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Lose yourself in travel and eat like a local – including the exotic stuff

Hands up if you pack instant noodles in your luggage for those nights when you are craving some Asian comfort food. We totally understand – as long as that’s not all you are eating when overseas.

Eating and drinking what the locals consume is one of the best ways to learn about a country’s culture and #findyourself – even if it means trying some weird and whacky fare. If you are game to step out of your culinary comfort zone, we have five exotic dishes to recommend from around the world.

Balut

Commonly found in: Manila, The Philippines

Exotic level: 10/10

This will not be a legitimate list on exotic food without including balut, a fertilised duck egg with a partly developed embryo – complete with eyes, feathers and bones. It might look terrifying but balut is said to taste like a more flavourful version of chicken soup with some crunchy bits.

 

Eat it at: Quiapo Market, F-R. Hidalgo St, Quiapo, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

Nearby hotels in Manila:

Luxe: Pan Pacific Manila

Cosy: Best Western Hotel La Corona Manila

Emu steak

Commonly found in: Australia

Exotic level: 8/10

Many of us know of emus as the second-largest living bird, but here’s another fun fact: Australians have been consuming emu meat for thousands of years now. The meat of the animal is similar in texture and taste to beef but considered to be a healthier, low-fat alternative.

 

Eat it at: The Meat & Wine Co, Shop 12, Lobby, InterContinental Sydney, 117 Macquarie Street, Sydney

Nearby hotels in Sydney:

Luxe: InterContinental Sydney

Cosy: The Grace Hotel

 

Escamoles

Commonly found in: Mexico

Exotic level: 9.5/10

Who knew that ants could produce the ‘caviar of the Mexican desert’? Escamoles are the pupae and larvae of ants found underneath the agave plants in the arid regions of Mexico. The prized local delicacy resembles pine nuts with a texture akin to cottage cheese, and has a nutty flavor.

 

Eat it at: Restaurante El Cardenal, Calle de la Palma 23, Centro Histórico, Mexico City

Nearby hotels in Mexico City:

Luxe: Gran Hotel Ciudad De Mexico

Cosy: Sheraton Mexico City Maria Isabel Hotel

 

Haggis

Commonly found in: Scotland

Exotic level: 9.5/10

You haven’t had a taste of Scotland till you have tried haggis, the country’s national dish that might look like a puddle of well … we will let you decide for yourselves. Haggis is essentially a deconstructed sausage with a crumbly texture and hearty, peppery flavour. It is composed of sheep’s pluck (its heart, liver and lungs) minced with onions, salt, spices and oatmeal.

 

Eat it at: The Café Royal, Circle Bar, 19 West Register Street, Edinburgh

Nearby hotels in Edinburgh:

Luxe: Old Town Chambers

Cosy: Fountain Court Apartments – Braid

 

Chicha Morada

Commonly found in: Peru

Exotic level: 8/10

Embark on a hunt for the thirst-quenching chichi morada, a non-alcoholic purplish-black drink that is made using the lesser-known purple corn, which originates from Mesoamerica. The corn is boiled and mixed with pineapple, cinnamon, cloves and sugar.

 

Drink it fresh at: Mercado Central, Jirón Huallaga, Lima, Peru

Nearby hotels in Lima:

Luxe: The Westin Lima Hotel & Convention Center

Cosy: Foresta Hotel Lima

 

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