Food Exploration

I have always been a foodie and food exploration is one thing I have enjoyed in retirement, although the pandemic has put my exploration of new restaurants on hold. Fellow blogger Christie (link) has a “60 new things before 60” goal and commented a few weeks ago about how many new things she was trying were food related.  The foodie in me rejoiced and I immediately found the latest foods-you-should-eat-list and checked it out for myself.  With only 75 of 100, I felt a bit disappointed.   If you’re curious about your own foodie adventuring, here’s the link.

When I mentioned this list, a friend encouraged me to to re-look at my own foodie lists – the many foods I have tried. So this blog is a look at foods you might want to explore in 2021, and become a foodie adventurer as well!

There are a few things I am sure I will never try:  Durian, Fugu, and Phaal are on that list.  But there are quite a few things on my own Possibilities List that have been there awhile; being on my Possibilities List means when/if the opportunity arises, do it.  Or in this case, eat it!  

I still regret the lost opportunity (years ago) to try sea urchin, and it remains on my Possibilities List.  I was younger then, and just couldn’t get myself to eat it as it looked too much like a little brain. 

There is also one thing I have had that is “unknown”.  At a dinner in Bangkok with clients, they served everything “family style”.  As I took a bite of something, I commented, “This is delicious, what is it?”  And in the very polite way of the Thai people, the response was “Miss Patricia, sometimes it is better not to know.”  The immediate conundrum as I gazed at my chopsticks with another bite left was, do I finish this or not? I did. And to this day I do not know what I was eating!

Besides sea urchin, most of the items on my Possibilities List are from other food-you-need-to-try lists through the years and include:  prickly pear, Som Tam (Thai green papaya salad), Namtuk Moo (Thai gilled pork salad), soft shell crab, chitlin’s, curried goat, haggis & blood pudding, umeboshi (salted Japanese plum), kangaroo, and crickets. I am hoping that a few of them will end up on my own new things list in 2021.

What is the craziest food I have ever tried?  A pig’s eye.  It was part of the roasted pig head dinner experience we had.  And no, I will not eat it again.

Since I do feel I am an adventurous foodie, I’ve created my own Foods-To-Try list.  These are all things I’ve eaten or drank, and would eat or drink again!  So no pig’s eye, no duck foot, no headcheese, no sweetbreads, no salted lassi, and no root beer float.  For some reason, I’ve never liked the root beer flavor. That and black licorice, pumpkin spice, and steamed zucchini are all things on my “no” list when it comes to eating, but often find there way onto other’s must-try lists.

So here it is – Pat’s official “Foods to try before you die” list – from the mundane, to the kitsch, to the exotic.  From breakfast to snacks and everything in between. Hmm, what’s for dinner tonight?

What on this list is now on your own must-try list? 

What is your favorite food that I missed?

picture credit: Pexel

21 thoughts on “Food Exploration

  1. What a fun quiz! I scored 58 out of 100. Most of the foods I have not yet tried, I’m not sure I want to (eel and snake are at the top of that list). I would say maybe an unusual food I have tried that was not on the list was Baccala or Salted Cod. My husband’s Italian family served it every Christmas Eve.
    I am ready for the day when we can venture to new restaurants again!!

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    1. Molly, great to hear you back in the blog-o-sphere. I agree totally about being ready to venture out to restaurants again. We have done a few eat outside, but it still was not comfortable. And I’ve discovered that to-go only works on some foods – pizza, sushi, thai. I’ve had eel in sushi a number of times! And I will add salted cod to my try list…. I might have had it with a Feast of the 7 Fishes though!

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  2. I thought it was interesting you had venison and quail listed as “exotic” meats. My dad was a hunter so we ate both quite often. I am definitely not an adventurous eater although my tastes have changed as I’ve aged. I’m fine with my boring eating but I have had In-n-Out Burger!!! 😉

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    1. I guess many folks would consider venison normal, but I guess I called them exotic because you can’t get them at the local Kroger supermarket. 🙂 I’m not sure when I started being an adventurous eater, but have become more so as I’ve aged!

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  3. Pat, we are definitely foodies. There isn’t anything on your list I haven’t eaten or wouldn’t try. I had to Google Monfongo and Paneer, but I love Plantains and Cottage Cheese, so if I ever get the chance, I’m in. I won’t eat brains, eyeballs, or bugs. Most blood organs are out also. I will eat liver, but I have to really trust the source and preparation. We love trying regional foods when we travel, but again, I see no need to eat a cricket when I can have a nice dish of crunchy local veggies in a delectable sauce. I don’t see lamb or lamb dishes of any kind on your list. It is a pretty comprehensive list though, so I might have missed it.

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    1. Suzanne, I have eaten lamb. It’s one of my mom’s favorites, but so often was expensive and she would never order it when we went out to restaurants. Thanks for the suggestion…is there a specific lamb dish you like?

      Like you, I also try regional foods when traveling, as well as ethnic restaurants locally. I just saw a new Lao restaurant near us and will be looking at trying that when I feel comfortable going out to eat again.

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    1. Tracey, I’m thinking I’m not quite clear on the blog as you’re the third person who has the wrong impression…these are all things I have eaten (or drank)… and would again! 🙂

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  4. I checked out the list and there are quite some things I haven’t tried – mostly the ones that are US centric, but I have had many on it & many things are standard issue for us – things like som tum, soft shelled crab and Thai grilled pork. I’ve also had crocodile, umeboshi, kangaroo, emu, frogs legs, snails, haggis, blood pudding, white pudding, pigs ears (and plenty of other piggy bits) and plenty more besides. While I’ve tried it, I’m not a fan of offal & the weirdest thing I’ve eaten was rice paddy eels & the most disgusting thing was andouillette – I couldn’t even get past the smell with that! One thing I’ve never had though, is pumpkin pie. Go figure.

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    1. Jo, I’m not surprised you’ve tried some unusual things – especially with your past “pick a country” weekend dinners and ability to cook almost anything. Real Thai food is not that widely found in the US… we have more Americanized Thai. But I do look for those Thai dishes every time we explore a new Thai restaurant! I have had andouille… is andouillette much different? I’ll need to put white pudding onto the same timing as black pudding and haggis… a Scottish restaurant or someday a trip to Scotland! And yes, you really do need to try pumpkin pie… very American, but I do think you’d appreciate the spice blend in it.

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      1. I remember cooking haggis for Grant in the early days of our relationship (the things you do in the early days lol) – he loves it. What can I say, he’s Scottish…

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  5. Hubby and I consider ourselves foodies. Once, while visiting friends in Mexico, we ate what we thought were quesadillas. As it turns out, they were filled with cow brains. Hmmm… I think I would have preferred not to know.

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    1. Laurie, LOL. I sometimes wish I did know… but I don’t and it does make a lovely story. I’m not sure I’d eat something if I knew it was brains…although I’ve eaten tripe, so I’m not sure why brains would turn me off! Hah.

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  6. I’m laughing hard at the “Miss Patricia” explanation. Indeed, it is often better not to know! I consider myself a pretty adventurous eater, but I think you have me beat. Sea urchin and pig’s eye wouldn’t get but wide eyes and a shaking of the head “no” by me! Love the list. I have to say I’ll pass on the TurDuckEn too. But bagels and lox? Bring it on! – Marty

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    1. Marty, That dinner memory is one of my favorites from Thailand, which I only visited once. Turducken was fine, it sounds much more interesting than it tastes (If you didn’t know – It’s a small hen stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey…. all bones removed). I’m with you on bagels and lox – it is one of my favorite breakfasts!

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  7. Travel to foreign countries should offer many possibilities for trying something new. I say “should” because, sadly, many people travel and only partake in what is familiar to them. I think one should at least try most foods. If you don’t like it, cross it off your list.

    I’ve eaten sea urchin because I wanted to try it but I can’t say I’d eat it again. Perhaps it was the way it was prepared, but it didn’t appeal. In Oaxaca, we’ve had both fried crickets and grasshoppers (chapulines). They were crunchy and it was hard to taste much beside the spices on them. Once I got over the “ewww” factor, I didn’t have a problem adding them to my food.

    I’ll have to take a closer look at your list, but I think I’ve tried most of the items and I don’t consider myself much of a foodie – just curious.

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    1. Janis, Curious about food – I think that makes you a foodie. 🙂 I agree with you – try it once and see if you like it. That’s how I did the pig’s eye – it was offered and even though I got over the mental “ewww”, it still was not a pleasant thing to eat.

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  8. Hi Pat – that’s quite a list! I’m not a foodie at all (adventurous or otherwise) I just can’t get excited about weird tastes or strange cuisines. I’m happy eating normal, healthy food with an occasional takeaway or cafe treat thrown in for variety. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on some sort of secret that everyone else knows and I don’t get, but it’s saved me a lot of time and money over the years and I’m okay with that (plus I don’t need to miss the restaurant experience while that’s on hold). Keep us posted on your list though – I’m always interested in other people’s experiences.

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    1. Leanne, I’m not sure how I became one nor why I love it so. My family was not adventuresome in eating as I grew up and both of my siblings are more like you – normal foods. But to me, it is exciting and fun. Isn’t it wonderful we can all find our fun in our own unique ways?

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