For those who have the luxury of tasting foods from various cultures, the experience may not always be what one had hoped it would be. It’s no secret that certain parts of the world tend to have some eccentric tastes, for lack of a better word, but these unusual foods are perceived as part of their culture, and perhaps even delicacies.
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Tagging certain foods as unusual or weird may be based on cultural perspectives, but some people may just deem certain combos as weird and tasteless. There are some weird food combinations that are very close to home, due to the fact that they revolve around indulging in the same foods that we eat on a regular basis. Ketchup is primarily used together with French fries, but there are some who have taken to eating it along with white rice. Mind you, this combo is probably more common among kids, but there are stranger combinations that involve totally conflicting ingredients; such as mayonnaise and peanut butter, where one should be used with cooked food and the other with bread. This is an example of close-to-home food combination, but there are more that may leave some people totally grossed out.
Certain meals may be a case of having grown up during tough times (in the home). This means there were few options. That being said, others just try to experiment with everything. For instance, at some point, Jell-O was common in many households as a condiment-to everything. Yep! Everything. This meant filling the dinner table with food then engrossing it in Jell-O. Another food combo that may leave you queasy is sour cream and jam. These two seem like they should be part of two separate course meals; Salads and desserts. However, kids have taken to making it a thing, applying both on sandwiches.
Incidentally, many kids seem to be responsible for most of these weird food combinations, which inevitably become a trend. When it comes to breakfast, nothing is more special for kids than cereals, yet for some unknown reason, orange juice has been supplemented for milk. As if that wasn’t unhealthy enough, lunch is served as a pizza- adding to it hot or melted chocolate. These combos are enough to make any health-freak queasy, but they are common especially in well-to-do households. On that note, there seems to be a prevailing factor in all these combinations: There is always one healthy ingredient countering another, e.g. using Cheetos and milk, or better yet, avocado and chocolate.
Feeling grossed out yet? Being open-minded and free to partake in certain delicacies may be easier said than done. That being said, no list of unusual foods would be complete without mentioning bugs. This is usually when stomachs begin to turn and spines get to shivering. In Spain, there is meal known as maggot-cheese.
As it states, it involves letting maggots eat through the cheese until it’s ready to be served as a savory condiment, with the maggots still alive. A less distressing meal is the blood-sausage meal served in Spain, which includes onions and white rice, perhaps to make it more of a meal than a rite of passage. Rats are cooked and garnished with vegetables and ginger. This is a common practice in Northeast India. In other parts of the Eastern world like Vietnam, locals indulge in worms that have eaten through coconuts, while in Colombia, big-butt ants are consumed as a snack. These are roasted and salted to make for a snack, similar to the way one would eat cashews.
Last but not least, there are unusual combinations in the dessert area as well. For instance, apples and salt and pepper, giant eggs from ants mixed with raspberry in Laos. For the more daring in some of us, there are embryos of ducks (Balut eggs) served in the Philippines and fried insects in Bangkok, Thailand.
Alternatively, those who are not as daring may be willing to try a combo such as vanilla Ice Cream and Soy sauce, or apple pie combined with hot, melted cheese. These combinations would not fall under ‘healthy’ in any book, but they have become ubiquitous and are increasingly gaining ground as part of a nation’s culture.