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Bizarre Boston?

Admittedly inspired by Andrew Zimmern's "Bizarre Foods," we're looking for interesting foods to try around Boston. (I'm surprised that this topic seems not to have been covered.) We're primarily looking for well-liked restaurants, but we'd also like to learn about beloved market-fare.

I'm thinking of things like grasshopper tacos at Tu y Yo in Needham, tree fungus at Shanghai Gate in Allston, Scotch Egg at the Haven in JP, or even the Guinness Float at Dunn Gaherins in Newton -- things that are usually delicious and fun to try for the sake of trying.

Feel free to suggest unusual-to-some-but-not-to-Chowhounders ethnic foods, for the benefit of readers who may not have tried, for example, Ethiopian food or banh mi (Blue Nile in JP and and Banh Mi Ngon in West Roxbury, respectively).

Thanks for your thoughts!

 
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  1. How about stinky tofu at Jo Jo Ti Pai.

    1. Is "tree fungus" just a fancy moniker for wood ear -- pretty standard in Chinese cooking and not all that bizarre, I would think. Heck, you can even find the stuff for sale at Ocean State Job Lot.

      I would look for cow spleen if you want something more off the beaten track - usually part of the mixed beef bits with daikon (Cantonese: ngau jaap) in Chinese eateries, but some places might serve up just the spleen if you ask -- it's pronounced ngau bong. Might have it at Hong Kong Cafe, Great Taste or People's Cafe.

      My Korean friend introduced me to eating sundae (blood sausage with rice and noodles) at one of the local Korean restaurants, which I thought was pretty good. If blood is up your alley, getting pig's blood at dim sum would also be good. You'll have to hit the cart or buffet places though - not available at the order off the menu places.

      If you want a different type of tripe rather than the dim sum prep, I'd hit Izzy's in Cambridge for some mondongo. Their tripe soup is really good.

      1. Who's "we"? From your post, it sounds like you're doing research for a publication of some kind.

        Here are a few older threads on similar topics:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796515
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/729002
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/578736

        1 Reply
        1. re: Allstonian

          Very helpful links. In retrospect, it seems obvious that I should have changed the default options to search beyond the past 12 months. It was kind of you to refer to the previous threads as similar topics, rather than as *the exact same question*. Ah, well, at least I've opened the subject to updates.

          As for the "we," it is no one but myself, my wife, our three-year-old daughter, and, perhaps most especially, our five-year-old son -- who struggled mightily to choose between snails at Petit Robert, sashimi from Oishii, and haggis at The Haven for his birthday dinner. Me, I've been playing catch-up after being raised on meatloaf and spaghetti.

          Thanks for your help.

        2. I haven't been myself but remember the menu at Penang is filled with verbiage along the lines of "please don't order this if you don't know what it is". A lot of things I wouldn't have the guts to try myself (and I guess that's why I've never been).
          Have fun!

          1 Reply
          1. re: ebaba

            No big deal. They are just referring to the use of belachan (shrimp paste) in some of the dishes. It adds a slight funky umami salty dimension and used in moderately small amounts. You find it in other south east asian cuisines too, under different names.If you can handle fish sauce you can handle the dishes.

          2. Magaz Masala, brains, at Darbar. Goat's head soup at La Perle. Fried pig's intestines at Taiwan Cafe & Shangri La.