Just as you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, one shouldn’t really rush to judgement when it comes to exploring foods that may not look immediately appetising.
On a recent trip to Rome a friend’s advice led me to my new favourite morsel, Brutti Ma Buoni, which roughly translates to ‘ugly but delicious’. Brutti Ma Buoni is the lovechild between a macaron, hazelnut macaroon and a raisin cookie that’s crumbly, not too sweet and really decadent at the same time.
It’s also inexpensive, and nearly every shop or bakery stocks it if you’re walking through Rome. But cookies, regardless of how ugly won’t ever be a feared as the other delectable food on this list you have to try.
Oysters are a delicacy that are easily available, but seem to scare those who have never tried them witless.
It’s easy to see why; they look intimidating, are best eaten raw and seem to conjure up illusions that they’re gooey and slimy. The truth is oysters have an extremely clean, fresh taste, not fishy, and are incredibly indulgent when served with lime juice, onion relish or even a drop of MCC.
There are, naturally, restaurants who serve them around the country but for our money some of the best are found in Namibian towns Swakopmund and Lüderitz, where sound farming practises have led to their popularity.
This Turkish street food (served throughout Istanbul) is lamb afval wrapped in lamb intestines, and sometimes served on a bun.
What makes it so flavourful is all the fat used in it’s preparation, making it a meat-lovers dream.
It’s also usually served with oregano, giving it a truly delicious herb flavour.
Agouti (West Africa)
Popular throughout West Africa, Agouti (bush rat) is an inexpensive meat, with the rodents often farmed similar to more traditional livestock farming.
As a result Agouti is quite popular as a street food, and served in a variety of ways.
Although sometimes served bushmeat style (basically you can see it’s a rodent), in Togo’s capital city Lomé a variety of highly flavourful Agouti stews will make anyone a convert. Of course you have to eat it with a ball of Fufu (boiled yams) which are a staple in West Africa.
Afval, served in a sheep’s stomach isn’t going to look pretty, but this Scottish meat dish is as flavourful as they come (although considering I had mine in England – chances are it’s even better in Scotland).
What makes haggis so delicious is the inclusion of beef fat and a variety of herbs at oats gives it a lovely nuttiness and flavour.
However, if you’re not a big fan of liver, steer clear of this one.
Chicken feet (South Africa, Thailand)
Popular in South Africa, chicken feet prepared in Thailand are boiled until tender, then served with chilli, fish sauce and a sprinkle of sugar.
The very traditional Thai flavours really kicks these feet into high gear if you’re used to the South African version. In Thailand it’s a pretty common street food, and the deep fried feet are also popular.