What constitutes typical North American food these days is kind of gross, if you ask me. I’m talking about all the processed junk we put in our bodies. But compared to some other ‘regional’ cuisines that are mentioned in this article, I guess we’re pretty lucky. Need examples?
- In Iceland, for instance, Hakarl is made of putrefied shark meat. Sheep’s head (served in its entirety) is also popular.
- In Saudi Arabia, camels are a popular item — camel’s feet and sour camel humps in particular.
- Fried grasshoppers, earthworms and locusts are all the rage in Africa.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve heard of or eaten? For me, it was a four-course meal made from a snake that was killed right in front of us in Vietnam. Dessert was a shot of snake’s blood mixed with whiskey. I was also a little grossed out by the pictures of black chicken in Taiwan that an old co-worker showed me. But although it looks like it’s rotten, it’s not — it tastes like … well … chicken!
Here at Gadling we just love educating our readers about bizarre foods they should look out for while traveling abroad.
Well, today, we have one of the strangest I’ve come across in a long time: turd coffee.
Turd coffee comes to us from Indonesia and is the byproduct of wild civets (photo above). And when I say byproduct, I mean byproduct.
The catlike animals feast on coffee beans, eating only the very best. Once the beans are inside their stomachs, enzymes eat away the proteins that lend coffee its bitter taste. The digestive process also strips the beans of some, but not all of their caffeine. 24 hours later, what remains of the beans is deposited on the forest floor along with whatever else the creature consumed the night before.
Farmers collect the dung, separate the beans, roast them, and then sell them for as much as $600 for a pound.
Yes, folks, this is a rare delicacy that crosses cultures. Turd coffee, more correctly known as kopi luwak, is apparently some of the finest coffee in the world. According to a recent LA Times article, it is blessed with “a top note of rich, dark chocolate, with secondary notes that are musty and earthy.”
Good luck finding it, though. Less than 1000 pounds of the beans are produced annually. And, much of what is for sale is apparently counterfeit; I’d hate to know what’s in that turd coffee.