There are so many aspects of travel I love, among which food plays one of the most important roles. My lust for gastronomy of all sorts brings me around the world, sampling quirky eats and at times, bizarre wriggly bites. From roasted guinea pig to tender pigeon meat, I’ve tasted my way around the world. This week’s sponsored post takes a look at some of the most bizarre eating rituals around the globe and shows us how gastronomy is reinvented in various corners of the earth.
Flickr photo by Binder.donedat
Traveling gives you a chance to see the world, explore new cultures, and gather new experiences that will challenge your preconceptions. People from all corners of the earth have their own eating habits, beliefs and rituals, some of which are pretty weird – you have been warned!
1. Blood Drinking in Kenya
Flickr photo by Shortshot
In the West, cows are used primarily for producing either beef or milk. In Africa, cows have always provided a different kind of sustenance. Drinking the blood of cows historically helped travelers cross vast tracts of desert when water and food was in short supply. In places like Kenya, the Masai (also named Maasai) warriors still follow the ritual of blood drinking, as a delicacy mixed with milk or directly from the veins of the beasts.
2. Phuket Vegetarian Festival in Thailand
Flickr Photo by Binder.donedat
The Vegetarian Festival on the island of Phuket takes place each year with locals abstaining from meat and observing holy rituals to bring luck for the rest of the year. Aesthetic displays such as walking over hot coals and inserting all manner of bladed objects into the cheeks are done as part of the spiritual cleansing. Not for the faint of heart.
3. Eating Deadly Fish in Japan
Flickr photo by rc!
The Japanese pufferfish, or fugu, is one of the most poisonous foods in the world. Japanese chefs train for years to prepare the fish properly in order to remove the deadly tetrodotoxin, for which there is no known antidote. However, chefs aspire to leave just enough toxin in the fish to leave a tingling sensation in the mouth, whilst not enough to kill a person. An acquired taste for sure.
4. Burping in Egypt
Flickr photo by a shadow of my future self
Whilst belching in most of the Western world is considered rude and ill-mannered, burping in Egypt is the highest compliment a guest can pay to remark on the quality of the food prepared before them. When visiting Egypt, be sure to gulp down plenty of cola or other fizzy drinks to show your full appreciation for the meal.
5. Meditating with Magic Mushrooms in Siberia
Flickr photo by Steve Weaver
The Koryak people of Siberia have an unusual custom of combining hallucinogenic mushrooms with urine as part of a religious ritual which allows them to meditate and communicate with the spirits. The mushrooms are ingested as a ceremonial “entheogen”, and tribesmen will drink their own urine to sustain the intoxicating effects of the poisonous fungi.
6. Clearing Your Plate in China
Flickr photo by Wootang01
In Chinese culture it is considered rude to finish everything you are given to eat. Doing so is an indication that the host has not provided you with enough food to eat. To avoid such embarrassment, always leave some rice at the end of the meal to indicate that you have enjoyed your meal, but that you are indeed full.
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