Food is often one of the first things that come to mind when we attempt to define the culture of a nation, Britain is commonly hastily associated with fried breakfasts and stodgy roast dinners, representative of the erstwhile, British constitution. It’s not always the type of food that’s associated with a nation, occasionally it’s the way it’s served or when it’s eaten, the French are known for their haute cuisine, dainty portions of food arranged with aesthetics in mind, while Spaniards are famous for eating their evening meals at 10pm.
There are some country’s who’s eating habits less clear however, and while we all might think that Sweet ‘n; Sour and chicken and egg fried rice are staples of the Chinese diet, there are some less well known dishes that are incredibly popular but don’t necessarily suit foreign palates or cultural customs. Here are five unusual nation dishes you may not have seen on your local takeaway menu before…
1. Black Pudding, England
For us Brits, eating a fried breakfast complete with bacon, sausages, eggs, baked beans and black pudding is the most natural thing in the world. But when you stop and think, how natural is a pressed and dried disc of congealed blood from various different animals, supplemented with fillers like bread, oats and fat.
2. Escargot, France
Ah, the French can make anything sound good can’t they? Even snails it would seem. France is famous for its unorthodox cuisine that includes frog’s legs and Horse meat as well as the common garden critters. Snails are ‘purged’ (fed on cereals to rid their digestive systems of harmful substances) before being killed, cooked with garlic butter or wine then placed back in their shells before serving.
3. Trung Vit Lon, Vietnam
How do you like your eggs in the morning? Scrambled, fried, poached? How about fertilised and containing a developed chick embryo? Didn’t think so. Well, the Vietnamese do, and Trung Vit Lon is the ultimate snack food in this south east Asian country. Nothing goes to waste either, the liquid surrounding the embryo is sipped before the meat is eaten, bones and all.
4. Lutefisk, Norway
Norway’s long coastline means that seafood is inevitably a specialist in the country, and they’ve clearly been experimenting… From dried or salted Whitefish soaked in lye, a common house substance used in oven cleaner. Hungry yet? Lye gives the fish a jelly-like texture and a pungent aroma, despite all this I can confirm it’s quite delicious.
5. Haggis, Scotland
Another culinary oddity from the British Isles, Haggis is only really popular with Scots. The dish consists of the decimated innards of a sheep, usually the heart, liver and lungs, mixed with onion spices and oats, all simmer simmered in said sheep’s stomach lining. Served with ‘tatties’ (potatoes) and ‘neep’ (swede), Haggis is traditionally consumed on Burn’s night.
Joe is a travel blogger and food lover, he hopes he hasn’t put you off your lunch and is looking forward to sampling the cuisine on his upcoming Caribbean holidays