yearning to go off the grid and explore.
What I mean is this: What would I need (using the basic Occam’s razor principle) that would free up my time to explore the universe?
No let’s first look at foods that are popular in some parts of the world and then other people from elsewhere cringe at even the thought of it.

This is from Quora

Country (Subregion), Food (further info on food and its preparation if

•Australia, various atypical Meats (including Kangaroo, Alpaca, Wombat, Camel, Emu, Crocodile, Possom…)
•Australia, Witchetty grub (a 12 cm long grub, served raw or cooked)
•Australia, Vegemite (a paste made from brewer’s yeast, served spread on toast)
•Bangladesh, Panta Bhaat (rice soaked in water overnight)
•Bangladesh, Beef Tripe (served as a spicy fried fried curry)
•Bangladesh, Shutki (processed smelly dry fish, cooked into various dishes)
•Brazil, PET bottle contaminates (various foods are placed inside a PET bottle, then cooked over an open flame, possibly contaminating the food), abacate (avocado) with sugar, chicken hearts
•British Virgin Islands, peas soup (made with kidney beans, milk, and sugar)
•Chile, Ñachi, coagulated pig or lamb fresh blood, dressed and served in cubes with bread
•Camaroon (Northwest), Palm grubs and grasshoppers
•China, Thousand Year Egg (Egg fermented for several weeks)
•China, cow/bull genital and testicle (stew in Chao Shan beef hot pot)
•China, Virgin Boy Eggs (eggs simmered in the urine of young boys)
•Egypt, AkaWei (cooked cow or buffalo tails with vegetables), Lesan (Cooked cow tongues, Makhasi (cooked calf or buffalo testicles), KawaRee (cooked cow legs).
•Ethiopia, Raw Beef (from newly slaughtered cattle or delivered fresh meat, usually eaten along with spices, and kifto is a popular variant)
•Finland, False Morel (a toxic mushroom)
•France, Mimolette (a cheese that cheese mites are encouraged to run rampant upon)
•France: Rabbit meat (considered a pet in other countries)
•Germany, Blutwurst (a cured sausage made with pig’s blood and fatty bacon)
•Germany, Hackepeter or Mett (finely minced raw meat, eaten on bread, often with raw, chopped onions)
•Germany, Saumagen (a fresh sausage made inside a pigs stomach, incredients can include: potatoes, meat, onions, and more)
•Greece, Kokoretsi, (Sheep or goat intestine stuffed with liver and spleen and roasted
•India (southern), Oorugai (concentrated mix of pickled chillies and vegetables)
•Italy (Sardinia), Casu Marzu (”rotten cheese”, cheese that maggots are encouraged to live and grow in)
•Japan, furikake (anything you sprinkle over rice to add flavor, starting with dried salted vegetables through salted salmon)
•Japan, Natto (fermented soybeans, served mixed with rice and a sauce, has an extremely sticky, stringy texture and a strong smell)
•Japan, Tuna Eyes (unknown)
•Lebenon, Raw Liver (served with pita, mint, pepper and salt in bite sized portions)
•Macau, Fish Balls (made from shaped fish paste, served cooked, sometimes with a sauce, has a gelatinous texture)
•Mexico, Maguey Worm (moth larva, served fried with guacamole)
•México, Huitlacoche (aka corn smut, a fungus that parasitizes the kernels, served in quesadillas)
•México, Tacos de seso (cow brains tacos)
•México, Moronga (pig’s blood sausage)
•México, Tripas de cerdo (grilled pig’s small intestine, taco filling)
•New Zealand, Rotten sweetcorn, (Kanga Wai, a porridge made from sweetcorn kernels soaked in water for months)
•Norway, Smalahove (roasted sheep’s head)
•Philippines, Balut (also balot, cooked duck embryo, boiled in the shell)
•Russia, Kholodets (Meat Jelly)
•Scotland, Haggis (heart, lungs and liver of a sheep cooked inside its own stomach)
•Singapore (also S.E. Asia), Durian (aka the King of Fruits, an extra-ordinarily strong smelling fruit with a creamy texture, many find the smell unpleasant, banned on public transport there)
•South Africa, Biltong (dried meat, rather like jerky)
•South Africa, less typically used parts of Meat (BBQed sheeps head, chicken head and feet, tripe)
•South Korea, Sannakji (small raw octpus, seasoned with sesame oil and seads)
•UK (and others), barbecued hamburgers, (not considered proper to be barbecued in Brazil and maybe other S.A. countries)
•Vietnam, Balut (cooked duck embryo, boiled in the shell) , Dog meat , Cat meat.

We also have a bbc travel article.

E4PDN4 Brown False Morel (Gyromitra fastigiata), rare, Hainich National Park, Thuringia, Germany

Brown False Morel (Gyromitra fastigiata), rare, Hainich National Park, Thuringia, Germany

The false morel mushroom, described by some as having a nutty, sweet maple taste, is so good it might just be flavour to die for. The highly toxic mushroom is banned throughout most of Europe, but in Finland, the fungus is a delicacy. It requires delicate handling and preparation to remove most of the main toxins – it’s usually dried and parboiled at least twice. Even still, the preparation doesn’t remove all of the poisonous chemical – side effects can include everything from a queasy stomach to death for the metabolically sensitive.

Happy exploring and eating!!

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