Over the years we have definitely seen our share of strange foods. Peru seems to top the list so far.
While it has certainly been strange to see Cuy (Guinea Pigs) being eaten as a delicacy here in the Andes, for some reason, a Cuy Pizza strikes me as the most bizarre food IÂ´ve come across.
A few others:
Alaska: Eskimo Ice Cream (Akutaq): Whipped fat (traditionally reindeer, seal or whale fat), mixed with sugar, berries, and sometimes ground fish. We saw Crisco used more often when we were traveling through.
Canada: Reindeer & Moose: Both quite delicious. Many folks in the Yukon territory shoot a moose every year and because the animal is so large they have about enough meat to feed a small family for the year.
Mexico: Armadillo: We ended up crashing a night at the bombero station (firefighters station) in Mazatlan. The wives of the firefighters all sent them to work with food for a potluck they were having. One of them was proud to have brought barbequed armadillo. Was quite delicious.
Mexico: Chapulines (grasshoppers) and mealworms: Walking through a market in a tiny village in the state of Oaxaca, the locals dared the gringo to eat some grasshoppers. Fried in spices they werenÂ´t so bad. Mealworms were also added to the dare, a delicacy to be eaten while the creature is alive (though also sold dried and spiced)
Ecuador: Levanta de los Muertos (Raise the Dead): Another blended treat found in the mercado, said to be a cure for a hangover. Starts with alfalfa juice, then some beer or Pony Malta, some sugar, a puree of a fruit called borojo and for the delicious finale: 2 quail eggs shell and all, and a raw chicken egg.
Ecuador & Peru: Suri: a large, plump grub that is food eaten in the jungle regions along the Amazon Basin. Prefer the mealworm to the suri. Check out the recent issue of WEND for a great story written about a culinary adventure in Iquitos, Peru. Even serve sloth at the markets there.
Peru: Jugo de Rana (Frog Juice): In the market of Arequipa you can get this delicious drink. You first choose a frog, the woman proceeds to smash it dead against the table, skin and disembowel before briefly tossing it in boiling water, then into the blender with maca root powder, some beer, juice, spices. Believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac!
Ecuador & Peru: Cuy (Guinea Pig): Not just a pet. It tastes like chicken they say, yet, the flavor resembled fish more than chicken when I tried it. Skinned and served whole, not much meat on the creature, gotta kind of nibble around its cheeks and fingers. And yes, in Cusco, they will put this animal on a pizza for you as well.
Peru: Alpaca Steaks: Taste much like beef. Low in fat and cholesterol. Found really only in the highlands of the Andes or in really touristy places.
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru: Caldo de Gallina: A flavorless soup with a boiled egg and parts of hen bobbing around, sometimes has black meat, ALWAYS has the absolute worst parts: feet, neck, organs. You can also get chicken feet and necks grilled up on the street.
Rumor has it that some other delicious treats we have to look forward to: Horse jerky, duck ceviche, deer pate, and beaver. Will keep you posted.