Top 10: Exotic foods in Asia
While I claim myself as an adventurous foodie, I have to firstly put out a disclaimer that these 10 exotic foods may be only baby level for some while daring for others – especially westerners. This is just a snapshot of my personal top 10 for exotic Asian foods (that I’ve tried). My list will begin with #10 for least adventurous to #1 for most daring dishes. So here we go…
10. Crispy Fried Scorpions, Beijing, China
Even though I am a Scorpio, I have to say this is indeed a delicious snack. I first ate this scorpion on stick in China but it seems to be a common street food in Cambodia as well, coming in even bigger sizes. Well, don’t judge it by its appearance but think of it as a sweeter version of dried shrimps.
9. Deep Fried Mixed Worms, Yunan, China
Honestly I have wanted to try worms for a long time, ever since I watched Timon and Pumbaa eating succulent worms in the jungle. The reality is they do taste of protein but aren’t as juicy as I expected. Yet the crunchy texture and deep-fried oily taste certainly make it a good pairing for beers.
8. Spicy Raw Ant Eggs Salad (Koi Khai Mot Dang), Bangkok, Thailand
Does it look familiar to you? Yes, this dish from northern Thai cuisine (Isan) is similar to Larb (spicy minced meat salad) or Som Tam (spicy green papaya salad) but made with the eggs of red ants. Again another protein rich fare as you may have guessed, fatty and sweet but terribly spicy.
7. Chicken Heart & Liver Sashimi, Fukuoka, Japan
Speaking of raw food, this is a must-eat and an all-time favourite of mine at yakitori places in Japan. Believe it or not, in my opinion chicken sashimi is better than the usual fish variation. The chicken breast sashimi is surprisingly sweet while the heart and liver are fresh and crisp. You can never see this outside Japan. The dish is just beyond words and I guarantee you won’t regret trying!
6. Grilled Chicken Uterus with Proto-Egg (Yakitori Chochin), Tokyo, Japan
Chochin means lantern in Japanese which represents this skewer of undeveloped egg hanging from the uterus. This is an even rarer find in Japan than chicken sashimi because of the skills required to cook it. However if you see it on the menu or at the bar, you must not miss it as it’s just simply wonderful. Be mindful of the hot runny egg yolk bursting in your mouth!
5. Awamori Fermented Tofu, Okinawa, Japan
Many of you may have tried fermented tofu before, but perhaps not tofu fermented with Awamori, a unique liquor made in Okinawa. Interestingly, the fermented tofu of China and southeast Asia is considered a food for commoners. In contrast, the Awamori fermented tofu used to be a tribute to the royal family of Okinawa. Its color is more red and comes with an intense alcoholic taste and content, on which you can get drunk. You can totally finish the whole piece as a stand-alone dish because of its smooth and ice-cream like texture.
4. Funazushi (鮒寿司), Shiga, Japan
Funazushi is also made of fish and rice but hardly resembles the sushi you would think about. It is a traditional specialty from the Lake Biwa region in the Shiga prefecture of Japan. Fresh funa fish are preserved in salt and stuffed with steamed rice to ferment inside a barrel. The strong smell may deter some people but I enjoy its vinegary and sharp flavors. A bowl of rice complements it well.
3. Fermented Skate Fish (Hongeo-hoe 홍어회), Seoul, South Korea
Don’t be misguided by its tame white color! This is a super pungent raw fish dish from South Korea of which just the first mouthful is already either shocking or choking. Even among Koreans many cannot handle its taste. As a foreigner, you will need some persistence to order it because restaurant owners will try to warn you away. That being said, it really does take time to understand and appreciate the dish.
2. T.P.P. of Goat, Guizhou, China
This is not the Trans-Pacific Partnership but the Testis, Penis and Placenta! (lol sorry for the lame joke). The soup undoubtedly tastes very strong of goat and the organs are quite gamey. This one’s surely only for the goat fans. If you can stand the idea of exactly what you are eating, they do taste fine. I should add I would rate the penis better than the testis followed by the placenta. One thing you might want to consider is the internet has it that they are a good source of collagen. Haha!
1. Eyes of Goat, Guizhou, China
Last but not least, this is by far the most exotic or should I say yucky foods by my standards, simply looking at this pair of eyes staring back at me. Though I love eating fish eyes, and I have dissected ox eyes in high school, eating a mammal’s eyes sounds a bit ill. But I have to say the texture is quite good although bland in taste.
Getting excited now or fed up with the heavy and strong flavors? Let me appeal to your appetite with the now seasonal Shanghainese hairy crabs! Order yours at 大閘蟹.asia before this autumn ends.
Over the years there have been numerous exciting .Asia domains set up. One of the earliest examples was Johnny Walker’s KeepWalking.Asia as part of an Asia wide TV and online campaign in 2008. Even though the domain is no longer operational, it inspired our continued tracking of live .Asia websites through the KeepClicking.Asia initiative, now integrated with our main site and social media page: http://www.facebook.asia/dot.asia.
Here are my Top 10 picks (at the moment… as it certainly changes all the time) of high traffic .Asia domains that exemplify or showcase how .Asia domains can be used.read more
Claiming the World Championship titles in 2013, 2015, 2016 and now among favourites for 2017, SKT is all too obvious as the choice for top spot. While they suffered from a slump in 2014, SKT’s star player Faker, argued by some to be the most dominant player of all time has stayed with the team throughout his dazzling career. SKT have already forged a lasting legend for themselves; winning this season’s championship would only push it to the next level.read more
Asia is the largest and most populous continent. Throughout Asian history, there have been several political figures who have been extremely influential in shaping the region. How could I miss this opportunity to list some of the most notable and influential Asian figures in recent history? This is my list of “Asian Political Giants of Modern History”.read more
No childhood is complete without hours spent watching cartoons (especially in the 80s)! Here, in my opinion, are the top 10 cartoon / anime characters from Asia! If you are looking to experience Anime culture live, check out animefestival.asia.read more
As a movie lover, it’s always hard to pick the top 10. Frankly speaking, if there is no year limitation (2017), I would definitely have a wider selection.
A movie is not just a form of entertainment, it can also inspire people and even influence an individual’s way of thinking. So here is my top 10 without any specific ranking orders:read more
Having been with .Asia for the best part of 10 years now, I have had the honor of traveling around the region, building relationships and increasing the awareness of the domain extension. Here are my top 10 places I have visited in the region.read more
Like many other Asians, I grew up in a traditional household and my elders – from my grandmother to my mom (to think of it, maybe it was just the women) are highly superstitious. They told me the craziest things! I didn’t want to believe in them, but I wasn’t going to take any chances so I followed those rules. To this day, even though I still don’t believe in those superstitions, I catch myself passing them onto my own daughter. At the very least, they ARE an excellent way to get her to follow rules.read more
I started falling in love with concept of “food as medicine” since my childhood when I was inspired by “The Huangdi Neijing” (a.k.a The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine 黃帝內經). Later when I started exploring more from the school library, I found that the Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the Father of Early Medicine (ca. 460 BC – ca. 370 BC) had suggested the same concept around the same period of time. He stated “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This has become my creed of life as eating right is really important! Here are my top 10 choices for super foods.read more
I have always wanted to be an athlete since a very young age, but growing up in a traditional Chinese family, school always came first and there was only just enough room to do sports recreationally. It always makes me proud to see how Asian athletes are making a name for themselves in their respective sports. They have the powerful ability to inspire many more kids, including other Asians to start young. Here are my top 10 Asian athletes of all time that I think have been very influentiaread more
In the face of declining global music sales in recent years, the music industry in Asia, particularly that of China, South Korea and Japan, is a rapidly growing economic sector; home to some of the world’s largest music markets. I have shortlisted my top 10 most influential and outstanding Asian musicians as follows:read more
June is an avid traveler who immerses herself into the local culture wherever she goes. In this list she will take us through her top 10 kid-friendly vacation spots in Asia.read more