Adventures in food

When I travel for work part of my job is to try the activities and foods that my guests might try.  This has lead me to eating things that I would probably never eat on my own. And my probably what I really mean is, never, ever would I have tried it. I am the polar opposite of adventurous when it comes to food.  Once I find a favorite at a restaurant that’s what I will always order…no trying something new every time for this girl. I know the safe foods and I stick with them.

But when work forces my hand (and when there isn’t a burger to be found), I cannonball of the cliff and try the local cuisines. Sadly I don’t have many experiences from Thailand (99% of the food has chili peppers that set my mouth ablaze!) but Sweden,  Japan, and France gave me some interesting experiences.

 

Herring

1. Pickled Herring.

Let’s take a trip to Stockholm, Sweden to Den Glydene Freden.  This beautiful restaurant is nestled in the historic streets of Gamla Stan.  This is one of those foods that I wasn’t so much a fan of. The herring is salt cured and then flavored with vinegars, herbs, etc..  The traditional combination of flavors include mustard and dill. There was also an onion and herb as well as one that was in tomato sauce. While the flavors were not bad, the texture was not appealing for me.  It wasn’t soft and tender like sushi like I had hoped.

It’s worth trying but order to share with other’s so you can try multiple flavors (and aren’t committed to eating a whole platter of pickled fish.

 

Fugu

 2. Fugu

No lie…this one kind of scared me.  Why you ask?  Because it’s poisonous blowfish.  If the chef nicks the glands that hold the poison, the poison can contaminate the fish and if eaten can lead to someone dying. So yeah…little scared!

Luckily for me, Aburayama Sanso are experts in preparing this meal. Our entire meal was created around fugu – all the appetizers and mains includes some part of the fugu.  The fugu sashimi was my favorite and the presentation was absolutely stunning!   The paper thin slices are tougher than the salmon sashimi I usually eat but the flavor was good. The fugu roe was the my least favorite.  You can have it raw, boiled, fried or grilled apparently.  I tried fried and it had a weird creamy texture…I couldn’t eat it.

As a note, according to the restaurant, tiny amounts of the neurotoxin can be found throughout the flesh in the fish which means you can get some reactions from it.  I highly recommend you not look up those symptoms…especially if you are suffering from jetlag!  My lips started tingling and then I found out that headaches & drowsiness are the also symptoms…guess what also happens when you are jetlagged? You get headaches and you are tired…I went to sleep not knowing if I was going to wake up…slightly stressful but the experience was worth it.  For the less adventurous you can get genetically altered, farmed fugu without the poison gland…but that takes the fun out of it.

 

15642875269_92c75b5f25_o3.  Baby fish

I don’t know what this dish is called.  I call it baby fish rice.  I opened a beautiful bowl and saw  rice.  I immediately started eating it…it was delicious!  Half way through I look down and realize some of the rice is an odd color, has dark spots on it and is longer than the other rice.  I put down the chopsticks and think for a moment.  My exact words to my guide was, “I know I probably do not want the answer to this question…but are there eyes in my rice?”  Immediately the guide starts laughing and I know the answer.

Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious but I have this weird thing about eating food that looks like it does when its alive…heads, feet, eyeballs do NOT need to be in my food!!

 

16063444744_b98eb0ff3b_o4. Escargot

Yeah, snails.  I imagined this being really weird and gross.  There are two basic ways for snails to be prepared – one is mostly butter & garlic the other is in red wine.  I tried the butter & garlic (because let’s be honest what is better with a ton of butter and garlic?) version.   This was a dish I LOVED!!  I actually had it twice.  The first time it was at a great little cafe named La Bouteille d’Or and was actually served in the shells.  You had to dig them out of the shell. So good! This picture is from Maison Blanche which was my second time to have escargot.

In case you are wondering, the texture is much like that of calamari that has been perfectly fried (minus the crispy breading) or maybe a mussel.  I highly recommend trying it!

 

What has been the most unusual thing you’ve tried in your travels? Would you recommend it to others?