You don’t have to love everything you try, but a little spirit of adventure at the dinner table can go a long way in helping you to truly experience a travel destination!
These worldly delicacies might challenge your palate, and that’s probably a good thing. The question is, how many are you willing to taste?
Where to find it: Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines
The fact that many have described durian’s aroma as “like a pair of old gym socks” is enough to dissuade most people from trying it. But tell that to the countless people in southeast Asian countries who can’t get enough of the acquired taste.
There are a handful of tricks you can use to increase your chances of enjoying durian for the first time. Ask your host or a market shop owner to help you select durian with just the right ripeness. Keep in mind that durian doesn’t do well sweating under the sun all day. And finally, try to ignore your instincts about what fruit is “supposed” to taste like. Yes, durian is a little bit sweet, but it’s also savoury. And bitter, too. Keep an open mind and take a bite!
Where to find it: Japan
Fugu, also known as puffer fish or blowfish, is an infamous sushi dish thanks to its (gulp) running death count. Parts of fugu contain a deadly poison with no known antidote. It’s only prepared by certified fugu chefs who have followed the strictly regulated training and survived the final test: a taste of their own preparation!.
The thrill of tempting fate might be more exciting than the fish’s actual taste, but the dish’s steep price tag is well-warranted. Like many marine species, fugu has been a casualty in industrial overfishing. So, a shocking price tag helps to protect both the brave diners and the fugu population from an untimely expiration.
Where to find it: Finland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway
Don’t be deceived by this treat’s sugary appearance. Salmiakki is salted black licorice, sometimes also coated in ammonium chloride. It’s suspected to have roots as a remedy for cough and colds, and (you know what, let’s move on. That’s not much of a selling point for candy!).
The key to enjoying salmiakki, much like with durian, is to suspend your beliefs about what a candy “should” taste like. It’s not sweet. Not even a little bit. It’s powerfully salty and really, really black licorice-y too. But for some people, that’s what makes it super addictive.
Where to find it: Australia
Similar to the British Marmite, Vegemite has one of those flavours that people tend to really like or despise. There’s not much of an in between.
Vegemite is made of brewer’s yeast extract mixed with some other spices and usually spread on toast. But also on… chocolate treats? Avocados? Pasta? We’re not too sure what those Aussies have been up to, but we’re guessing Flight Centre was founded on more than a little vegemite, so we’re not judging.
Where to find it: Jamaica, West Africa
Fugu isn’t the only poisonous delicacy to make this list. Take a bite of Jamaica’s ackee before it’s ripe and you’ll get a mouthful of toxic hypoglycin, which can cause severe vomiting and even death.
But once the pods redden and open up, the yellow arilli inside become the star ingredient in Jamaica’s famous dish: ackee and saltfish. Try this flavourful breakfast with some festival (a type of fried dumpling) and a hot cup of Blue Mountain coffee. It might just become your new go-to.
Where to find it: Mexico, Central America
As a young fruit, black sapote comes with an overwhelmingly bitter taste and slightly corrosive effect. But get this.
People say a well-ripened black sapote fruit looks, tastes, and feels just like rich chocolate pudding. (Then again, you’ll also hear people comparing this cousin of persimmon to a sweeter version of squash, so you’ll just have to taste it and decide for yourself!)
If you’re ready to push the boundaries of your travel experiences, talk to the experts! Access our network of over 20,000 Expert Travellers across the globe to create truly one-of-a-kind adventures, vouched for by people who know. Call 1-877-967-5302, chat online, or find the Flight Centre location nearest you.