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July 07, 2008

No Reservations Giveaway


One lucky Venti Cup reader will receive signed Anthony Bourdain goodies, courtesy of the Travel Channel. Keep reading for details...

There's nothing quite like a memorable meal eaten in an exotic land. Travel, after all, is about new experiences, new flavors, new worlds. Sometimes you get to enjoy a rare bottle of wine on an exclusive beach. Other times, a delectable meal in an impossible to get table. But if you know Anthony Bourdain, he'd be unimpressed by those experiences. In addition to having access to some of the world's best cuisine, he has eaten (and on occasion enjoyed) what many of us would consider inedible or at the very least uncommon.

But I'm wondering about you, dear readers. In celebration of the new season of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, I'd like to know something: what's the most unusual thing you've eaten while traveling. Where were you? What did you eat? Did you enjoy it? Don't spare any details. I'm not talking about common fare. Let's hear about the most bizarre thing you've eaten in the name of adventure. Leave a comment below answering the above questions above.

In the meantime, enjoy a sneak peek at the season via the video above. You can also follow chef Bourdain on Twitter or read his blog.

So... start dishing!

What the beautiful people are saying...

I love Anthony Bourdain. I have read Kitchen Confidential, but I rarely catch him on TV, so thanks!

Anthony Bourdain is my #1 celeb crush! seriously! i adore him! he's so witty and wry!

I'm super boring, but I appreciate his travels and I "try" new foods through him.

they should give away a great trip to eat with him somewhere. Me first, I want to go to Paris. I swear, I'll eat a snail and everything!

oh i LOVE this show !

I wish I could say I've traveled overseas to try something exotic, but some of the strangest things I've tried were at homes of people I've met all over this and other countries. Some of which, I'm still not sure what I ate.

Strangest? Frogs legs maybe? Some sweetbreads? Brains?

When I was a sophmore in highschool, my symphony band played in Carnegie Hall in New York. Being my first time to NY, I let my inhibitions run free as I enjoyed Carnegie Deli's finest, Cow Tongue sandwich! Never again, but if you ever go to Carnegie Deli, be sure to get the cheesecake, it is the best I have ever had.

I racked my brain to think of something that qualified as bizarre. Though I live for travel - I'm sad to admit that I've tended to stay on the safer side as far as cuisine goes. But I thought of some of the more memorable...

Momos in Leh and Ladakh were fascinating, Som Tam (spicy papaya salad) in Phuket, Thailand was intriguing because of the combination of spicy and sweet, souvlaki in greece was extraordinary, and the first time I tried gnocchi at a small restaurant on the docks of Capri, Italy, I swear changed my life!

Neha, Kate & Sara Z - great stories! Cow tongue....yikes. When in Rome, I suppose ;)

Neha, it is very likely we ate at the very same restaurant on those docks. I know precisely what you are talking about. Large awnings.... right next to the lift?

SURPRISE! I'm back! Sort of.

The strangest thing I've eaten is a toss up between alpaca and guinea pig. Both in Peru.

I went to a small farm with a tourist group. On the farm was a small stable and inside you'd think you'd find cute farm animals like goats or pigs or ducks. But alas, in the stables were hundreds of guinea pigs all bred for the sole purpose of being grilled on an open flame. They are skinned, then grilled and served whole on a plate. It was too tough for my taste with an odd gamey flavor. I tried but could not finish my dish.

Alpaca was served lukewarm, kind of gray and tender in texture. Not the most terrible thing I've eaten but I suppose knowing that is was llama sort of gave me preconceptions of the taste.

okay MC... so far the guinea pig/alpaca gets my vote for most bizarre. "kind of gray and tender..." say no more. really... say no more...

Bush meat with piment in W. Africa.. it was the only protein I'd had in a week... I still don't really know what "bush meat" is.

I once watched as distant cousins served my Dad the goodies from a lamb they were roasting at their taverna in Greece. As the senior American present, he was fêted with the eyes and testicles. It took a few shots of Ouzo, but he rose to the occasion. He was a born diplomat.

I suppose that would, indeed, require a few shots of Ouzo!


It was the very first thing I ate on my first trip to the Dominican Republic to meet my Husband's family. We arrived late and his mother had cooked us a true Dominican feast; rice, black beans, fried plantains, and a big pot of meat. All of this was on the stove in the kitchen. She invited me in and lifted all the lids, everything smelled amazing. The pot of meat looked similar to beef, but the bones were very strange. I knew it could not be cow, so I was nervous to say the least. I am NOT an adventurous eater. Then she grabbed a spoon and offered me a taste saying "Chivo". Now, I speak fairly good Spanish, but I was not familiar with this word. I gave her the confused foreigner face and she responded with a goat sound (like a sheep, but higher pitched).

I knew what she meant and I ate it to be polite. It was not horrible, just VERY different.

PS If I come in the top 3, I will gladly wrestle for Anthony Bourdain paraphernalia.

I've been racking my brain to see what I could add to the list and I've got zilch. However my fiance, he has eaten brain tacos in Mexico.

I know. Gross.

I didn't have to travel very far. I had cow heart, while visiting a friend with peruvian background. It was a birthday party and her family had cooked as a strip on a stick, but wouldn't tell me what it was. I actually loved it -- cow heart is apparently very tender. the dish is called, anticuchos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anticuchos)

Franki, that's the one! Wasn't it amazing - I wish I could go back tomorrow!

I've had antelope in Los Angeles. I had no idea what to say when they asked how I wanted it prepared. As long as it didn't run onto my plate I was okay with it - ha!

I had alligator in Raleigh, which seemed an odd place to offer it, hardly native. I can't say the outcome was too tasty - "like chicken" as you often hear when people try and fail at describing an unusual food. I need to expand my culinary vocabulary, clearly.

I'll try anything once . . . .

How about a signed bottle of TUMS :-)

Oh, Jessie... ignorance can be bliss, can't it?

Diana: Antelope. Are we allowed to eat that? Oddly enough, I've had some alligator as well. I don't recall where, but it wasn't bad actually.

Lizy...brain tacos? The further south you go... the more exotic the cuisine it seems.

Sneaky... it could have been soooo much worse!

Something i had never heard of (but maybe is pretty common) is horse sausage in Munich, Germany at a street festival. I didn't know what I was eating till afterwards! Poor horsies.

I suppose they can't ALL be turned into Elmer's glue...

Gosh, I've eaten too many weird things to remember, but the crunchy unidentifiable insects in South America were probably the ickiest. But I don't want any prizes - we already watch Bourdain as a way to relax - on our PowerBooks on hotel room beds at 2am after driving all day - it's the only way we can really unwind. Oh, and Gordon Ramsay too.

I love him! I confess though, I only just discovered him this weekend...we just bought a new TV and have had cable installed - very dangerous to my normal reading habits. Anyway, I digress. The strangest thing(s) would be, Ox tongue (was quite disgusting) - as a child. Lamb's brains - also as a child. And......Chicken Sashimi in Japan. Yes folks. I ate raw chicken. I had no idea that it wasn't fish at the time, and nearly gagged when they told me, but it wasn't too bad, and clearly it was Japan so very fresh.

Suzy. Suzy! Raw chicken? You are a risk taker, indeed! I know it was unintentional, but still!

Ox tongue & lamb's brains sound equally unappetizing. But not as likely to cause digestive issues.

And, Laura: you could probably author a book on unusual and exotic eats. Just a idea!

oh god...I'm a bit of a foodie, and always up for trying new things. Lets see...rabbit, served rare (delish!), escargot (no thanks), alligator ((yum), horse (nauseous just thinking about it)... um, I can't remember any others right now.

LK, You know... I enjoyed alligator as well. Odd, isn't it? You did, however, remind me I'd also eaten rabbit. I don't recall enjoying that.

Horse...? Not on your life, baby!

The most unusual thing I tried while traveling was probably alligator meat when I was in Florida several years back. It actually tasted pretty good but I couldn't get over the fact I was eating "alligator meat." I wouldn't do it again.

Hmm...I've eaten lots of meat...so much so that I don't even think of it as exotic. Grew up in Louisiana with alligator. Have tried all seafood...liked them all. I don't think there's a meat or seafood that I've had yet that I didn't like. Octopus is still probably the weirdest to me...like the taste, the texture kind of weirds me out but doesn't stop me from eating it and I can't look at the tentacles...they really weird me out.

Elizabeth, funny how many of us have eaten alligator. I suppose turnabout is fair play ;)

Angie: I agree, I’ll eat most meats. I tend to like the idea of eating predators the most, but they rarely taste good.

And while Mr. Venti loves octopus when we have sushi, I never care for the texture. Too much work for just one or two bites. Nothing quite like food that requires far too much chewing ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

The most unusual thing I've ever eaten is endangered species. I was visiting a friend in Washington state several years ago and her father had us over for dinner one night. I don't know if this is still true, but at the time there was some endangered species of salmon that one specific Native American tribe had retained rights to fish for personal consumption. My friend's father was a Native American art dealer with friends in whatever tribe it was, and one of his friends had given him some, which he generously prepared for us. Not only that, but we ate our endangered salmon on an antique table he had picked up in South America somewhere that was made from wood from an extinct tree. It was all very robber barron.

The other most unusual thing I've ever eaten is moose. By far the most tender, succulent meat I've ever eaten. I've tried and tried to find it commercially. If anybody has a source, please share!!!

Oh, I know your contest is over, but I had to get back to you to report on some of our more unusual eats in Italy over the last few weeks: horse meat - in various forms, but I loved the horsemeat carpaccio best - it's terrible popular in Verona and the Veneto region; donkey meatballs - delicious and very lean - that was at a little trattoria in Parma where everyone at the restaurant seemed to order it that night; tripe (sheep's intestines) in several different incarnations, but that's not so unusual in Italy; and peacock - we couldn't translate the Italian to English, didn't know the word and neither did our waiter, so we asked for an English menu and it said 'peacock' but we thought it must have been a mistake and it was pigeon; we later interviewed the Michelin star chef who boasted about how we'd managed to source the peacock! (I immediately thought of Maryam, but I'm not game to tell her!) It was delicious to be honest.

Well hi there, Lara! ;)

I was thinking the same thing... Maryam. The two of you can certainly compare notes on exotic feasts...but, something tells me she’d be heartbroken if she’d eaten a peacock. Although, I still recollect her post last months ago on that adventurous restaurant.

So.. Back to yours... Horse carpaccio! Donkey meatballs. Peacock! Sometimes it’s best if we don’t know what we’re eating. Tripe is probably the best example of that ;)

So glad you shared!

Something to say, gorgeous?

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