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Weird Foods

Traveling in the US we haven’t hit as many unfamiliar foods as we would traveling further from home, but we’ve still seen a few “new” things.


Savoury pork mush. Yum!

  • Bulkies: seems to be a large roll or bun in Massachusetts. Can any natives comment?
  • Scrod: a fish we’ve seen on menus around New England but Neil hasn’t tried yet; scrod seems to be either very young cod or “catch of the day,” depending on who you ask.
  • Scrapple: a savory mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and flour, sometimes buckwheat flour. You know anytime you get “savoury” and “mush” juxtaposed you are in for a gourmet treat.

We haven’t just chickened out on new foods!

We have also tried some regional specialties that were special in a good way, and we’re tracking down recipes for those to share with you, like Cheddar Ale Soup from Vermont.

In the meantime, we have a couple of questions for you:

  1. What is the wierdest food you’ve ever eaten while traveling? Share your horror stories!
  2. Over at BearShapedSphere, one of my favourite travel blogs, Eileen writes about the new (to her) potato chip flavours in Chile, and asks her readers about the wierdest chip (or crips) flavours in their countries. The wildest I’ve seen were hedgehog (in the UK) and all the seafood-flavoured chips in Japan. If you have come across some strange flavours where you live, head on over and tell Eileen about your potato chips.
  3. What kind of unique US regional specialties can you recommend that we try? We’ve been known to make detours just to taste really wierd stuff.

If we can find your weird food recommendations (and if they fit my restricted diet), we’ll do our best to try them out as we travel and report back.

And if can’t eat them, I guess that means the duty falls to Neil!

Photo Credit: Creative Commons licensed scrapple photo by Flickr member mandydale.

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14 comments

1 Ian Welsh { 09.13.08 at 1:57 am }

I’ve travelled a lot, but perhaps because most of my first visits were as a kid, the thing that stands out for me the most is a Canadian food – poutine, which is french fries, gravy and cheese curds, all piping hot and mixed together. Never saw it till I went to Ottawa (Canada’s capital), where there are chip trucks all over the city selling it (something you don’t see even in Toronto.)

Never really got the point of it till I was a bike courier one Ottawa winter, when I suddenly found that the thousand odd calories in a single large serving were incredibly satisfying. Tons of carb, lots of fat – just what you need when you’re outside and working hard in -20 degrees celcius (or worse).

2 Neil { 09.13.08 at 6:39 pm }

I like poutine (much to Shaula’s horror). I was looking for a good batch (as opposed to fast-food) in Quebec, but either with something interesting coming along, or the look on Shaula’s face . . . it didn’t seem to happen. . . this time. . .

3 Yvette { 09.15.08 at 7:45 pm }

Neil how could you not know about Scrapple, it is a southern staple. As for the strange foods I am not even going to try to compete with the two of you.

4 Shaula { 09.15.08 at 7:46 pm }

Oh, come on, Yvette. Break a sweat! I’m sure you could come up with some really scary foods if you tried. :)

5 Neil { 09.15.08 at 8:57 pm }

Yvette, I can hear the tone of your voice <g>. The article didn’t say it was all new to both of us. I know scrapple, menudo, tripe, chittlins, haggis, black pudding, spam, mayonnaise . . . lots of things. (I’m not saying I’ve had all of them, but I’ve enjoyed a few.)

6 Andrea { 09.16.08 at 10:30 am }

Just for the record, I actually like Scrapple. I also like fruit cake. I know, weird …

7 Shaula { 09.16.08 at 12:43 pm }

Andrea, you have always clearly been in a league of your own…

Lovely to see you here! Thank you for dropping in. :)

8 Neil { 09.16.08 at 12:58 pm }

I have fond memories of fuitcake =]

The travel trouble is that fruitcake is too dense to x-ray properly, so it can get you a special search at airports. Christmas Pudding—which I also love—can also be indistinguishable from plastic explosives.

9 eileen { 09.18.08 at 7:52 pm }

Thanks for the shout out! I understand lobster rolls are the thing to eat in Massachussets and beyond, but since when I lived there I lived inland, and definitely wasn’t into eating lobster, I can’t speak for them. Good friends swear by them though. They’re essentially lobster salad in a roll.

fair foods come to mind, like funnel cake, but I think that’s made the rounds already.

I wonder what else you’ll find on your trip! They sold scrapple at the grocery store when I lived in DC. I was baffled, truly I was.

(Also, finally got the blogroll up and running, thanks for your patience!)

10 Bas - Istanbul Expat { 09.20.08 at 8:22 am }

I’ve eaten fried grasshoppers once ;-)

That was definitely weird. Though not as weird as escargots or something they have in France called andouillette.

Thanks for submitting this post to the Expat Experience blog carnival. :-)

11 Robert { 12.28.08 at 4:53 pm }

Once when very young I tucked into a fried squirrel’s leg after being convinced by my siblings it was the drumstick off a ‘really tall chicken’

12 Neil { 01.10.09 at 11:56 am }

Squirrel, I’ve had. I was youngish at the time, and what struck me was how the stripped top-halves resembled little jackets. If they had gone into the frier on a little conveyor, it would have resembled a tiny dry-cleaners.

Near the same time, we were also offered possum, rattlesnake, and alligator; but were blocked by a less-than-sure mother.

13 River { 01.31.09 at 12:41 pm }

Poutine is awesome …make it from scratch !!!!!!!!!!!!

14 Karenn { 03.16.11 at 1:53 pm }

Was a guested as a maid of honor in Queens NY by a friend who’s wedding was fully Chinese [okay, slash American] in every way. At the rehearsal dinner our second course was Jellyfish Tenticles, in a tangy sweet sour sauce. Like [neutral] non-celery celery, it was quite yummy and crunchy. No horror story: sorry.

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1 Expat Experience! Edition 1 - Blog Carnival | BasBasBas.com { 10.16.08 at 9:43 am }

[...] Shaula presents Weird Foods posted at Your Mileage May Vary, saying, “As a Canadian from British Columbia traveling in New England, I have found some of the food just as strange and foreign as anywhere I’ve traveled in Europe or Asia.” Below, a picture of something called “scrapple”. [...]