I’m no slouch when it comes to the nasty, and often squirmy, bits. Just last night some friends and I enjoyed a multistop Flushing feast that began with Sichuan cold chicken feet and beef tendon and ended with chicken heart and beef stomach skewers at Biang! And, it’s a little known fact that I turned Anthony Bourdain on to the infamous lamb face salad that was created at Biang! parent Xi’an Famous Foods.
For the inaugural issue of Edible Queens I was tasked with taking Bourdain and his pal, Eric Ripert to eat the Korean delicacy san nakji, or live baby octopus. “Wouldn’t it be cool if I were experiencing it for the first time with them?,” I asked my editor. Her response was less than enthusiastic.
My virgin san nakji experience was with my Korean dry cleaner Paulie Sunshine. We got one critter each. After dispatching the squirming tentacles, Paulie popped the head in his mouth, chewed twice, and then swallowed.
“Your turn Joseph,” he said with a smile as I popped the slippery egg-shaped orb into my mouth and began chewing. And chewing. And chewing. No matter how much I chewed my teeth couldn’t get hold of the slippery mass. The ink sacs began to pop, and the surprisingly tasty ink began to seep out. Just as I was wondering if this was the cephalopod’s way of taking revenge on me I heard a voice. “OK Joseph, you go spit it out.” So, I did. It is thus far the first and only time I have tried to eat an octopus head.
So here’s what I’m curious to know. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten or attempted to eat. Tell me in the comments or hit me on the Twitter, @JoeDiStefano.
Should I just rattle off most of the Gastronaut menus?? At the top of the Strange-But-Delicious list I’d probably put cod shirako and goat eyeballs. Man I love me some eyeballs.
Of the two I prefer shirako…any contenders in the strange but inedible category come to mind?
Fermented mare’s milk
Ant egg tacos
Wittchety grubs–not recommended
Honey pot ants–highly recommended
Nice! So am I correct in thinking you are neutral on the mare’s milk? I’ve tried none of those but the honey pot ants sound good.
The mare’s milk, aka kumiss, wasn’t bad, just a little sour and fizzy. However, shortly after drinking a bottle (somewhere in Central Asia) I ended up on an overheated tour bus driving through the Altai mountains with a group of very loud French tourists, some of who performed Napoleon imitations in the aisle. That I didn’t lose the kumiss all over them is a miracle.