Chocolate covered crickets

 

FullSizeRenderPppMy birthday party last weekend was pretty great, with lots of mescal as you ma have read. Of course I brought out some snacks as well. No potato chips this time, but chocolate covered crickets hat I bought in San Francisco and had saved for just such a special occasion. Surprisingly though my friends actually wanted to try. I guess I’m rubbing off on them.

First thing I thought was that the pieces were rather small, but then again we’re talking crickets not grasshoppers. Then when I tried one I was hit with an amazing dark chocolate. Probably the best chocolate I ever got in the States. And yes, there was a crisp and a crunch inside, but nothing that tasted strange. The only thing was that every so often you’d have a bit in your mouth that would kind of stick around unwanted. Otherwise a great little snack.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 8

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Mescal with worm

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When I was studying in Mexico I got to try some mescal. Mescal is like the older, more sophisticated brother of tequila which is made from the same agave plant. At the time I wrote about gusano salt, a special salt made with crushed up maguey worms used for rimming the glass. It’s this worm that also finds it’s way into the bottle of mescal. If you’ve ever seen a bottle of alcohol with a worm in it, chances are it’s a bottle of mescal.

I bought a bottle while in Mexico and cracked it open last night to celebrate my birthday with some friends, though my birthday is actually today. Clearly I’m fishing for some birthday wishes from my readers.

The first round of shots was had without worm, and everybody agreed it was a really nice drink. It does have that advertised smokiness, but also I warms your body without being too strong. The worm always finds its way to the last shot, which – and this should come as no surprise – was bestowed on me. As I chewed it, it popped not unlike a grape. If there was any flavor of worm before, that was now drowned out by the mescal, so pretty much it was once again just a different texture.

Fear Factor – 3 / Taste Test – 8

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Rose apple

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The rose apple is one if hundreds of fruits that belong to the family of syzygium. It is therefore reasonable well widespread, and yet I had never come across it before I went to Asia. It is a bell-shaped fruit roughly the size of a fish that comes in various shades of pink and green. This color scheme is what gives it the name ‘rose apple’ because it doesn’t actually taste like an apple at all.

On my trip to Bangkok I had breakfast at the Goji Kitchen + Bar buffet restaurant, which was rated as the number one restaurant in Bangkok on Tripadvisor. Among the numerous trips to he food isles I made, one visit was to the fruit section to sample some snake fruit and rose apple.

I have to say I didn’t like it that much. It had a texture similar to cucumber or watermelon, with an also a similar watery taste. Now cucumber and watermelon are probably my least favorite fruits, if you consider cucumber a fruit. That’s just my personal taste. I’m sure most other people will have no problem scoffing down a rose apple or two.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 5

Durian breadsticks

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While I was in Thailand I had to try to defeat my immortal enemy, the king of fruits, the sultan of stink, the spiky, lethal durian. I unknowingly had a durian tart during afternoon tea, and quite knowingly bought a box of durian breadsticks. What’s the worst that could happen? If I didn’t like it and had to throw it out I would have lost a meagre buck.

I didn’t end up throwing it out after all. On night back in China I was hungry, and it was too late to go out or cook, so it was either durian breadsticks or an empty stomach. I tried one, and the usual funk of rotting onions entered my nostrils. The second bite was far less pungent though, so this little piggy decided to have it all.

Fear Factor – 4 / Taste Test – 5

Raw honeycomb

 

FullSizeRenffderI’ve seen honeycomb pop up on TV occasionally, but not very often, and I don’t see it in many shops either, which is a shame as it is such a nutritious product. Honeycomb is loaded with beneficial enzymes, just make sure not to heat it to a high temperature or it will loose its effects.

Honeycomb is made by bees to store honey or their young ones. It’s formed by hexagonal cells of beeswax. As the bees tend to make too much honey, the beekeepers can easily take out a slab of honeycomb without causing any harm.

I had bought some honeycomb in Thailand and used some to sweeten up my yogurt and strawberries. When I first tried a piece on its own it was an incredible taste of honey, some of the best I’ve had. The wax itself though was super chewy, like gum, and I couldn’t eat it I all. Mixed with my yogurt though, the wax kind of melted and almost disappeared. It was easy enough to eat and quite delicious.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test 8

 

Bird’s nest drink

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Bird’s nest is one of those delicacies that China is notorious for. For hundreds of years they have consumed these edible nests for their nutritional value and often pay top dollar to get it. It’s so prized it can get up to 2000 dollar per kilo. Now that’s exactly why I haven’t tried it yet. I don’t usually spend too much on food. Also these nests in China have been used so much it has started to affect the health and population of these birds.

These birds in question are so-called edible nest swifts and they make their nests using their saliva on rock cliffs in South East Asia. In Thailand people have started building massive birds houses mimicking the rock cliffs and pretty much farming the edible nests. This makes it a lot more eco friendly as well as economical.

It was indeed in Thailand that I bought a bottle of edible birds nest drink mixed with extra collagen, a true health product. Or so they say. The drink was a clear, thick liquid, sweet and viscous like a syrup. In it you could see lots of see-through bits and bobs floating around. I took a couple of swigs, but did not finish the bottle. There wasn’t much taste other than sweet, but the texture. Brrrr. The drink alone was thick and slimy enough, but then to find more slimy bits, that was just overkill.

Fear Factor – 5 / Taste Test – 4

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Matcha and red bean KitKat

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This is going to be my last blog entry of many. My last entry on KitKat, my last entry on matcha and my last entry on red beans. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere, I just think those three topics have been dealt with enough. I had talked about them individually and even paired with each other, but had yet to try a combination of all three. That was until I was leaving Thailand and had a few last Baht to spend at the airport and spotted this KitKat at the on site newsagent.

I unwrapped it only after I got back home. What greeted me was a green KitKat hat was obviously coated in green tea flavored white chocolate. Biting into it I first got that signature crunch, and soon after a hit of nutty, roasted red bean, a flavor which you know I don’t care for. That flavor soon dissolved and I was left with a mild matcha flavored candy bar which was pleasant enough to eat without being thrown off by those beans.

Fear Factor – 4 / Taste Test – 7

White truffle macaroon

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I have a secret love affair with truffles, not the chocolates but the mushrooms. Well, it’s not exactly a secret as I’ve written about it before. I love it just simply shaved over a bowl of pasta, or mixed with some mayonnaise to dip your fries in. You can find it on the menu of many a restaurant across the world. It’s not often though that you find it in a dessert. I may have only had that once as a truffle ice cream in Shanghai.

Whilst on a serious shopping spree in Bangkok recently I couldn’t help but browsing the food courts and restaurant sections of the big shopping malls. That’s how I cam across an overseas outlet of he famous London department store Harrods. The display window of their café was loaded with sugary treats including some vivid macaroons.

When I saw they had a white truffle version I was sold. I carefully carried it over to a nearby bench so as not to prematurely crack it and took a bite. The flavor was out of this world. I was hit with that beautiful rich taste of truffle, without it being sweet. I’m guessing this would be a savory macaroon. The shell itself was a bit disappointing. Although it was chewy it didn’t have that crunch that a good macaroon has. Still, great flavor.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 7