At the Straydogs’ radio show on London Fields Radio at Wilton Way Café this Saturday 7 May, we were discussing food and belonging. Here’s a sampler from the show – the top-strangest food in the world and where you can sniff it out in London.
5. Surströmming, Sweden
A herring as sour and fermented as possible is popular in among Swedes. Don’t open it inside unless you’re planning to unfriend your neighbours – the smell of surströmming is as bad as this list’s number 1.
Find it: ScandiKitchen, Great Titchfield Street.
4. Dragon in the Flame of Desire, China
The name does this Chinese specialty justice. It’s a yak’s penis, roasted and served on a large platter – originally at the Guolizhuang Restaurant in Beijing. Perhaps an exotic alternative to your typical Sunday roast? Find it: China Town, Trafagar Square.
3. Balut, Philippines
This next one on the list is both strange and unnecessary from an animal welfare perspective. Balut is a developing bird embryo (usually a duck or chicken) that is boiled and eaten from the shell. And often served with beer. It might be found at Earl’s Court, but we do not encourage anyone to eat it.
3. Fugu, Japan
For gastro-daredevils: One of Japan’s most notorious dishes is the fugu, or pufferfish, which can be lethal if its toxic parts are not correctly removed. Over 20 people have died in Japan after eating the fish since 2000. Find it in Croydon at your own risk.
1. Stink bugs, Africa
Used to flavour stews or eaten on their own, stinkbugs are said to have a crunch to them and taste a little like apple. Prepared by boiling, the bugs release defensive pheromones in a last ditch attempt to survive. Your best shot is Leytonstone in East London.
Digest some knowledge about why it is that people have brought bugs, birds and big penises to London on Radio Straydogs #3 where we will explore food and belonging.
(Photos from commons.wikimedia.org, imgur.com, movehub.com, blog.restaurantscanada.org, deltafarmpress.com).