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Travellers Choice top local delicacies to try

Travellers Choice top local delicacies to try

11 May 2017 Angela Matthews Travel Tips

Every nation around the world, seems to eat something that foreigners find a little odd; take the French and their frogs-legs for instance. To experience a country like a local though, you sometimes need to close your eyes, and just try the delicacies on offer. Which of the following would you try?

A-ping, Cambodia

A-ping is the Cambodian name for deep-fried tarantula, and this dish became common-place during the Khmer Rouge regime when food was scarce. Today, Cambodians love this snack, and children often see it as a treat.

The spiders are tossed with sugar and salt, and then fried in oil fragranced with garlic. The trick is to try the crispiest one for your first sample, because that means that the abdomen of the spider will be less gooey – remember that the animals’ organs are all located there! If that hasn’t put you off, then eat the legs first and enjoy the crunch.


Century Egg, China

Also known as millennium egg and thousand-year egg, the century egg is extremely common in China, Vietnam and Singapore. If you can get past the look of the egg, to taste it, you’ll be treated to a strong sulfuric smell and taste. Apparently, this taste can become quite addictive and once you’ve tried a few, you’ll keep coming back for more!

It is thought that the invention/discovery of century eggs dates back more than 500 years, when the Ming Dynasty ruled China, and a rural farmer is credited with the discovery. The eggs became popular during the 1940s when they were introduced into the big towns and cities, and since then they’ve grown in popularity.

Did you know? Despite the name, it only takes between seven weeks and five months to make a century egg.


Escamoles, Mexico

Head to Mexico to try this next dish. Made from giant black ant eggs and larvae, Mexicans know escamoles as “insect caviar”. The ants are found in the roots of the blue agave plants, the same plant that is used to make tequila, and they are incredibly aggressive. Harvesting the eggs is a skill, which means the cost of this dish is quite high.

The eggs are usually fried in oil with lemon, chilli, onion and garlic, and then served in a tortilla with guacamole. Some people say that by adding friend grasshoppers, the dish improves, but we’re not sure about that!


Airag, Mongolia

Airag is not a food, but a drink. It is made from the milk of a mare (female horse) which is fermented in a large leather sack, or wooden vat. After the milk has fermented for a few days it becomes slightly alcoholic, but it also contains lots of vitamins and minerals, so it is actually good for you!

If you visit Mongolia and are lucky enough to be invited into a family’s yurt, you will more than likely be presented with a bowl of airag. If you want to impress, drink the whole thing, but don’t panic, it’s acceptable to only have one mouthful and pass the bowl back!


Tuna eye balls, Japan

Most people don’t realise about how big tuna fish can be – some species grow to 4.6 metres long! A fish that size will have large eyes, which is lucky for the Japanese who like to eat tuna eye balls.

You’ll find tuna eye in many Japanese grocery stores, and it is cheap in comparison to other foods. People describe it as tasting like squid, or mussels, and after being boiled with seasoning, it is usually served up fried with rice and soy sauce. Would you try it?


What is the strangest thing you have eaten when travelling?


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