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Strawberry yogurt Oreo thins

 

Oreos come in all kinds of flavors and sizes these days. Some of my favorites are the extra thin ones. In my local supermarket they stock a few different flavored ones including strawberry yogurt ones. I do like strawberries and yogurt, so I assumed it was going to be good. The flavor, however, was very artificial and overly sweet. It didn’t taste of strawberries so much, but rather a children’s strawberry toothpaste. Still I do like my thin Oreos.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 6

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Foie gras ice cream

 

imageI recently had to go on a business trip to Shanghai, and that’s always a great opportunity for me to let my inner foodie loose. There are so many great restaurants both western and Chinese, and I managed to visit a few that were still on my to-do-list. There was one though I had been to before, but I just had to go back to .

Pree is the custom made ice-cream parlor where I previously tried truffle and Sichuan pepper ice-cream. I was in luck as this time around there were a few new flavors to try out. One of the more unusual ones that caught my attention was a foie gras gras and fig flavored one. Now I was pretty sure that foie and fig would make a great combination, but as a desert?

It turned out to be one of the best ice-cream I have ever had the pleasure of eating. As before the texture was divine, smooth and creamy. On first bite a big hit of alcohol warmed my whole inside. It was a sweet, raisin-like alcohol such as perhaps sherry or brandy. Foie gras mousse is often prepared with a fortified alcohol, so that does make sense. The fresh fig and the fig syrup added to the sweet profile, but where was the foe gras? Honestly I would never have guessed it was foie had I not known, even though there was an ever so slight savory undertone. Did I mind that? Not at all. It was still one of the best ice-creams of my life, and trust me I eat a lot of ice-cream in a year.

Fear Factor – 3 / Taste Test – 9

Truffle cheese

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Among the regular and the seemingly unusual types of cheese for sale at the various cheese shops in Amsterdam was a truffle flavored Gouda. I’m a sucker for anything truffle, so naturally I gravitated towards this one. Luckily I got to keep my money as there were a few pieces laid out to taste.

I honestly don’t think that any actual truffle was used in the making of this cheese. Perhaps it was flavored with truffle oil which doesn’t actually contain any truffle. It was still tasty though. You could definitely taste the truffle, which is always nice, but didn’t exactly blow me away either.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 7

Chinese savory cakes

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I found these weird looking little boxes at the supermarket containing all kinds of strange candies. There were five flavors: green beans, osmanthus flower, chestnut, water chestnut and taro. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, so I decided to select a sample of all five. I wanted to get the worst one out of the way first, and went with the green beans.

I was in for a surprise and in for a shock. What I put in my mouth was as strange as an everlasting gobstopper by Willy Wonka. Out of the package came a small block that turned to powder as soon as I bit into it. The powder then turned into a paste on contact with my saliva. From solid to powder to liquid in a manner of seconds. It was unusual to say the least.

I did not like the flavor of the green bean one at all, and just about spat it out. Most of the other ones were not as bad, because they had a sweet hint besides being savory. However, that savory note was still there, and the textures were simply not enjoyable for me.

Fear Factor 2 – Taste Test – 3

Raw egg on rice

 

IMG_7582I’m not to opposed to eating raw egg, I once downed a raw egg in a drunken spell, but it’s not something I seek out either. I’ve come to learn that the Japanese like slimy foods foods such as okra, and often put a raw egg on their rice for breakfast. When in Rome, do as the Romans, and so one morning I ordered a bowl of raw egg topped rice.

It was a whole egg mind you, not just the yolk. For some reason I expected the egg to coagulate and become slightly solidified like a carbonara. The rice was not hot enough though and the egg simply gave it a slightly slimy sauce. I mixed in some chili powder, and found the whole thing to be quite edible. It didn’t taste bad, nor did it have a strange texture. My only concern is that if I hadn’t added the chili it would have made for one bland meal.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 7

Green tea & sakura KitKat

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On my way back from Japan I picked up a couple of boxes of KitKat. One of these was a green tea and sakura flavored KitKat. Now, green tea is something I have become quite familiar with, but sakura was new to me. Sakura is the Japanese name for cherry blossom, a flower that blooms in April in Japan. The flowers are pink in color, and people come from all over the world to admire them. Around that time many of the flowers are also harvested for use in desserts or tea, which is how I ended up with this variety of KitKat.

I was quite excited about this, as people in China are equally in love with cherry blossom as the Japanese are. Unfortunately I still can’t tell you what sakura actually tastes like. All I could taste was the now so familiar flavor of matcha green tea. The tea was bitter, but not overpowering. Perhaps it was counteracted by the sweetness of the cherry blossom. I guess I will never now. Unless I go back to Japan in April and try the real deal.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 6

Pesto cheese

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The Dutch love their cheese. I said before in another review that if you cut me open I bleed Gouda. Though that might not be exactly accurate, us Dutchies sure do eat a lot of it, breakfast lunch and sometimes even dinner. Growing up most cheeses were plain, with a few exception such as cumin and chives flavored cheese. These days more and more gimmicky flavors have popped up. Some of them make it to the supermarket, but as us Dutch like our cheese fine the way they are, many of the more unusual kinds show up mainly in tourist shops.

That’s exactly where I went one summer day in Amsterdam to sample some of these cheeses. They often put out some cubes of cheese to sample a selection. Today’s offering included a green colored pesto cheese. Now there’s something nice for St. Patrick’s Day. I took a bite. Well, ok, I took a few bites, and found that there was definitely an added flavor, but not so much of a pesto one for me. I think it was mostly basil that was used in this cheese, as that was the predominant flavor. Not bad, but I still prefer my tradition aged Gouda.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 6

Jellyfish salad

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I had eaten jellyfish salad once before, and I kind of liked it so my fear factor is quite low. The first time I tried it though, my fear factor would have been much higher. I mean, who eats jellyfish? Well, it turns out quite a lot of people here in China and Japan do. In Osaka I found it on the menu of a yakitori place mixed with sour plum.

It made for a very interesting combination. The jellyfish itself has virtually no flavor. It’s all about texture with this one. It’s chewy, but not hard or rubbery. You can still bite through it easily. I’m not quite sure what to compare this texture with. Maybe seaweed comes close. The flavor was all down to the plum sauce, which was very sour indeed. It was a nice refreshing taste, but I’m glad it was only a small bowl, as I’m not sure I would have wanted to eat much more.

Fear Factor – 2 / Taste Test – 7

Mooncakes

 

IMG_7730Mooncakes come around in China once a year to celebrate the coming of autumn. During the Mid Autumn Festival people go out of their way to pick up a box of these beautifully decorated pastries with either a sweet or a savory filling. Traditional fillings include red bean bean, salted egg yolk, pork, rose petal and nuts.

I received a box of mixed mooncakes from my employer and was a bit hesitant, as I haven’t eaten many mooncakes that I actually like. Somehow I always end up with the savory ones. This time, however, I asked a friend to translate the ingredients, and kept the ones I felt were safe to eat.

The pastry itself was rich and crumbly like any buttery pastry in a Parisian shop. I tried a number of different fillings and thoroughly enjoyed some of them. A highlight was the snow pear, lily and wolfberry centered cake, which was sweet with a hint of freshness. I also loved the more modern ones such as the mango and coconut mooncakes. Unfortunately I also bit into a white bean moon cake, which was less desirable, bringing the overall score down to a seven. Better luck next year.

Fear Factor – 3 / Taste Test – 7

Wheat grass juice with aloe vera

 

IMG_7722There’s a shop close to my workplace that I visit every once in a while to pick up a drink. They often stock some imported drinks that you won’t find everywhere. One of such delights was a wheat grass juice with aloe vera. It was a translucent, slightly green, liquid with loads of equally translucent chunks of aloe vera.

It tasted to me like cucumber. I hate cucumber. Well, I don’t like it much anyway. It’s that watery taste that gets me. This juice not only had the displeasure of tasting like cucumber, the chunks of aloe very added to the discomfort. The pieces were a little but gooey and slimy and equally tasteless. I’m not even thinking about buying another bottle.

Fear Factor – 2 / Taste Test – 3