Strange Things I Have Put In My Mouth
Posted: Nov 1, 2003 10:26:14 PM
When you go travelling, there are several things that everyone says you have to do. Go out into the back streets and little towns and meet the local people. Learn a few words of the local language. And, of course, try the local cuisine.
These can be dangerous. My experiences meeting the locals have met with mixed success (ref: the friendly underground dwellers of Hong Kong), my attempts to communicate have proven variable at best (ref: my mime conversation with the Turkish police), and as for the food...
The pickled herring in Oslo was a mistake, I think. It's a traditional Norwegian dish, but I'm not a big seafood fan, and the herring had a very very strong fishy taste.
Probably not the best thing to have for breakfast.
On the other hand, I have enjoyed searching for the eponymous foods of Europe: the ones named after particular localities. So the Yorkshire pudding in York was nice (although my mother makes better), the danish in Denmark was delicious, the hamburger in Hamburg was not too bad given that the hamburger was actually invented by migrants in America, and when I arrived at Berlin station my wonderful host in Germany - posting here as Captain Roberto T. Fruitbat (don't ask) - met me with a very tasty berliner (a type of jelly donut).
The funny thing is that many of these places don't know them by that name. A berliner in Berlin is called Pfannkuchen. In Copenhagen a danish is a Wienerbrot, which translates as 'Viennese bread'. Sharing the blame, I guess.
Anyway, I have subsisted on junk food in all the most expensive destinations to keep the costs down. In London I lived almost exclusively on Subway sandwiches, although I did have my first sushi at one point. In Scandinavia I had most meals on the street, having purchased a frankfurter from one of the small stands that appear on every single block. Appropriate, given that I spent much of my time in Scandinavia on the street (ref: the previous report).
Roskilde, Stockholm, and Oslo were fantastic places to visit, but I'd need too much room to describe all of the fantastic sights and experiences of my week-long lightning tour, so I'll just say that the Kon Tiki looks a lot larger live than it does in pictures, and that the Vasa Museum is perhaps one of the best museums I've been to so far.
Berlin is wonderful, and thanks to the fact that it is rather cheaper than London and the north I have had a chance to try some interesting food. Yesterday it was eel sushi, at the behest of my host, and it was surprisingly nice. Today several people came up from Leipzig and surrounds (including the delightful Lian who has been posting in the comments area), so we decided to try something ... different.
Yes, for once the subtitle of the report is mostly accurate: we went to a restaurant that has grasshoppers, grubs, and locusts on the menu. Yes, honestly. See)! Fruitbat and I ordered locusts on a bed of Indian curry and cous cous, and ate them all. I know that some of you are squirming at the thought. An excellent feed, although rather chewy, and now I have quite a sore throat. However, I think this is because of all the talking I have done over the last few days (if you've met me you understand), rather than the locusts.
We had great fun, and I'll be having one more day of fun in Berlin before I set out for the next stop: Prague and the Czech Republic. Perhaps there's something disgusting I can eat there.
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