One can have many interpretations of what is exotic when it comes to adventure. For some, it may be a circus ride’s adrenaline rush, a river rafting session’s rushing waters, or even infinite mountain ranges’ fantastic sights. In Asia, there are a lot of exotic foods you need to try out!
Asia’s rich cuisine diversity arises from the region’s multiple ethnic groups. Dishes based on local resources and spices have developed with unique flavors and ingredients. On the opposite page of our adventure, some like to extend their palates’ limitations and sample some of Asia’s exotic delicacies.
Are you ready to meet Asia’s most exotic foods? We have rounded up our pick of seven delicacies you need to try when you visit Asia.
Also known as the “King of Fruits” in Southeast Asia, the durian fruit has this foul stench that you will immediately identify when someone walks into the room with it. The smell is so penetrating that it sticks even through the thorny husk to your clothes and fingers. But if you can get past the smell, the fruit itself is great and creamy.
In Southeast Asian, the durian fruit is regarded as a snack famous for its smell. Durian has been prohibited on many kinds of public transport throughout Thailand, Japan, and Hong Kong due to its overwhelming smell. In Singapore, the durian fruit is not permitted across all transport systems. Taxis in Singapore have signs letting you know they refuse to take in this smelly fruit.
Durian is exceptionally healthy despite the stench, though, and even more so than many other fruits. Durian, which is naturally rich in iron, vitamin C, and potassium, increases muscle power, skin health, and even lowers blood pressure.
Where to locate this food: Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and across Southeast Asia.
2. Kopi Luwak
Under Dutch colonial rule, Kopi Luwak was discovered in Indonesia. During that time, it was prohibited for indigenous farmers and plantation workers to harvest coffee for their use, and they were left to scrounge around for it. Kopi Luwak means coffee from civet cats.
They soon found that the civet cat would eat coffee cherries and pass the seeds — the coffee beans — without digesting them. They found it tasted much better than the standard coffee of the moment after brewing coffee produced from these beans.
Today, the coffee “beans” are collected out of the scat, washed, cooked, grounded, and brewed. The result is one of the world’s most costly coffee beans, costing an astounding $150 to $250 per pound.
However, because of its price, a lot of people have been faking the Kopi Luwak. It is essential to find out if you are getting the real deal and that direct sellers are not abusing their civet cats.
Today, Sagada in the Philippines is getting the world’s attention for its civet coffee and safe animal practice. To understand its nutrient components, click here.
Where to locate this drink: Philippines, Indonesia.
3. Bird’s Nest Soup
This is a soup made from bird’s spit. The bird’s nest soup is relatively common and highly valuable, made from edible bird eggs, called the “Caviar of the East.”
The main ingredient, the swiftlet bird’s nest, costs anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 per kilogram, resulting in a single soup bowl setting you back anywhere from $30 to $100.
However, the price must be worth it because a single bowl is rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
Where to locate this food: China, Southeast Asia, East Asia.
4. Century Egg
Century eggs are a preserved Chinese food product and delicacy produced by maintaining duck, chicken, or quail eggs in a blend of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for weeks to months, depending on the production technique.
Some advantages of eating this egg include a reduction in blood pressure and higher protein content. Singapore has a lot of controls and balances on what is secure and what is not safe to eat.
Where to locate this food: China, Singapore.
Betamax is a coagulated square-shaped chicken or pork blood put in skewers served hot off the stove. It has a liver-like texture and is often paired with a sweet marinade and vinegar barbecue dosage.
Betamax’s name came from the old black and box VHS tapes Sony made in the ’70s, and it is one of the Philippines’ best street foods today. It has little to no taste, but it can be your afternoon snack when dipped into the sauce.
Where to locate this food: Philippines.
Fugu is the Japanese pufferfish. It is one of the most popular weird foods, packed with very poisonous substances. It’s reasonably secure and safe to eat when prepared correctly.
In Japan and several other countries, the restaurant preparation of fugu is strictly regulated by law. Only chefs who have qualified after three or more years of strict practice are permitted to prepare the fish. Fugu can be served as sashimi and chirinabe.
Some find the liver to be the tastiest component, but it is also the most toxic, and it was banned in Japan in 1984 to serve this organ in restaurants.
Where to locate this food: Japan, across Southeast Asia.
San-nakji is a variety of raw, long-arm octopus made in a dish – a relatively small Korean octopus species called “nakji”. Because of its comparatively small size compared to the giant octopus, it is sometimes converted into “baby octopus.”
The suction cups on the arm pieces are still active when the dish is served. When you decide to eat this, you need to ask the restaurant to teach you how to safely and adequately eat the octopus. The active suction cups can cause swallowed pieces of the arm to stick to the mouth or throat.
Where to locate this food: South Korea.
These exotic foods are worth to try when it is safe. These speak more of Asia’s culture and history, including how they process their foods through generations.
Today, these foods brand each of the countries’ best harvests and unique sense of creativity. Try them out if you ever get a chance to go to Asia!
Click here for more food destinations around the world.