A couple of weeks ago, fellow dad blogger Tony Conrad from Faith, Family and Technology shared his list of 20 foods he wants to try. He hasn’t had a crawfish boil or liver and onions, for example. This initiated a lengthy Facebook discussion with Stacey Robinsmith from A Dad in the Burbs about all the foods we’ve already eaten. And this got me thinking about my own foodie bucket list. What on Earth do I want to try?
You might recall that I shared my bucket list a few years ago, but that list was a little more general in scope, including travel desires and professional aspirations. Today, I focus entirely on what I want to eat at some point before I kick the bucket. In no particular order…
1. Casu Marzu
This is one of those kinds of things that will probably gross some of you out. And I’m not exactly sure it would be something I would actively pursue, per se, but I certainly wouldn’t refuse should I be offered the opportunity. Known colloquially as “maggot cheese,” casu marzu literally translates as “rotten cheese.” I know. Not much better.
Originating from the island of Sardinia in Italy, casu marzu is a sheep milk cheese that contains live insect larvae. You don’t have to eat the maggots themselves, but you can. And realistically, this isn’t really all that different from the “normal” cheese-making processing, except you can actually see the creatures doing their thing.
Considering how much I enjoy seemingly similar alcoholic beverages, like rum-based mojitos and tequila-based margaritas, this national cocktail of Brazil sounds like it would be totally up my alley. Along with sugar and lime, the key ingredient to caipirinha is cachaça (sometimes spelled as caninha), a hard liquor made from fermented sugarcane juice. Doesn’t this just sound so delicious and refreshing?
3. Ostrich Egg
I imagine the best way to try this would be scrambled or as a plain omelette, because I wouldn’t want other ingredients to get in the way, at least for the first couple bites.
After that, I can probably just douse it in ketchup and hot sauce.
4. Popeye’s Chicken and Waffles
As far as items on this foodie bucket list go, this one is probably the most pedestrian. That doesn’t mean I’m any less interested in trying this legendary fried chicken fast food chain. From what I can see, there appears to be a location a couple hours’ south from Vancouver in Burlington, Washington. It’s probably not the same though. I feel like I need to go back to Popeye’s home state of Louisiana to get the real deal meal.
Speaking of going back to the place of origin for an an authentic experience, balut has been on my foodie bucket list for as long as I can remember. While I’m fairly certain I can pick this up at the local Asian supermarket, I am determined that the first time I ever eat this partially-developed duck embryo will be in the Philippines. With a little bit of vinegar, I’m told, from a random street vendor.
6. Black Pudding
Black pudding is a kind of blood sausage traditionally included as part of a full English, Scottish or Irish breakfast, served alongside back bacon, eggs, grilled tomatoes, baked beans and toast and such. I really enjoy Korean blood sausage (soon dae), so I’d be curious to see how this compares. There’s got to be somewhere in Vancouver that has this, right?
You may have read stories (or watched videos) of people eating “live” octopus in South Korea. The freshly chopped tentacles can be seen still wriggling on the plate. This is a common misconception about sannakji “dancing” long arm octopus.
The animal is indeed killed before being cut up into small, bite-sized pieces. It’s just that the nerves in the tentacles can still be active, particularly if they are stimulated by the sodium content in soy sauce. They say you should give each piece a really good chew, though, because it’s possible for the suction cups (suckers?) on the tentacles to grab hold on the way down.
8. Baohaus New York City
Ever since I came across Eddie Huang of Fresh Off the Boat fame, I’ve been interested in visiting his little East Village eatery in New York City. As its name alludes, Baohaus specializes in Taiwanese style gua bao steamed buns.
He’s respectful of tradition, while simultaneously offering a bit of modern flair. All the baos on the menu feature “all natural, antibiotic [and] hormone-free meats,” for instance, and are topped with anything from lemon-garlic aioli and cilantro to Szechuan chili oil and pickled cabbage.
Might I interest you in a salty, crunchy snack? Potato chips, cheesy puffs and pretzels these most certainly are not. Chapulines are toasted grasshoppers that are tossed in garlic and lime juice, as well as an agave worm-based salt. If you didn’t know any better, the mix of sour, salty and spicy sounds like it could be the latest flavor at Dorito’s. Except, this one is a bug.
From what I understand, chapulines are very popular at sporting events, particularly around Oaxaca in Mexico. The history of eating grasshoppers in the area dates back to the Spanish conquistadors of the 1500s. I’d be up for trying crickets and other insect-based street foods from other parts of the world too.
I’ve long since asserted that offal is hardly awful. In fact, it can be pleasantly delightful. So it should surprise no one that this foodie bucket list must contain the national offal-filled treasure of Scotland: traditional haggis. Actually, some of you may be surprised that I’ve never had it.
Apparently, traditional Scottish haggis is banned in the United States and has been since 1971 because some of its ingredients (notably sheep lung) are deemed “unfit for human consumption.” It has also been banned in Canada, but apparently a modified recipe was approved for import last year.
What’s on Your Foodie Bucket List?
If I were to put together a “reverse” bucket list of foods I’ve already tried, I might include smoked meat and poutine in Montreal, poke and kalua pork in Hawaii, stroopwaffel and pickled herring in Amsterdam, and ramen and sulfulous kuro tamago in Japan. I’ve tried plenty of game meat too, from kangaroo and crocodile in Australia to venison and muskox right here in B.C.
But the culinary world is remarkably vast and my foodie bucket list will never be satiated. There’s always more to eat, from Peruvian cuy (guinea pig) to fried green tomatoes! What are you dying to try?