When traveling to Asia, trying the local food is a must. The incredibly tasty, yet funky dishes of the continent make it a perfect place for food tourism to flourish. In a large number of cases, the exotic Asian food is the main reason tourists visit the continent!
Your mouth has probably already started watering, imagining munching on a nice, traditional set of Japanese sushi or eating up a delicious portion of Pad Thai. But what about the foods you never even knew existed? Are you adventurous enough to try the hidden treasures of Asia?
A balut is a duck egg that’s passed the second week of its development. The egg is hard-boiled and served warm, most commonly with salt and chili. You can buy a balut at a market place, and it usually costs around $0.30. Balut lovers often argue about which part of the egg is the tastiest. Some say it’s the “soup” (the juices from the undeveloped duck inside), others believe it’s the yolk. Then, there are those that enjoy chewing on the duckling itself. Mouthwatering, right?
Airag – the Mongolian Horse Milk
In Mongolia, the native people don’t just ride horses — they milk them as well! The horse milk they draw from the animals is usually put in a big leather bag and left to ferment, usually right next to the entrance of the yurt. Like the Russian yogurt “kefir”, it needs to be left to ferment for a couple of days while being stirred often.
Hospitality dictates that the hosts are to offer each of their guests a cup of airag. To turn the drink down without even trying it is considered to be very offensive. It has a slightly sour taste, and the beverage contains around 2% of alcohol — but the locals drink it for its high dosage of vitamins and minerals – all vital to the nomads.
Tarantulas in Cambodia
It might be your worst fear, but to Cambodians, a spicy, hairy tarantula is considered the perfect snack! The arachnids are fried until they’re crispy, and then served with lime juice and spices. Yum! Those who’ve tried it describe this piece of exotic Asian food as relatively tasty, with the legs tasting like shrimp and the body not being anybody’s favorite.
Although the Cambodian Tarantula is a very famous local dish, people are afraid that since it’s gained fame, the tarantula population has significantly decreased.
Gizzard soup is a traditional Japanese soup, made from the intestines of animals such as cows, goats, and sheep. This exotic Asian food is not the most challenging dish you can find in Japan (if you think so, just check out the pufferfish), but a lot of people feel mildly repulsed by it. Although it sounds unpleasant, natives swear by it possessing a divine taste.
So, are you ready to dig in? This is only a very small list of what Asia has in store for tourists looking to explore the local cuisine. Grab your bags and prepare your palate for Asia’s exquisite dishes, because this will be an experience you’ll be talking about for years!