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What Would You Try For The First Time????

FAB Oct 30, 2006 01:58 PM

If I had the courage I would say the one thing I'd try would probably be...Fogu(japanese puffer fish).I've always been curious but just the thought makes me a little nervous.Other than that I've never had Ethopian cuisine and I've heard many good things about it, so its a toss up.Anyone else ever been curious to try something a little different?

  1. HillJ Nov 2, 2006 12:17 PM

    ostrich?...I see it often...still curious

    1 Reply
    1. re: HillJ
      kerwintoronto Nov 2, 2006 12:44 PM

      Hi HillJ,

      Ostrich...had it a couple times but it varied depending on where I had it. Overall I found it a very dense gamebird. Like duck but much meatier and denser. Sort of like how buffalo is to beef. I've only had it pan-fried or grilled and it's always been boneless steaks like a thick medallion (if you call it that from a bird).

      I liked it but not enough to search it out in the local markets (Toronto) to make at home.

      I say go for it!

    2. cayjohan Nov 1, 2006 06:49 AM

      I will try almost anything, but the argument in my house (other than how much money you should expect if you eat a stick of butter) is what would your "last meal" be. The Hub's is my saffron turkey hash (he's had it recently and is still alive, FYI) but my choice is the apotheois of what I have never had the guts to eat: fugu, yet not just fugu, but the liver and testes of the fugu. What better way to cheat the executioner or the Grim Reaper, than with a delicacy that will kill you? If I ever commit some horribly heinous crime(not that I'm going to - my anger centers around errant hairballs from the cats) or if I am on the verge of being ex-terminal, that will be what I choose to try for the first, and last time.

      1. s
        suse Oct 31, 2006 11:38 AM

        I don't know about puffer fish, but often when it comes to Asian "delicacies" it's all about virility. Many endangered species could be saved in China if you just dropped planeloads of viagra on the country. What, you haven't tried bile squeezed into a shot of fire water from a practically still alive snake or turtle? Me either, cause I'm a woman! What about monkey brain? No? Bear paw? Not me, though I have had the pleasure of drinking a beer with one of the listed ingredients being "seal penis". Oops, I don't think it was intended for me. Chances are if there's something funky out there you chowhounds haven't tried, it's probably not that yummy, but you've been missing out on some extra fine lovin'.

        1. p
          piccola Oct 31, 2006 10:48 AM

          Natto and that fermented stinky tofu. I can't find either one, but they're on my list. Obviously, not at the same time.

          1. f
            fara Oct 31, 2006 02:57 AM

            I would try if in the right place:

            chicken sashimi
            any sort of animal, fish, or plant that is not poisionous. I am interested to know what guinea pig in Peru tastes like. Basically will try anything not hard and grisly, one texture I can't stand, and i don't mean like chicken feet (which i love all manner of ways), i mean like deep fried chicken intestines. i think i'll start a thread what would you not eat..

            1. chowser Oct 31, 2006 12:12 AM

              Bread fruit prepared properly. I've tried doing it myself and don't see the appeal but I wonder how it would be if it were fresh and well done.

              Budha fingers. I've seen them but have no idea what to do with them. They look interesting.

              7 Replies
              1. re: chowser
                bitsubeats Oct 31, 2006 04:23 AM

                I think buddha hand is used mainly for zesting, as it is incredibly hard to peel the "fingers"

                oh and I'd definitely try dog the next time I go to Korea. They also have these weird "sea squirt" type creatures in Korea that I was too afraid to try when I was little.

                picture of sea squirts http://www.lib.noaa.gov/korea/main_sp...

                1. re: bitsubeats
                  morebubbles Nov 1, 2006 11:25 AM

                  I heard that dog is an 'aphrodisiac', for men. (?)
                  The sea squirts look VERY scary to me. You'll give us a report on these two delicacies once you try them right?

                  1. re: morebubbles
                    bitsubeats Nov 1, 2006 06:59 PM

                    who knows when I go to Korea? Perhaps this summer?

                    dog soup is like a health soup in korea, its supposed to be good for something....maybe for men, maybe for hangovers, maybe for health? who knows (:

                    I would rather eat the dog than those sea squirts. My mom and sister used to eat the squirts when I lived in korea and it freaked me out. YOu eat them raw too

                    1. re: bitsubeats
                      bijoux16 Nov 1, 2006 08:33 PM

                      dog meat is surprisingly good. I thought it was like lamb without the lamb-y taste/smell. I recommend it!

                      1. re: bijoux16
                        bitsubeats Nov 1, 2006 09:13 PM

                        I heard it is "sweet"

                      2. re: bitsubeats
                        kerwintoronto Nov 2, 2006 12:35 PM

                        Hi morebubbles,

                        I had the pleasure of trying these sea squirts when I was in Pusan for a conference a couple years ago. It was served to me raw sliced (sashimi style). It was fresh from the tank in the wet/fish market down by the harbour.

                        Tastewise I found it to be relatively mild ... like abalone but with maybe half the 'sweetness/seafood' flavour of a nice fresh abalone. (sorry don't know the proper term for that in English...can just think of it in Chinese) Texturally it was very similar to a cross between abalone/clams. A little tougher than abalone but without the snap and sort of chewy like a clam but not as juicy (comparisons to raw items).

                        There isn't a lot of food bits coming out of one of those critters...the orange nubbly bits are all leathery and rough. They served it along side as a garnish/proof I guess so I tried a nibble ... they did motion to me that you don't eat those bits.

                        Decent but I don't recall the exact price as I had it with some fresh sashimi too (flounder I think?...the one where they sometimes server the finny side bits as a treat).

                        1. re: kerwintoronto
                          morebubbles Nov 2, 2006 01:57 PM

                          kerwintoronto, great description. I love sashimi, so your comparisons are something I can relate it to. Actually, it sounds good. Now that it's explained that way (also didn't know it was served raw) I would try it.

                2. dpnpt Oct 30, 2006 11:43 PM

                  I would try anything offered to me, even tried offal in HKG, although at the time I didn't know what it was and couldn't figure out what the mystery dish was.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dpnpt
                    niki rothman Oct 31, 2006 02:06 AM

                    Well, offal is just a broad generic term for innards. Liver is offal, but I don't think that must be what you mean.

                  2. scoobyhed Oct 30, 2006 10:59 PM

                    I've always wanted to try durian, and I've seen them for sale in Asian groceries, but I wouldn't know what to do with one once I bought it. How do you know if it's ripe? Do you just hack it open and eat the goo inside, or is there more to it? I know it smells like rotting garbage, but what should it taste like?

                    1. Will Owen Oct 30, 2006 08:05 PM

                      Anything! Sometimes I not only don't like it, I *REALLY* don't like it, but as long as I survive the experience it's OK. Durian was the last thing that I simply could not get past...and as what I had was not the fresh fruit, but a flavored syrup (in a sort of smoothie), I can't say honestly that I've given it a fair shot.

                      I also keep trying things I know I've not liked - I try some plain (non-chocolate) sweet custard at least once a year to see if my distaste for it has gone away, and I'm glad to note that it's no longer totally disgusting to me.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Will Owen
                        kerwintoronto Nov 2, 2006 12:39 PM

                        Hiyas W'O.

                        I agree totally on the keep on trying. It took me about 20 years of sampling/exposure to durian of 3-4x a year. I was in Singapore with a colleague and order a durian desert (chendol/azuki beans with durian puree on top) for him to try. He of course passed after the first bit so I thought ... wonder what it's like with ice/sugar/azuki ... and I liked it enough to finish the bowl. Subsequently, when I am over at my parents and they crack one open ... I'm in for one serving at least. Not a raging durian addict ... in Toronto the quality fluctuates depending on season and source I guess.

                        1. re: kerwintoronto
                          morebubbles Nov 2, 2006 01:55 PM

                          kerwintoronto and WO: I have a saying- You have to try everything twice! This can apply to anything, esp. food! Keeping at it (20 yrs?) is impressive! You two are great!

                      2. Glencora Oct 30, 2006 06:49 PM

                        Travel articles about the Caribbean often mention conch fritters. Don't know if they're any good, but I'm curious.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Glencora
                          MVNYC Oct 30, 2006 07:23 PM

                          they are basically like hush puppies with chewy bits in it and a faint flavour of the sea

                          1. re: MVNYC
                            atheorist Oct 30, 2006 09:44 PM

                            Rhode Island clam cakes might be better than conch fritters.

                            I can't believe I have never had ceviche. I am sure I'd love it.

                            1. re: atheorist
                              Glencora Oct 30, 2006 11:39 PM

                              I was imagining something quite different. I guess I don't need to book that island trip after all. I was curious because it seemed like one of the few things not avaliable in the Bay Area. But--Rhode Island clam cakes? Hmmm...

                              1. re: atheorist
                                fara Oct 31, 2006 01:08 AM

                                no, RI clam cakes are not better than conch fritters. conch fritters have much more flavor. RI clamcakes taste like a bad version of hush puppies.

                              2. re: MVNYC
                                chowser Oct 31, 2006 12:13 AM

                                Good description but w/out the onion flavor I've had in most hush puppies. For conch, you can taste it better in salad or something else. The pieces are tiny in fritters.

                              3. re: Glencora
                                Robert Lauriston Oct 30, 2006 07:25 PM

                                Good but not very challenging.

                                1. re: Glencora
                                  Cheese Boy Oct 31, 2006 01:54 AM

                                  Glencora, I had conch fritters in St. Thomas. If I were you, I would make sure of the following. Make sure the batter is well cooked. Fritters brown very quickly on the outside, especially in overheated oil. For the most part, they tend to remain somewhat uncooked on the inside. The results of consuming undercooked conch fritter batter is a very very uncomfortable subsequent day.

                                  I'd try something else to be very honest. I'll never eat them again ANYWHERE. I had *Wahoo* two days later and it was awesome compared to the conch. Try conch only if it's prepared alternatively. It's also overly chewy when in fritters.

                                  Conch fritters: http://www.geographia.com/antiguanews/messages/7/2758.jpg

                                  Wahoo: http://www.timsseafood.com/grafix/Wah...

                                  1. re: Cheese Boy
                                    kluemaster Nov 1, 2006 06:17 PM

                                    I've spent a good bit of time in the Bahamas, and conch fritters are only as good as where they are cooked. They can be very good, or very bad, depending on who cooks them, and what the conch content is. It's like crab cakes from that standpoint. I've had great ones with almost no filler, and crappy ones with almost no crab/conch.

                                    One of our favorite things to eat is "Cracked Conch". Basically, we prepare it like this. take a cleaned conch, slice it into bite sized bits, and beat it with a meat tenderizer until ALMOST see through. Batter in Uncle Bucks, or your favorite fish batter, and deep fry.

                                    Like many foods, prep and technique are everything. I try to look like this: I'll try anything twice. The first time, it could have been a bad batch, bad day for the cook, or some other reason. If I don't like it after a couple tries.. then it takes a little more convincing that another will be any different.

                                    Here's hoping your first try will be a good one!

                                    1. re: kluemaster
                                      Cheese Boy Nov 1, 2006 08:06 PM

                                      Kluemaster, very well said. I might have to give it a second try. I've been to the Bahamas but all I remember was drinking - couldn't tell you what I ate while there. We drank a lot of rum out of freshly opened coconuts while laying out on the beach. The Bahamas was very nice. I'll have to return soon and try their conch.

                                  2. re: Glencora
                                    melly Nov 1, 2006 04:18 AM

                                    I had them in Honduras...the Bay Islands...very good, as is the soup.

                                  3. Cheese Boy Oct 30, 2006 06:32 PM

                                    1. Durian. 2. Bitter melon. That's all for right now.

                                    1. n
                                      niki rothman Oct 30, 2006 03:48 PM

                                      Sure, there are luxury items that I would love to try that I have just never had the opportunity to savor because of class issues - I'm not likely to be able to feel comfortable splashing out for a really big whole steamed lobster, fresh truffles, really expensive esoteric Frenchie wines. And there are things I'd love to eat for the taste but definitely won't for monetary AND ethical reasons: sturgeon, beluga caviar, foie gras, abalone. I've had uni, why not - and I LOVED it.

                                      1. Robert Lauriston Oct 30, 2006 03:18 PM

                                        Fugu's pretty boring for the price.

                                        "Mountain vegetable" is more of a challenge.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          niki rothman Oct 30, 2006 03:57 PM

                                          By mountain vegetable, do you mean those scary, wrinkly, bulbous, warty, outer space creature things you see in boxes in Chinese produce stores in Chinatown? I don't mean the dried sea cucumbers, which look just as bad. I bought one of those once, and I got a lot of mileage scaring unsuspecting naieve friends with it. The mountain vegetable, if we're on the same wavelength is very tasty minced and added to soup or a stir fry. The sea cucumber I never did figure out what to do with, and actually think it might be inhabiting the nether reaches of an upper kitchen cabinet at this very moment. Maybe there's a question there for the home cooking board....
                                          Oh, something else I would like to try once - maybe have to get likkered up in order to take the plunge: a "ripe" durian.

                                          1. re: niki rothman
                                            Robert Lauriston Oct 30, 2006 03:59 PM



                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            choctastic Oct 31, 2006 12:20 AM

                                            why are mountain vegetables more of a challenge?

                                            1. re: choctastic
                                              Robert Lauriston Oct 31, 2006 02:01 AM

                                              Some of them are strong-flavored and weird.

                                          3. Silverjay Oct 30, 2006 03:00 PM

                                            There's really no need to be intimidated by "fugu". There's a sort of "oriental mystification" thing going on there perhaps. It's not really such a big deal. There are fugu shops all over Japan and it's not considered stunt eating or anything like that. You just need a special license to prepare it. You usually get a fugu set, with the fish prepared in various ways. You're right that it doesn't taste great. It's really rather plain and takes up the flavor of whatever broth it is in for the soups. What it's most reknowned for is the consistency of the sashimi, which gives it a sort of snap when you eat it. The serving style is a big plate of thin slices with some spring onion. You wrap some fish and onion around your chopstick and dip it in some soy sauce or ponzu. Because of the mild poison still in the flesh, your lips can tingle slightly sometimes. For Americans who are interested in flavorful foods, the appeal of fugu can be hard to understand. I've had it a few times, but I guess I've never thought of it as exotic. If you like fish, I recommend trying it- though best on someone else's dime. It's expensive.

                                            1. f
                                              FAB Oct 30, 2006 02:36 PM

                                              whoops...that would make more sense.

                                              1. o
                                                ob_chris Oct 30, 2006 02:05 PM

                                                For whatever reason, I'm still holding off on trying uni, though I'm sure I would love it. Maybe one too many negative comments from friends.

                                                1. g
                                                  glutton Oct 30, 2006 02:03 PM

                                                  Eating fogu feels like "stunt eating" to me. It's all about the adrenaline and the risk, not the taste. From what I'm told, the actual fish is not particularly good and you're so distracted be the fear of death, that you can barely concentrate on the taste of the food itself. That's all secondhand, of course...

                                                  I would like to try Georgian food. My russian friends tell me it is spectacular, but I cannot find a Georgian restaurant.

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: glutton
                                                    FAB Oct 30, 2006 02:25 PM

                                                    Hav you tried looking for southern restaurants????georgian cuisine is primarily ol' fashioned southern cooking.

                                                    1. re: FAB
                                                      ob_chris Oct 30, 2006 02:31 PM

                                                      I believe the reference was to the eastern European country as opposed to our US state. Glutton, just curious -- what is unique about their cuisine?

                                                      1. re: ob_chris
                                                        glutton Oct 30, 2006 03:11 PM

                                                        I honestly don't know what is special about it. I have just heard repeatedly from my Russian friends (I've got a few) how much they love Georgian food and before I can ask further questions, they return to drinking vodka. (Yes, my Russian friends fulfill all the stereotypes, much to my entertainment.)

                                                    2. re: glutton
                                                      E Eto Oct 30, 2006 07:09 PM

                                                      That's probably as far from the truth as you can get about fugu.


                                                      1. re: glutton
                                                        a_and_w Oct 30, 2006 10:22 PM

                                                        Georgian food is awesome! When visited the then-USSR, the best food by far was in Tblisi. That may, however, be more a commentary on russian food!

                                                        1. re: glutton
                                                          choctastic Oct 31, 2006 12:17 AM

                                                          i've actually had fugu a couple of times and this is the biggest nonsense that I've ever heard.

                                                          1. re: glutton
                                                            hatless Oct 31, 2006 12:53 PM

                                                            Many Russian restaurants serve quite a bit of Georgian food. I see your native board is LA. It shouldn't be too hard to find at least some Georgian food in the "Russian" enclaves there. When you see items like kharcho (a lamb or beef with rice soup and a spicy broth), khachapuri (cheese-filled bread), lobio (a bean dish), satsivi (a cold chicken-walnut dip), or kebabs served with tkemali (sour prune) sauce, that's Georgian food. Indeed, some restaurants outsiders regard as Russian, because that's what the staff and most customers speak, are actually Georgian, Armenian or something else.

                                                            Very roughly speaking (and I'm sure a Georgian will be upset by this analogy -- ბოდშით!), Georgian and other cuisines of the Caucasus occupy a similar place in the cooking of Russia and the rest of the former Soviet Union as, say, Italian cooking in the US. It's the comforting "ethnic" cuisine they turn to when they want a lot of garlic, herbs and red wine.

                                                            1. re: hatless
                                                              a_and_w Nov 1, 2006 10:36 PM

                                                              Hatless, the Georgians would be outraged by your analogy! I can still remember bringing the dinner conversation to a screeching halt when I made the mistake of thanking our hosts in Russian! Do NOT make the mistake of describing it as a subset of Russian cuisine in front of Georgians...

                                                              1. re: a_and_w
                                                                hatless Nov 1, 2006 11:49 PM

                                                                No, no. It's not a subset of Russian cooking any more than Italian is a subset of American. Which is to say, not at all. But some Italian dishes are part of the basic American repetoire, and Georgian food burrowed its way into Russian cooking much the same way.

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