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Sep 16, 2006 10:40 PM

Any REALLY obscure food that you know about, that others probably don't?

Hello. I have recently begun trying new and different foods that I was previously unfamiliar with,(chayote, kholrabi, etc) and was discussing that with my husband's collegue who studies obscure food. She is very adventurous and has had just about everything. All the foods that I mentioned were something that she had eaten (even muskrat!).

I wondered about any REALLY obscure foods. Ones that even she had not heard about. I figured that you chowhounds would definitely know of a few.

Anyone know of any?

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  1. tiger nuts? They are a Spanish tuber from the Chufa plant grown in Valencia, Spain. Eaten as a snack or to make Spanish Horchata.

    1. Somebody in an earlier post was confused about Salsify. Of course, I knew what is was.


      1 Reply
      1. re: TexasToast

        If you've ever wondered why it wasn't cultivated commercially all that much, the answer might be tied to its digestive effects. Beans have nothing on salsify.

      2. How about "yamamomo", which is a Japanese fruit literally translated as mountain peach. I ate it once in Japan, and recently it turned up in one of the dishes at Nobu, a restaurant in NYC. There is nothing peach-like about it to me. It's small, red, berry-like with a unique texture that's hard for me to describe. IIRC, the flavor was sweet and tart.

        7 Replies
        1. re: chowmeow

          I've had the same thing at Nobu malibu and it is used to cleanse the palate. We had one between each courses.

          1. re: Veggietales

            Yep, been there done that. Must be a Nobu thing.


            1. re: TexasToast

              A feel a yamamomo trend coming around...will it be the next yuzu? ;-)

          2. re: chowmeow

            So I did a google search on yamamomo to see if I could get the fruit and I came across this link:


            I guess their diet may fit this thread, but I would consider it un-chowish :)

            1. re: rcheng

              Whoever created that page screwed up the URL. It should be Yanomamo (I'm an anthropology geek). Yes, they might have some rare food to share, but it's not quite as horrible as the link makes out!

              1. re: Saccade

                Have you tried the special sauce made from Toad skin?

          3. Oh, I just remembered another one, also from Japan. I was in a yakitori joint one evening and ordered "tamahimo" for the heck of it, not knowing what it was. With my rudimentary Japanese I knew it literally translated to ball - rope, but had not idea what this could be. All I knew was that it was some part of the chicken. What appeared was a stewed hardboiled egg on a stick with a few pieces of chewy organ meat underneath, one of them attached to the egg. The yolk was unusually large; the egg white was just a thin covering around it. Are you guessing what this was? It was an unhatched chicken egg still attached to the fallopian tube.

            Finally, in Taiwan, I was treated to an expensive delicacy called Crystal Snow, or Snow Jello. It was actually frog ovaries, which my cousin had painstakingly soaked and cleaned for hours.

            3 Replies
            1. re: chowmeow

              What do frog ovaries taste like? Are they served cooked or raw?

              1. re: ponocat

                Have you ever had bubble tea? The ovaries are small, gelatinous pieces similar to the tapioca balls in the tea, but softer and less chewier. They seem to be flavorless, and take on the flavors of whatever it's in. My cousin served it in a warm dessert/medicinal soup, which also contained white fungus, dried dates and sugar. It is sold dried, so you have to soak it for a while. I'm not sure if she boiled it for a long time, or just threw it into the pot. If she hadn't made such a big deal about the fact that they were frog ovaries, I would have just thought they were some tapioca product.

                1. re: chowmeow

                  We had the frog ovaries at Shau May in a delicious mango coconut smoothie. They are rather flavorless and yes, reminiscent of boba.

            2. I'm surprised no-one's mentioned dog yet, as it's quite the delicacy in Korea. My Korean friend says they breed special dogs just for eating and sliced thin, you'd never know what it was!


              2 Replies
              1. re: TexasToast

                I visited Korea thirty years ago and saw cleaned, cooked dog on the meat vendors rack for sale, along with pigs heads. I was pretty surprised to see the dogs, but as you say, they were considered a delicacy.

                1. re: TexasToast

                  well, the topic is any foods that people don't "know about." not tried :)