I love food. Food is a very important part of my life. It is no wonder that I would like to try all different types of food abroad including the strange and downright disgusting.
In Paris, I had horse meat on a pizza. I didn’t discover what kind of meat it was until it was already in my stomach. It tasted like spicy sausage. It wasn’t a revolting experience.
My first time trying octopus was in Madrid as a part of tapa platter. I couldn’t get over the texture to clean my plate.
Fried bull testicles
Granada, Spain is known for free tapas whenever someone orders a drink at a restaurant. One of the last days in Granada, my close friends and I shared a farewell meal at a higher end seafood restaurant (that ended up being cheaper than expected). While waiting for our seafood, the restaurant sent us a free appetizer. I didn’t think anything of it since it is often customary. As I cut into the mysterious fried ball, I realized that I recognized the texture but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Once it had already been ingested, I realized what it was. There was no taste to it, but the texture was unfavorable.
Having a host mom meant that I was given the best home cooked meals in Spain. Maria was an excellent cook. A dish she served a few times was pig’s head. We only found out what part of the pig we were eating when we asked. She answered “cabeza”. The meat was tasty and the way she prepared it was good. The only problem was biting into some bones that remained.
Maria also served my roommate and I veal tripe in a meat stew with a tomato base. I have had tripe soup as a New Year’s Day tradition in my family, so I was partially prepared. Everything Maria cooked was amazing.
Another unexpected free tapa I tried was fried anchovies. I’m not sure if it was the beer or the freshness of the fish, but I liked it.
Both prevalent in southern Spain and Morocco, pastilla is a sweet and savory pie. It combines chicken or pigeon with almonds, cinnamon, sugar, and pie crust. That was my first pigeon experience and it was pretty tasty.
The Turkish port town of Çanakkale. Çanakkale has a famous dessert you can only find there, so I was intrigued. Peynir helvası is a sweet cheese dessert that is richer than American cheese cake. I enjoyed it because of my love for cheese. The others on my tour weren’t too fond of it.
Dondurma is Turkish ice cream with marzipan so it has a chewy texture and distinctive flavor. The makers of this ice cream have all the bells and whistles, literally. The vendors pull in customers from the street by ringing bells, playing with the ice cream, and stretching it out with long poles. They shout and chanting, bringing in attention from potential customers. The flavor I had was the “original”. I’m not a fan of biting my ice cream. It was difficult for me to get over the texture.