In keeping with the title of this blog, I’ve undertaken an adventure in eating, namely a sort of “bizarre” foods quest. I quote the use of the word “bizarre” because not all of the things I’ve listed in this category may be considered very exotic or out of the ordinary to some…
For me it has been symbolic to eat or try things that others may find strange, gross or distatseful because it stands for stepping outside of my comfort zone. As many of my friends can attest to, I will gently suggest (okay … boss or push) they try it too! Usually it is with good results – despite the look on his face, Ryan really enjoyed the uni pasta!
I would say this exotic food adventure began with my friend Shayne (not on twitter and hardly on facebook. boo). I would describe him as a man that has tried it all and his drive to try new, exotic or bizarre foods comes from sheer boredom – I was a default date with he and Jon on Valentines’ day so they wouldn’t look like a gay couple having a romantic dinner at Izakaya Nonbei. We had geoduck, tako wasa, shiokara and onaga head… all of which at the time were the most exotic I’ve eaten.
Since seeing Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods” almost gag up a lung trying to stomach a bite of durian I was intrugued. Even more so intrigued when I heard he came to Hawaii and couldn’t eat spam. I thought wtf. I can take this guy down. When I saw Mari Taketa (@nonstopmari) tweet about having fresh durian, it was on – we arranged a meet up in chinatown where I traded JJdolan’s pizza for some fresh durian … I felt like we were doing a drug deal. She drove by fighting eel and we traded through her car’s passenger window. She even packaged the durian in a long’s drugs prescription bag!
I brought the fruit to Morio’s Sushi Bistro where the waitress was delighted to have her favorite treat and Morio and the rest of the patrons looked on in disgust (I think Morio even said, don’t you ever bring that in here again!)
After tasting durian and pandan icecream with she and Dan (@wangchungs) at Spices, I kept hearing from Melissa Chang (@melissa808) about Shimazu Store’s durian-flavored shave ice and recently Ryan and I biked over (in the rain no less!) so I could give it a try! I was told the house rules were to order and leave the store with my goodies right away, I was not allowed to eat it on the premesis nor throw my trash away in their receptacles.
I did coerce a few people to try, a father and son walked up to smell it and eventually taste and were suprised by how good it was despite its smell (all except poor Ricky @rickyli).
I’ve also come to enjoy natto, a dish I despised growing up … (okay Mom, you were right as always) don’t knock it til you try it! Morio actually got me to like it, he prepared it for me topped with yamaimo, green onion and quail egg yolk – talk about texture!
Folks were NOT amused however the night I asked him to make me natto dynamite-style. The smell of cooking/warmed natto in the small sushi bar was a little much for some.
As soon as Cody (@codyozninaka) mentioned Lisa at Sabai Dee Thai had made durian sticky rice, even after a full meal. I was all over that!
The point of this journey of sorts has been not only to discover new and exciting foods but also to experience that with others, I’ve found that the ones most willing to try these strange new foods with me are those like-minded in their acceptance of others, adventurous spirit and open to new friendships.
The next bizarre foods dinner club is already in the planning stages…are you in?