Monday, 30 August 2010

The culinary Delights of South East Asia

So it's been only 8 days and 3 different countries, but so far I've already seen so much and experienced a lot of crazy things along the way. Most of these things were involving food in some form or another.

I suffer from a lot of problems with my stomach, and I'm usually pretty fussy about what I put in there (no dairy, eggs, not too much gluten etc) so I knew travelling would be a bit of a struggle- especially in Asia- but I never like to miss out on things so I've been making sure I try and give everything a go.

Southeast Asian food mainly consists of rice, noodles, curry, vegetables and egg. However, I've been on the look out for something a little more exciting, so here's a few little delights I've sampled so far...

Appetizer
Red Ants


After a whole day of walking round Angkor Wat being bitten to shreds by lots of pesky ants, we decided it was time to get our own back. So for lunch we tried fried ants with beef and chilli.


It was a little creepy picking up a mouthful with my chopsticks then seeing all their little legs poking out when I inspected closer, but thankfully the beef was a good enough distraction and they went down fine. I even had a few more mouthfulls. I didn't enjoy picking bits of ants legs out my teeth a couple of hours later though when I had just about managed to forget about lunch!

Starter
Crickets



In England you might stumble drunkenly out of a bar and end up at the nearest kebab/chip shop. In Bangkok you get bugs.
After only my second night away I ended up at the bug cart with a friend weighing up our options on what we should go for, settling for 'a bag of crickets and a scorpian'. Standard.
Being the woos that I am, I couldn't face eating the scorpian so I opted for 2 (and a half!) crickets instead.


They were very crunchy (thankfully) and we doused them in salt and vinager to try and disguise them as best as possible.

Selection of Meats
Bat, rat and snake


Tonight we were taken to a little cafe in Chau Doc, Vietnam, to try some of their local food. Unfortunately I wasn't drunk this time, so I wasn't brave enough to try the snake, but from what I heard from the others in my group I wasn't missing too much. I think it was compared to 'A lump of chewing gum with a bone in the middle' Mmmmm.
Anyway, I ate a bat wing which was pretty decent to tell the truth, a bit like a spare rib and nicely barbequed so I couldn't see too much of what I was eating.
The rat was cooked in a similar way, but I wasn't so happy to eat it as I've had a couple of pet rats and I always said I could never eat anything I could have as a pet. Still, I was assured it was nothing like our cute Western rats, just the vermin you see crawling the streets at night instead. Nice.
Well I don't like to be rude and say no so I gave it a go and it just tasted like chicken, if I hadn't had known what it was I think I really would have liked it! Sorry rats!


Now I'm only looking for something for desert. Does anybody have any suggestions for me? :D


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