Food & DrinkJanuary 17, 2013 at 5:00 am

The Weirdest Thing I Ate Abroad

Because they don't serve narwhal at Commons.

Krakow, Poland
“Even though I studied abroad in London, the weirdest thing I ate was definitely when I traveled to Krakow. I went to have a traditional Polish lunch where I was served fried pork fat. Instead of butter, the bread was served with fried pork fat mixed with apples and cinnamon. It was very moist, but surprisingly void of flavor. I’m glad I tried it, but I’ll stick to high quality Italian olive oil, thank you very much.”.
Chelsea Goldinger

Moscow, Russia
“I had the displeasure of eating dried narwhal from Greenland at an exhibition on the Arctic. It smelled of rot and had elongated muscle fibers giving it a texture akin to hemp rope when chewed. Although glad to add it to my list of exotic foods, it will not be on my plate for some time to come.”
Eric Schwartz

Barcelona, Spain
“In winter the calcot, a bulbous leek-onion hybrid sprouts all around the region of Catalonia. In celebration locals gather for a Catalan style barbeque, or calcotada, where these roots are grilled by the hundreds. Friends and family gather in hordes to suck down their tender, juicy stems. Participants grab a calcot, bathe it in Romesco sauce, throw their heads back and let it slither down the gullet, re-dip and repeat. Delicious.”
Ali Kokot

Sevilla, Spain
“Pringá is a typical Andalusian dish that consists of a variety of meats such as chicken, roast beef or pork, chorizo and morcilla (blood sausage) all mushed up together with pork fat. The first time my host mom served us pringá, I was hesitant to eat this fatty meat mush. But I have to say, as long as the fat blobs aren’t that noticeable, when spread on bread, pringá is actually pretty good.”
Julia Brownstein

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
“The weirdest thing I ate in Brazil was what they call coração de galinha, chicken heart. Even though for Brazilians this is a normal food, I had a hard time eating it at first. But hey—it was good!”
Julio German Arias

Singapore, Singapore
“While Southeast Asia is full of strange meat dishes (think shark–head stew, pig intestine soup and fried tarantula), Singapore’s got the market cornered on weird fruit. One of them is practically a national icon—the durian. It looks like a mango covered entirely in deceptively sharp thorns, and when cracked open, it reveals yellow flesh and releases a notorious smell usually compared to garbage and/or rotting flesh. It has the texture of custard and a bitter, sweet and savory taste—nature’s umami fruit. Usually, feasting locals don plastic gloves to ward off the smell, but I didn’t get the memo — so the smell stayed with me for two days. Yum.” —Sam Brodey

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