United States can be arguably said to be most known (and admired) for the unrestrained right to self-expression (at least more than others). This can be a major reason why people choose to venture to the country, armed with just the power of imagination and hope. As a result, it has resulted into making the country a colorful melange of brimming new ideas and creations. As such, people have adopted experimental attitude towards most of the spheres of their lifestyle. Undoubtedly, various Food and cuisines have found a comfortable home to this accepting culture and created quite a fan following of their own.
Now, when I say food, it might create different “finger-licking” images in different minds. Some people might consider peanut butter-jelly sandwich as their ultimate dream haunt, whereas some like to have more refined and complicated taste-buds. This is just an observation from all the food-travel shows that focus on the food-truck popular culture of the plebeian- Just get a dish from any part of the world, dip it in a batter, deep fry it and there you have the american version of it. US of A is known to be quite amazingly varied in their food options-be it butter-batter-pork, butter-batter-ham or butter-batter-sugar. Just top all of them with generous cheese and there you go- a good old American dream.
In going through all the wonderful and popular dishes enjoyed by masses there (with a dripping mouth and a stomach screaming to stop the 3rd degree torture), we also came across some weird dishes that make you go-“whaaa….???” Let’s see whether any of the following get your tastebuds tingling or jaws dropping:
10. Loco Moco, Hawaii
As you can see, its a simple three-layered item having rice at the base, a hamburger patty and then a fried egg on the top, served with brown gravy. It traces its origin to Lincoln Grill who used to sell it for 25 cents. You can now have it at Kai Lanai restaurant where chef Sam Choy claims to offer a lip-smacking traditional version on the Big Island. Hawaii is a haven for such unique food that make you think twice before you eat. With this one, it also includes the delectable lomi-lomi salmon or poke (po-key) which are all non-sashimi raw fish dishes. And you all know what the world thinks about guzzling raw animals.
09. Geoduck, Pacific Northwest
It is a (rather provocatively shaped) 6-inch chewy siphon from a certain clam that can grow upto 3 feet and lives upto a 100 years. Geoduck (Goo-ee-duck). Certain chefs like to thinly slice this sweet and tender body meat, saute in butter with shiitake mushrooms and asparagus and serve it in sashimi. As tasty as it may sound, the weird shape is enough to put you off it.
08. Pickled Pigs Feet, The South
This delicacy from the South is generally cured in vinegar, salt, spices and preserved in jars. They generally serve as accompaniments to rice and bean dishes but many also prefer to consume it straight out of the jar with a helping of hot sauce. People actually get quite a liking to this one if introduced early in age. I have heard people quite lovingly describe the celestial feeling when they are sucking out the meat and fat from the bones. Now this should get your appetite going.
07. Reindeer Hot Dogs, Alaska
What do you know? As if hot dog wasn’t already misleading enough, now they have introduced some unconventional sausages inside your buns. This is actually Alaskan Caribou, topped with Coca-cola-caramelized onions. So the next time you get an Alaskan sausage from the supermarket, be ready to have a taste of smoked reindeer, spiced with coriander and white pepper. Talk about Hot dogs in any season! When you aren’t getting any beef/pork, you just turn a reindeer into one. Wonder how many has Santa left for his wagon?
06. Fried Diamondback Rattlesnake, Texas
Adding more credibility to Texas’ badass image, the locals have a kind of indescribable liking for capturing these venomous reptiles from the surrounding desert and then, skin, batter and deep-fry like the good ol’ american. Nothing much to say here, except that it’s a bloody snake! A snake that you are eating like popcorn. Its like Anaconda popping in human heads, only not battered and fried.
05. Turducken, Louisiana
Now this is a clever word-play here. This literally over-the-top dish is claimed to have been invented by a Cajun chef Prudhomme. It is basically chicken stuffed inside a duck, which in turn, is stuffed inside a turkey. It is boneless, so can be easily sliced like a poultry loaf. Besides, you are going to see Louisiana a lot more times now. I love the people there, and the gourmand’s spirit they have!
A chicken inside a duck inside a turkey? It’s like a foodie’s Inception!
04. Akutaq, Alaska
Also known as the Eskimo Ice cream, its a famous and quite customised alaskan ice cream which generally includes- polar bear fat mixed with seal oil, berries and snow. So, basically its a non-veg ice cream, made with whatever they could muster in the frozen ice caps. It is said to have originated around thousands of years back when the Inuits were looking for a portable snack for hunters on long trips.
03. Alligator Sausage Cheesecake, New Orleans
First they had reindeer! and now they have alligators! And people say the chinese can’t let the wild rest in peace. This one more innovative version of sausages-that-can-be-made-of-almost-anything is made up of alligator meat with pork, generally served in gumbos and stews. And just when you think it can’t get any more weird, they even make a shrimp-and-alligator “cheesecake”. New Orleans has definitely given an entirely new dimension to the concept of Desserts!
02. Chaudin, Louisiana
Another weird delicacy from Louisiana, it is actually a roasted hog stomach which is sewn in with a filling of a sausage mixture, generally served sliced with rice and the famous, Holy Trinity Gravy- which is a roux prepared from flour, browned onion, bell peppers, celery and garlic in broth or wine. It has been believed to have brought by french-speaking Acadians. The thing might be hors d’oeuvres of the locals but it sure looks like a sedimentary rock which might contain Fossils if you are able to dig deep enough.
01. Bull Testicles, West
This quite interestingly named dish has (no bonus points) sliced, battered and deep-fried bull/bison testicles. Its also has certain misleading nomenclature like Rocky Mountain Oysters or Prairie Oysters. You might be well aware of the festival that this amazing dish seemed to have inspired- the annual Testical Festival in Montana, which among other attractions, has Ball-eating competitions.