Weird Eats Thread
After getting tired of eating pasta and pizza on our two-week trip through Italy, a friend and I decided to start trying new things. Things most of our friends wouldn't eat on a dare: pigeon, pajata (veal intestine), hot cow's stomach sandwiches, lard sandwiches, some stew made from lamb heart, lung, liver, and spleen, etc. We wound up spending more time hunting down weird foods to eat than taking in all that great art and culture but we had a lot of fun doing it.
I'm moving back to New York next week, and my friend and I want to continue hunting down weird dishes to eat. I've already tried calves brain tacos, jellyfish in Chinatown, and we're planning on heading to the Red Hook fields to try that famous roast guinea pig.
Anyone have some suggestions for weird eats in New York?
(Apologies if there is a similar thread for this already)
Jackson Heights has some Latin American foods that are perhaps not quite as weird, but tasty and unusual. Just about every Argentine or Uruguayan steakhouse has grilled intestines and sweetbreads in their mixed grill, which also includes morcilla (blood sausage). Squeeze lemon over the sweetbreads for best taste. Order a a hearts of palm appetizer to go with it. You can also get intestines from some of the Colombian carts.The Colombians call them chunchurria and the Argentines chinchulines. The Ecuadorian places serve guatita (beef tripe stew in potato peanut sauce), as well as hominy corn and purple potatoes. The Peruvian places serve grilled pieces of beef heart and potatoes with some unusual sauces, as well as lucuma ice cream (lucuma is an orange relative of the avocado) and the crunchy bakes corn nuts, if you're lucky. You might want to check out a Pueblan place like Taquería Coatzingo in JH. They have some interesting green veggies in some of the sauces, as well as slabs of nopal (cactus) on top of the steaks. If you haven't had chilaquiles (a tortilla-chili casserole-like breakfast dish), it's an unusual texture and very tasty. Also, the various tripe soups are interesting (Mexican menudo and Colombian/Dominican mondongo). La Boina Roja Colombian steakhouse has mondongo, oatmeal soup, and spleen soup on different days. Also, try the unusual fruit shakes at any of these places, and Inca Cola (bubble gum flavor). In Dominican places, they might serve mashed plantain breakfast food (mangú) and will definitely have the wonderful, but heavy, mofongo (garlicky fried mashed plantains with pork cracklings).
You might head up to the Bronx to one of the Ghanaian restaurants. I usually go to Ebe Ye Yie at 2364 Jerome Ave. Almost everything they make will seem "weird" to most Americans. Get one of the soups. You can choose among a couple of soup bases, even put a mixture of beef, fish, hard-boiled egg, and chicken in it, and eat it with your hands, dipping pinches of a ball of fufu or banku ( plaintain or yam paste) into it. You've may not have eaten African yam either, which you can often get with a green sauce made of spinach and squash seeds. Oh, and don't forget the kenke, also eaten with the hands, which is a fermented corn meal dough. Instead of sandwiches, they have kenke, with fried fish or sardines and a Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce for lunch, again eaten with the hands. (Just look around at what other people are eating and at the steam table. You can mix and match. They will also give you a hand bowl and detergent to wash up before and after.)
I imagine you've already tried the Vietnamese pho' with all the kinds of beef in it (7, I think), which includes tripe and tendon. I've also had interesting frog's legs Vietnamese style.
Check out ideas at gastronauts website (google it) - but no report backs - Wah! Also - don't think there's roast guinea pig at ballfields - plenty of other good stuff, though! And guinea (sp??) pig, I'm sure, can be found elsewhere (Is that cuy? There was a thread on cuy not too long back...)
Make a beeline on the 7 train to Flushing, Queens and sample any number of tasty jelly fish dishes at Fu Ron. That should prep your pallette for some Lamb's eyeballs and/or other organ meats at A Fan Ti. Not exactly on the high end for weirdness compared with, say, a Brain Taco, but worth a bite, is the deep fried milk fish at Ihawan, which is a very homey Phillipino BBQ joint in Woodside. The presentation of this fish, split open on the plate like a 3D Rorschact test and served whole, is what might make the squeamish cower. That, and the fact that that the head is completely edible, crunchy and delicious. You'll down it in a bite or two - it's the best part. While we're talking fish heads, you might want to try the Fish Head Casserole at any number of Malaysian venues, either Sentosa, Banana Leaf or Curry Leaves in Flushing, or Taste Good in Elmhurst.
Enjoy your quest, and please report back.