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Jan 14, 2011 12:20 AM

Bizzare Foods San Diego

I was watching the show bizarre foods with Andrew Zimmer. Curious to hear any San Diego bizarre foods restaurants/experiences?

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  1. Well, you can get chapulines (grasshoppers) at a few places. Also a lot of people are squeamish over more than one filipino dish. I think Mr. Zimmern's had those all in other places before, though.

    My wife and kids put ketchup on their hot dogs. I think that also qualifies.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. A lamb's head, as found in Aqui es Texcoco, might be considered bizarre (at least by most of the people I know) .

        5 Replies
        1. re: Encinitan

          I thought those were illegal. I remember some episode of No Reservations in New York where Bourdain goes into some back room gathering of chefs to eat a lamb's head that is otherwise illegal.

            1. re: karaethon

              I am pretty sure that was an Ortolan - it sounds like the same scene he describes in Medium Raw.

              1. re: karaethon

                Not to go off subject. But why is lamb's head served in a restaurant illegal in NYC?

                1. re: karaethon

                  Lots of Iranian families make a sheep's head and neck soup which is actually pretty good.

              2. I went to their website and they do have lambs head on the menu. Cheap too! Is it good?

                1 Reply
                1. re: dbwave

                  Try it and get back to us.

                  P.S. Save an eyeball for me.

                2. fermented corn beverage Teijuino at Honey Bananas in National City
                  crisy fried chitlin tacos - my favorite taco de tripitas at Tacos El Gordo
                  Squid liver dish at Oton in Kearney mesa

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: kare_raisu

                    Hell yeah- was gonna mention Oton, too. The sea urchin and jellyfish salad at Yakitori Yakudori Ramen is really good, but well, yeah, pretty bizarre when you think about it.

                    1. re: kare_raisu

                      Well in the Japanese repertoire, we have:

                      Motsunabe - Beef Offal Hot Pot - Oton

                      Liver Sashimi - Beef Liver Sashimi - Tsuruhashi
                      Horamon Moriawase - Assorted Offal Plate - Tsuruhashi

                      Gyu Horamon - Beef Intestine - Yakitori Yakyudori + Yakyudori Ramen & Yakitori
                      Kawasu - Vinegared Chicken Skin - Yakitori Yakyudori + Yakyudori Ramen & Yakitori
                      Hatsu - Chicekn Heart - Yakitori Yakyudori + Yakyudori Ramen & Yakitori
                      Akahimo - Chicken Vein - Yakitori Yakyudori
                      Chicken Sashimi - Yakitori Yakyudori

                      Kawa - Broiled Chicken Skin - Yakitori Kobou

                      Shirako - Cod Milt - Kaito Sushi
                      Hoya - Sea Pineapple - Kaito Sushi -
                      Shiokara - Fermented Squid & Liver - Kaito Sushi
                      Maguro Suji - Broiled Bluefin Gristle - Kaito Sushi
                      Katsuo Shinzou - Bonito Heart - Kaito Sushi
                      Hire Zake - Warm Sake w/Kawahagi [or Fugu] Fin - Kaito Sushi

                      Yakitori Yakyudori
                      3739 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

                      Kaito Sushi
                      130-A N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024

                      1. re: cgfan

                        1) Do you really eat all that? Not all at once of course

                        2) What is sea pineapple? It looks rather prehistoric

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          1) Yes indeed! These are all items I enjoy and will not have any reservations ordering...

                          Actually I just had some Hoya (Sea Pineapple) tonight at Kaito.

                          And last week at Kaito I also had some Maguro Suji (Bluefin Gristle), Shirako (Cod Milt), and Shiokara (Fermented Squid with Liver), then last week at Yakyudori Ramen & Yakitori I had Kawasu, Chicken Liver and Hatsu (Chicken Heart).

                          This is all very good stuff - none of it really all that "challenging" taste-wise, with perhaps the exception of Hoya which tends to have some bitter notes to it.

                          2) Sea Pineapple is as weird looking as it is weird. Period. In the early part of its life-cycle it freely floats, but in the latter half of its life-cycle it attaches itself to a rock and then consumes its own nervous system - basically it eats its own brain - then exists pretty-much like a plant. It is at this stage that it is harvested.

                          The taste of Hoya is very difficult to describe - it's full of liquor so there's a mild briny / sea spray quality to it, and although it has nothing to do with a pineapple taste-wise, it can have some very muted tropical flavors accompanied with anywhere from a faint to a clear bitterness and occasionally some tartness.

                          Consistency-wise there are parts that are much like an overripe passion fruit & seeds (again not in taste but in consistency), and other parts that are more like, say, the consistency of a tender melon or the flesh of an oyster.

                          Today's was incredible as it was not only the best tasting Hoya that I've ever had, but also since it's been two years since Kaito was last able to acquire Hoya.

                          Of the 4 Hoya that they brought in for today, I was suprised to see that all 4 had sold out. I and another regular each had one, but most surprisingly two newcommers also each had one and loved it! It's probably one of the more challenging items, taste-wise, that one can have at the Sushi bar...

                          1. re: cgfan

                            We've moved a discussion of seafood sustainability to the General Chowhounding Topics board, at

                        2. re: cgfan

                          I'm really curious, how was the chicken sashimi? I've been wanting to try it but didn't that it'd be available this side of the world.

                          1. re: yangjon

                            A good chicken Sashimi, like a good beef Sashimi, is very close to a fish-like experience with a taste that is light on the palate. Because it's raw it preserves all of the flesh's natural sweetness, but also due to its very high quality, (only the very best is served in this style), it is extremely tender, particularly so with a good beef Sashimi.

                            I've had it at a number of places Stateside, amongst them Senbazuru in the (former) New Otani Hotel in L.A.'s Little Tokyo, at Tsuruhashi, and at Yakitori Yakyudori.

                            Yakitori Yakyudori
                            3739 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

                            3904 Convoy St Ste 106, San Diego, CA 92111

                            1. re: cgfan

                              Are there any safety concerns with eating chicken sashimi? How is the chicken raised?

                              1. re: aloha925

                                Aloha, I was wondering the same thing and found this article:

                                "Most chickens, even most free-range birds, are water-chilled after slaughter. This can be a nasty process and is thought to be a leading source of salmonella contamination in factory birds. It can also bump up the weight of a bird as the carcass absorbs water. Poulet bleu, like most high-end chickens, are air-chilled. This avoids contamination and water bloating."