Top 5 Foods to Try When You’re Visiting Asia – If You Dare

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Asia is a large continent that includes many countries, each with their own culture, cuisine and customs. Each offers travelers a unique and unforgettable experience, from the beautiful landmarks to the delicious food to the friendly people.

By far, one of the most memorable aspects of many travelers’ trips to Asia is the food. Asia has a wide range of dishes that are unique to the region – many that we might find a little odd, if not downright revolting. Here are 5 of the top dishes you will find in Asia that you should give a try during your trip – if only for the bragging rights:

Photo credit: Joel Abroad

Raw Octopus

Known as sannakji hoe, this Korean delicacy consists of live octopus served raw on the plate. It is cut into small pieces and served with sesame oil and some light seasoning. Because of a chemical reaction that is still taking place in the cells, the tentacles are usually still squirming on the plate. As if all that weren’t enough to give you pause, there have also been reports of diners choking on the dish because the suckers on the tentacles attached to their throats on the way down.

It’s safe to say that if you can eat this dish and live to tell the tale, you’ll win major dining points and cred with your friends.

Bird’s Nest Soup

The nest of the Swiftlet bird is the centerpiece of this soup, which is popular in China. However, you won’t find twigs and leaves in your broth. The nest is created almost entirely from the bird’s saliva – mm mmm! The soup is a delicacy since the bird’s nest is becoming more difficult to find. Expect to pay top dollar for this sought-after soup!

Hundred-Year-Old Eggs

Also known as thousand-year-old eggs, this delicacy doesn’t quite live up to its name. The eggs aren’t actually a hundred years old – or even one year old. The eggs (taken from a duck, quail or chicken) are preserved in a clay mixture for a few months until the yolks turn dark (almost black). The egg white also becomes clear and gooey.

The eggs look as appetizing as they sound. If you’re in China, eating these eggs will make for a great story when you return home.

Dog Soup

Dog soup, known as boshintang or gaejangguk in Korea, features dog meat as the primary ingredient – just like a beef stew. Green onions, spring greens, and other veggies are boiled with it, and it is seasoned with various spices. Koreans believe that eating the soup promotes virility. However, animal-rights activists have criticized the practice, causing it to fall out of favor.

Octopus Testicles

Japan’s answer to eating foods for virility is a dish made of octopus testicles, known as taboyaki. The dish actually consists of balls of dough that are deep-fried in batter and stuffed with fish, ginger, and octopus testicles. The whole dish is topped with sauce and seasonings – the perfect pub snack or street treat!

Have you tried any of these adventurous dishes on any trip that you’ve taken to Asia? Have you tried something else equally bizarre? Share your experiences in the comments!

Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching the best cooking schools in the world. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.

1 Comment

  1. Rakib

    December 3, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Thanks for providing up in such tips here. I've plan to make my next vacation in any country of Asia and that's why here provided and recommended food list will be handy for me to taste on. Thanks 🙂

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