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Where can I find some bizarre foods resturants in Boston?

Where can I find some bizarre foods resturants in Boston?
I'd love foods like belly, organs, liver, brains, head of pig, cultural themed foods, etc.
and I'm eager to try things like tongue, brain, different kinds of bugs and strange sea foods, alligator, snake, eel, bear...

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  1. What is bizarre; unusual or foul? You could get geoduck at New Jumbo seafood last I knew. I've seen durian fruit at numerous places. I've had wild boar at the city hall barbecue.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Guinness02122

      After seeing geoduck used on Iron Chef recently, I've been wanting to try it. The menu lists "giant clam two style" as "market price"- anyone have a general range and any input on whether it's worth it? I see they have abalone at $58 per plate-- also on my list to try but a bit more than I can spend right now...

      1. re: Parsnipity

        i had a live one at Fugakyu last year and it was pretty good, but the best part was the 'curtain' or 'skirt' that rings the clamshell. that was served two ways (sashimi and torched) and i found it better than the siphon. the cost was $60 for the entire clam.

        1. re: Parsnipity

          You can get geoduck sashimi at Peach Farm. It's wonderful; sweet, briney and crunchy. Then, they fry the neck, or head, or whatever those bits you don't eat raw are, for an intensely clammy flavor that tastes like fried clams to the tenth power...

          1. re: galleygirl

            Thanks, guys- sounds fabulous & like a good Christmas indulgence.

            1. re: Parsnipity

              They price by the pound, and you have to bu the whole geoduck, so bring a few friends....;)

            2. re: galleygirl

              I've read/heard that what seafood restaurants sell as "clam strips" is geoduck.

              1. re: greygarious

                Strips are from quahogs and other large hardshell clams. Geoduck is expensive, sometimes called "surf clam" and similar.

            3. re: Parsnipity

              I'd like to try geoduck too. Anthony Bourdain ate and loved it on the Pacific Northwest episode of "No Reservations."

              I've seen live geoduck in the Kam Man market.

              1. re: Kenji

                Peach Farm in Chinatown does excellent Geoduck. I particularly like the sashimi followed by deep fried bits prep. You may have already eaten it in a sushi place where I believe it is often called giant clam.

          2. Grasshopper at Tu y Yo in Somerville.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Prav

              Yes! Chapulines at Tu y Yo! And huitlacoche, so yummy...

            2. if journeying south to quincy isn't too far, you may want to check out little q hot pot in quincy center. though the menu is no longer on the table, you can request their organ meat menu. it includes a variety of feet (chicken, duck, etc), tripe, pig blood, duck uterus, tongue and more.

              1. Most Brazilian churrascos in Somerville have chicken hearts, which are salty and mildly eraser-like.

                Olé in Inman used to have a goat taco, I think, though it doesn't look to be on the menu now. It was tame and tasty.

                Dalí at Food Four Corners has an occasional kidney special.

                If you want to cook any of these yourself, Savenor's butcher (I know they usually have snake, alligator, boar, eel, tongue, and surely can get you organs or bear.)

                Tu Y Yo in Somerville also has several items with huitlacoche, which only seems bizarre if you look up a picture.

                Most sushi places in town will find you as much eel as you like.

                10 Replies
                1. re: enhF94

                  Good call on tu y o --- Loooove the huitlacoche. Anything with corn smut on it is my friend.

                  1. re: enhF94

                    "Dalí at Food Four Corners has an occasional kidney special."

                    Food Four Corners as in the intersection of Beacon and Washington? Never heard that before.

                    1. re: Joanie

                      Yes---it's got Dali, the Wine and Cheese Cask, EVOO, and the Biscuit. Pretty impressive, except the Biscuit is kind of a weak link (based on its pastries; the coffee is good). If the Sherman Cafe were there instead of the Biscuit it would be truly a food corner from heaven. I love my neighborhood joints!

                      1. re: bella_sarda

                        Isn't the Kebab Factory in that same corner?

                        1. re: bella_sarda

                          I am shocked by your cafe comment. I think the Biscuit has marvelous pastries-

                          They have carbs with heft and not too much sweetness...
                          Their croissant is perfectly flaky and layered, the brioche, deliciously moist but not soft and wimpy like some...

                          What is it that you don't care for?

                          On topic. Bizarre foods... not so unusual but tripe soup at Izzy's. Okay- pretty lame.

                          1. re: miiki

                            I'm still wondering if this Food Four Corners phrase is used by the general public? Seems like there's got to be a lot of food 4 corners around town.

                            1. re: Joanie

                              I was struck by this as well, Joanie. But I do think it is apt.

                              I was trying to remember the name of the wine shop last week and kept wanting to say Cask and Flagon - which of course was worng in some many dimensions!

                              1. re: Joanie

                                Sorry, that's just me and my blog. It's not in general use.

                                Also Savenor's and Acme ice up there, which is a well-known supplier to local restaurants.

                            2. re: bella_sarda

                              I'd say Dali is the weakest link there. Consistently mediocre food, and an atmosphere like you just stepped into spain-land at Epcot center. Love wine and cheese cask though. Only place to get real spanish chorizo witihin a 1 mile radius of my place.

                        2. You might be able to find Balut at the Pinoy market in Quincy. Worth checking out.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Prav

                            Yes, you can definitely find balut there, though you'll need to cook it (This could actually be a little tricky to do well, since they don't specify how old they are, but you may want to adjust the cooking time depending on how developed they are-- you probably want to ask for their advice)

                            1. re: Prav

                              you can find balut at all the cambodian markets on shirley ave in revere, as well as all the markets in lowell. generally they are labeled as "baby eggs" or are unlabeled.

                            2. Many Kosher delis have tongue sliced up by the pound or as sandwiches - Joan and Ed's in Natick certainly does. Lengua tacos are available at many Mexican places - Taqueria Mexico in Waltham has them.

                              Our local supermarket in Lowell (Battambang) has a good selection of offal, from - pig's uterus to kidneys. They have chicken feet as well. Of course, the problem is that it's difficult to work with a new unusual ingredient yourself when you've never actually had it prepared for you. But I'm sure you can find recipes. I don't know if the se asian places in Boston carry them as well.

                              As others have mentioned, Chinatown and authentic Chinese restaurants everywhere (as opposed to American-Chinese places) have got to be a treasure trove of strange and wonderful things to eat. Here's a link to a Sichuan place in Chelmsford. Their menu has items like: Spicy Shredded Pork Ear, Spicy Shredded Tripe, Pig Kidney with Garlic, Herb Spiced Pork Tongue.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: applehome

                                I meant to say Jewish or kosher-style delis. Joan and Ed's is not kosher - and most Jewish delis around here are not. But most will have tongue, at it is commonly available from Hebrew National and other purveyors.

                                1. re: applehome

                                  Since we're on the topic of tongues, can I add that cow/beef tongue in hotpot is just divine? Available at Shabu in N. Quincy, and possibly all the other aforementioned hotpot restaurants. The lasts time I was at Kaze (admittedly about 2 yrs ago) - they offered kangaroo on the menu. Maybe not bizarre per se, but definitely exotic.

                                  1. re: kobuta

                                    I wanted to second the beef tongue taco (and burrito) at Tacos Lupita. That tongue is awesome!!

                                    1. re: kobuta

                                      Oops I said kangaroo meat and I really meant ostrich. Anyway...

                                  2. Offal in general is on many menus these days, not quite as exotic as it used to be. Jamie Bissonnette at Toro is an enthusiastic and innovative chef with the parts: he did a brain dish at KO Prime (his prior gig) that was spectacular.

                                    There's a whole pig head on the menu at Estragon, also in the South End.

                                    Sweetbreads in morel sauce at La Voile.

                                    Tripe Tuscan style at Trattoria Toscana, tripe can also be found at many other North End Italians.

                                    Beef tongue in sauce at El Oriental de Cubaa; beef tongue tacos at many taquerias, notably Tacos Lupita.

                                    Pupusas with chicharrones at Pupusa La Guanaca.

                                    Two big strips of chicharrones on the plato montañero at El Paisa, a nice Colombian restaurant in Eastie.

                                    Pork skin (bi) banh mi at Pho Viet in the Allston Super 88 food court. Pate and head cheese banh mi at many places.

                                    Beef cheek tacos at Taqueria El Amigo in Waltham, my favorite dish there. Menudo on weekends.

                                    Various animal bits on the charcuterie and salumi plates at The Butcher Shop, Toro, Taberna de Haro, Bin 26, and Green Street..

                                    Mondongo (Puerto Rican tripe soup) and stewed oxtail at Izzy's near Kendall Square, Cambridge.

                                    Pan-sauteed chicken livers at the Franklin Cafe.

                                    Chopped chicken liver at Rubin's Kosher Deli in Brookline.

                                    Tripe and sweetbreads and occasionally brains at many of the traditional French places: Petit Robert, Pierrot, Troquet, Gaslight, etc.

                                    Paya (cow or calves' foot) on the weekend Pakistani specials menu at Grain and Salt in Allston..

                                    As someone else mentioned, chicken hearts done rodizio style at the Midwest Grill in East Cambridge and other Brazilian charrascarias. Lately I've enjoyed them at two Woburn places, Tuda Na Brasa and Rodeo.

                                    Intestine dishes in many Taiwanese and Korean restaurants.

                                    Lamb soup (many parts) with shao ping (Northern Chinese wheat roll) at Beijing Star in Waltham.

                                    Black pudding (blood sausage) on many Irish breakfasts around town, e.g., at Terrie's Place in Southie.

                                    Sausages in general are a good way to get your RDA of organ meats, like the amazing frankfurters at Speed's Famous Hot Dog Wagon in Newmarket Square, or the kielbasa at Cafe Polonia, or the chourico at Sunset Cafe in East Cambridge, or the many fine German wursts at retailer Karl's Sausage Kitchen in Saugus.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      Beijing Star in Waltham also has Sea Cucumber I believe. That's bizarre to me and friends of mine that have been to China can't stand it. However my Chinese co-workers all seem to like it.

                                      1. re: Ali G

                                        "Sea cucumber" is one of those euphemisms like "prairie oysters". "Warty sea slug" or "marine earthworm" captures the essence of the creature more accurately, I think.

                                        It got served to me at nearly every celebratory banquet I ever dined at in the PRC, and I can't say I share the locals' esteem for it. Because it's so prized, it gets overfished to the detriment of the Australian reefs and other fisheries, another reason to avoid it.

                                        Fun sea cucumber fact: they have a unique defense mechanism wherein they regurgitate their digestive tract and internal organs, then grow a new set within a few weeks. As a predator, I'm pretty sure that would deter me.

                                        1. re: Ali G

                                          Blah. Been eating this since a kid and I still don't like it. Bland and gelatinous. While similarly textured foods can pick up the flavors of those around it, something about sea cucumber seems to make it resistant to actually having any taste, aside from it's plasticy texture.

                                        2. re: MC Slim JB

                                          To add to this extensive listing, ESK has a daily offal plate and Clio smokes a whole pig every week (or at least they did the last time I was there which was a while ago).

                                          1. re: kate used to be 50

                                            Let us not forget the duck tongues at Taiwan Cafe.....

                                        3. Craigie on Main is also a good place to look for out of the ordinary meats- sweetbreads, tongue and cock's comb to name a few.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Chris VR

                                            Yes! I had my first coxcomb there... tasted like hammy jelly, but in foghorn leghorn form.

                                          2. I had pig's ear, beef cartilage, and stewed tiny baby Octopus at Jo Jo Taipei in Allston last night. Everything was darned good too.

                                            1. There are a few "fast food" Asian eateries in Lowell where you pick from different offerings in steam trays but one in particular, in Pailin Plaza on Branch St., sells mostly food items whose identities I can only guess at, and I'm a biologist. I've seen stomach, kidney, intestines, pig parts, and many other things, but I'm not that adventurous to actually try something from that quality assortment.

                                              1. I've heard about this place in Woburn. They serve kangaroo, ostrich, elk, boar, rattlesnake, and turtle.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Dinsdale45

                                                  That's probably La Stanza Diva, http://www.cheflynne.com/

                                                  Listed on their game menu:

                                                  Pan fried Frog Legs - With a lemon garlic sauce with italian parsley.
                                                  Deep Fried Alligator - in a garlic sauce atop polenta.
                                                  Pan Seared Kangaroo - With a port atop polenta.
                                                  Turtle Soup
                                                  Rattlesnake - Deep fried in a Garlic Sauce atop polenta

                                                  Wild Boar
                                                  Roasted Rack of Elk Chop
                                                  Pan Seared Ostrich Filets
                                                  Pan Seared Kangaroo
                                                  Buffalo Short Ribs

                                                  La Stanza Diva Ristorante
                                                  315 Main St, Woburn, MA 01801

                                                  1. re: Chris VR

                                                    Interesting menu. Is the food any good?

                                                2. Something else I thought of - you mentioned head of pig. I don't know where to get cabeza dishes per se, but there are many versions of head cheese around. In particular, I like the German style items, Sulze and Zungenwurst - available at Karl's (although he doesn't make his own). He also has blutwurst - which could be unusual depending on where you're from.

                                                  The other place that has head cheese regularly is Vietnamese bahn mi places (gio thu) - Yummy's in Lowell uses a delicious one in theirs - full of tongue, brain, cheek. I don't know if Vietnamese head cheese is from the French influence or something that was developed indigenously, but it's interesting that so many cultures have a version whether from pigs, sheep, or cows.

                                                  1. Does dim sum count? Tripe, both honeycomb and book. Jellyfish. Chicken feet. Chicken rolls with fish maw and taro. I'm not even sure what the liver-like substance is that is sometimes heaped in a bowl with turnips.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: Baiye

                                                      Might be congealed cooked blood.

                                                      1. re: Baiye

                                                        I think that's ngau bong - long dark strips that almost have a fuzzy like texture to it. It's some organ that I've never quite figured out its English counterpart to. It's often found with ngau jaap - a dish that includes daikon, tripe, pig skin, etc.

                                                        There is also pig's blood, which looks like thin slices of dark red tofu, but not as soft a consistency. Usually cooked with chinese chives and in a brownish sauce.

                                                        1. re: kobuta

                                                          Now I'm curious - some google-fu seems to indicate:

                                                          The "ngau bong" stuff is either the spleen or the pancreas. I'm not too familiar with the names but I'm certain it is either of those two.


                                                          but later in that thread:

                                                          I am not sure if I interpreted it correctly. "ngau bong", in English, is Burdock - a plant and not animal. If it's testicles, it would be "ngau bin"

                                                          I get a couple of other google hits saying that ngau bong is burdock.

                                                          1. re: ritcey

                                                            Definitely not burdock. Chinese romanization is always tough (especially since I'm doing it somewhat phonetically). Pancreas might be right - it kind of looks pancreas-y. It's a food I love, but I can't think or look at it too much because it creeps me out if I do.

                                                            1. re: ritcey


                                                              This is what ngau bong looks like. It's that piece front and center, on top of what looks like tripe or some sort of stomach.

                                                              1. re: kobuta

                                                                We're on the right track.

                                                                I think I've most often seen congealed blood as a tray of liver-like cubes in the steam tables (is that a fair term?) off to the side.

                                                                The bowl I'm thinking of has turnip, honeycomb tripe, and (maybe) liver. I last recall ordering it at Emperor's Garden, and we saw it recently at China Pearl. I don't think it's quite as offal-y as this "bowl of guts:"


                                                                1. re: kobuta

                                                                  I passed to pic onto a friend of mine who's a big foodie and I thought his response was hilariously descriptive: "am very familiar with it but while I have never known for sure what organ it is, I have always thought it was the pancreas. It usually shows up in tripe or beef tendon noodle soup, and I always just push it to the side because the texture is awful. The outer skin is often too tough to chew through, and the meshy inside part doesn't really take to being chewed either, so it sort of just compresses between your teeth leaving you with basically a spongy compressed hairball you want to spit out. "

                                                          2. I think this is my favorite post of all time.

                                                            Does anyone know a good Chinese place to get hundred-year egg?

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: egc

                                                              thanks egc...seeing that i just registered for chowhound so i could post this bizarre foods questions for some suggestions...

                                                              1. re: egc

                                                                If by hundred year egg, you mean "pei dan" (or pi dan in mandarin) - you can purchase that at any chinese market.

                                                                1. re: egc

                                                                  A common combination for rice congee in dimsum places is shredded pork and preserved egg.

                                                                  1. re: egc

                                                                    I aways see packages of 6 or so near ther egular eggs at Super88, or in boxes at the end of the aisles at Kam Man. They don't sell them (or I haven't seen them for a few years) covered in layers of potash, the way they used to be, in those big jars ....

                                                                    1. re: egc

                                                                      I actually bought the package once at Super88 and found it unedible. I don't know if there is some step in preparation that I was unaware of, or if it was just bad quality. On the rare occasion I've seen it in a restaurant, I've loved it. I spent a bit of time in China in the 90's and any old place would serve it - always delicious.

                                                                    2. You can find giant water bugs in some S.E. Asian markets in Lowell. The older folks eat them as snacks. I once bought them and arranged them under the sink of an apartment I was moving out of. I told the nasty landlord he had some biga$$ cockroaches ;-)

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. Angela's Cafe in East Boston has tongue tacos - they're great!!

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: erinire

                                                                          Tongue's not that bizarre though. Or even rare - the Anna's chain sells tongue tacos too.

                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                            The OP mentioned tongue, though.

                                                                        2. If you want to sample bugs, any of the Korean markets around town should sell canned silkworm pupas (beondegi). You can just pop them open and eat them straight out of the can, but I prefer to heat them a little first in a hot pan.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: another_adam

                                                                            Where can I buy African mopani worms?

                                                                          2. I just had beef tongue canape at Hungry Mother this weekend and it was delicious, but any legit Jewish deli should carry tongue that you can buy sliced like a cold cut, and nothing is better on rye. This same deli should also offer any and all chicken parts that you want - liver, gizzard, heart, etc. I think I've also seen snake meat for sale at the Shaws in Allston but that was a long time ago and I could be mistaken.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: julieapfel

                                                                              I saw the Snake at Allston as well, recently.

                                                                              PS: Hi Julie :)

                                                                              1. re: Prav

                                                                                hi Prav!! Let's go eat weird food together! My roommate just fed me a goats' tongue from his dads farm it was awesome.

                                                                              2. re: julieapfel

                                                                                I just had this Friday evening as well, and my friend and I loved it! I was very anti-beef tongue until an epiphany at a terrific yakiniku restaurant in Tokyo where I had grilled beef tongue. I now enjoy it at the various Boston shabu places too.

                                                                              3. Any good sushi restaurant should be able to accommodate you with lobster sashimi - together with the show, up front - of decapitating the lobster and presenting the head, tentacles up and squirming as the rest of the undulating body is prepared for you to eat raw. Is that bizzare enough for you?

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: cornFusion

                                                                                  i was offered (and i mean live in a tray in front of me) a live King Crab at Fugakyu. i backed off with the scale revealed that the Beast would set me back $246.00.

                                                                                  i've done a live (Maine and Spiny) lobster there as you describe but to me the better show was the live Black Bass.

                                                                                  in the above the Spiny Lobster was the clear winner on taste and especially texture.

                                                                                2. Has anyone seen lion meat at Savenors lately?

                                                                                  1. I've seen bull penis (called "pizzle" on the package) and bull testicles at the Super 88.

                                                                                    There's a Punjabi grocery on Mass Ave called Food Fair that has goat brains; they'll happily saw open the goat's head in front of you.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                                      Super 88 also sells chicken testicles.

                                                                                      1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                                        I can't find "pizzle" nor "cock testicles" anymore at Super 88! Not that I would buy them. But still. ;)

                                                                                        1. re: Prav

                                                                                          I saw the chicken testicles last Saturday at the Packard's Corner one, in the frozen meats case - and that's how they were labeled, but they're obviously the same thing as cock testicles. Ain't no such thing as hen testicles!

                                                                                      2. Machu Pichu Charcoal Chicken & Grill in Union Sq. sells beef heart skewers that are amazing. Also have tripe, chicken hearts and other chicken bits. Very good all around. Also nearby S&S has tongue sandwiches and chicken liver dishes.

                                                                                        Green Street has the occasional interesting offal. I've had calf brains (like, the actually brain, not thymus gland aka sweetbread) and veal heart that were both excellent.

                                                                                        Savenor's typically has one or two interesting, if not unusable, non-guts proteins in stock. More to the topic of this post though, you can get any number of bits from them - sweetbread, liver (chicken, cow, pig, presumably lamb and more), trotters, marrow bones, blood - just call ahead and give them enough time to acquire it fresh (I had a lackluster previously frozen sweetbread experience once which was totally not worth the effort).

                                                                                        Craigie on Main had some excellent charcuterie and some great looking off cuts going out of the kitchen during my one and only visit. Eastern Standard also has some great charcuterie plates and offal (it's great when you can see half a dozen people at nearby tables picking at bone marrow). No. 9 Park had a trio of beef with, if I remember correctly, tongue, heart and short rib. K.O. Prime headcheese had a bit of hair (pig's not chef's) in it which is a party foul but it tasted great. Pretty much most of the "great" Boston-area restaurants are playing around with this stuff.

                                                                                        That being said, does anyone else find it ironic that these "off-cuts" are so expensive at most these places? Always kinda made me chuckle a bit...

                                                                                        1. Ok I'm a little late on this one but since it rose to the top I thought I'd add the raw squid in squid guts sauce at Shiki. It's not on their menu now so not sure if they still have it though they do have raw squid with natto which is equally slimy. They also have beef tongue.

                                                                                          You can usually get head cheeses, tongue and blood sausages, etc. at most of the Russian delis in town. I always like the Schaller & Weber head cheese (suelz wurst).

                                                                                          I love the geoduck sashimi at all of the places in Chinatown that carry it. Some of the Cantonese places sell deep-fried whole fishes (tiny ones) which you eat, head, bones, and all. yumm.

                                                                                          Kung Pao frog at Penang?

                                                                                          If you ever get Peking Duck ask for the head and eat the brains. This is how it was served to me in China anyway. You can also get duck tongues in some places, as well as feet/webs.

                                                                                          Tendon and pigs ears at Wisteria House and Taiwan Cafe are great.

                                                                                          Sea cucumber is another good one you will sometimes find in Chinese places.

                                                                                          When eating whole steamed fish don't neglect the eyes, also prized by many.

                                                                                          Uni occasionally serves up gooseneck barnacles.

                                                                                          I recently watched some of the Bizarre Foods tv programs and was surprised that durian was Zimmern's downfall. You can get that at most of the Asian markets.

                                                                                          I have some Afghani friends who like to cook up lambs brains, those can be gotten at any good Halal butcher shop.