It can be easy to think something’s normal when you’re used to seeing it every day. The same can’t always be said for things from across the rest of the world – especially when it comes to food. It seems these strange national dishes probably aren’t to everyone’s tastes.
Airag – Mongolia
Airag and Mongolia go hand in hand. The adult beverage is a little acidic, but it’s not the taste that worries many people – it’s where it comes from. It turns out that airag is made from fermented mare’s milk. Bacteria is used to acidify the milk, while yeast gives it the adult touch it needs. The strange part? It’s said the milk needs to be stirred 1,000 times a day to ensure it has the right consistency.
Lutefisk – Norway
Fish can be enough to divide people at the best of times, let alone when it’s been prepared like lutefisk. The traditional dish is either salted or air-dried whitefish and lye. Apparently, there is a special trick to make sure the fish is just right, and it involves incubating the fish in lye for the perfect amount of time. This needs to be let until the fat turns to jelly, but not so long that it turns into soap.
Black pudding – The UK
Black pudding might sound like a deliciously sweet dish, but it’s far from the truth. Black pudding is usually served with a traditional English breakfast and is made from blood and a filler. These are cooked until the pudding congeals and is then finally mixed with bread and oatmeal. All of this is rolled up into a sausage shape and fried alongside bacon, sausages, eggs, beans, mushrooms, and tomatoes. What a start to the day.
Kenke – Ghana
To start, kenke sounds like a simple dish that’s made from partially cooked and fermented cornmeal. That is until you learn that kenke is one of the most pungent foods on the planet. Ground corn is left to soak in water for three days before kernels are partially cooked, wrapped in banana leaves, and steamed until they are a mushy consistency. All of this is then served alongside crushed pepper and tomatoes, perhaps to cover the other pungent aspects of the dish?
Tacos de sesos – Mexico
If there’s one thing many of us could learn, it’s how to make the most of all our food and not let anything go to waste. That is until you get to Mexico, as people here have been making the most of all their food for years. Sadly, tacos de sesos isn’t for everyone, especially when they learn it’s nothing more than a taco made from cows’ brains. While it might not be the unhealthiest thing on the planet, it is high in cholesterol.
National dishes can be a huge deal for some people – and a turn-off for others. These strange national dishes probably aren’t to everyone’s tastes, but they’ve caused enough of a stir that they’ve managed to cement their place in the history books.