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Bizarre eats in Tampa, St. Pete, Plant City, Orlando, Sarasota or just Florida

Hello! I'm looking for foods that the typical American palate would find weird, or unusual, served around the Tampa Bay area, or within driving distance of Tampa.

I'm looking for recommendations, but also some specifics.

Do you know where I can find these items near Tampa:

Durian?

Balut?

Haggis?

Kopi Luwak (civet coffee)?

Rocky Mountain Oysters?

Insects?

Do you know of any other "bizarre" foods available in the local area?

It's for a newspaper story. Thanks for the help!

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  1. You can find Durian and Balut at many of the asian markets/stores in the Tampa Bay area. I don't think you're going to find a restaurant that serves either one. You can get Durian flavored drinks. You might even be able to find some frozen insects at some of the asian stores.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kempshark

      At United Oriental Market grocery store 3681 62nd Ave. N. in Pinellas Park, I have seen durian frozen fruit, fruit bars and drinks. They also have packages of GIANT beetles labeled for fishing. See pic below:

       
    2. Try Florida-specific goodies -- alligator and rattlesnake are easier to find than most of those.

      1. MD Oriental Market has balut. Pretty sure they have durian as well.

        1. The UF Anthropology Dept. has an armadillo roast each year.
          It's been going on for over 30 years now.

          2 Replies
          1. re: meatn3

            That's awesome! I'd go just for the pies http://goo.gl/iXZKC - wow, they look great!

            1. re: Little T.

              The pie at the top left looks like the crust was cut in an arrowhead pattern!

              I was invited in '81 but caught a brutal batch of the flu and missed it...one of my bigger regrets in life...

          2. The Linger Lodge in Bradenton has been featured on the Food Network as having being one of the "Top 5 Weirdest Resaurants". It serves old Florida style food like Gator Bites and Frogs Legs.

            1. Oceanic Market (the people who own C.K. Choy's in Hyde Park) has had them frozen in the past. Oceanic Market is downtown, practically under I-75.

              They are the fruit with the Spiky green or yellow outside. In Singapore, they say of the durian that it "Tastes like heaven, smells like hell." Some people are nuts about them and cannot get enough of them when they are in season. People are prohibited from transporting them in taxis because of the smell.

              They certainly smell like hell, but when I had them fresh in Singapore, I thought the flesh, which you peel off of the seeds, tasted like sweetened soap.

              I have also read on these boards that in season, they can purchased from a fruit stand near the Thai Temple. I've never been to the Thai Temple (and would like to go), but have no idea where it is, except that it is in Tampa.

              Good luck!

              1 Reply
              1. re: gfr1111

                The Wat Temple is on Palm River Road...
                Here's a link to it on Google Maps
                http://goo.gl/maps/LEyDK

                Just get there early 10:30am, or you'll be stuck in the lines

              2. Interesting choices...can't wait to read the article.