The Unvegan

Recent Posts

Eating Like a Sconnie at Culver’s
Doing the Impossible at The Counter?
Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame 2017
One and Another Citizen Public House

Strange Eats

Strange Eats: Chicken Ovaries

Like an egg, but not.

Sometimes you find yourself walking around the streets of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) late at night trying to find a restaurant that tourists wouldn’t go to. What we found was Le La Quan, a place so local that the people who worked in the restaurant barely spoke a word of English and the menu was only available in Vietnamese.

Street Food Spotlight: Oyster Noodle Soup

Yep, that’s what it is.

Oysters are weirdly popular in Taipei. Or so I think. All I know is that in two nights there I ate more oysters than I ever intended to in my whole life. One of those was in the form of some oyster noodle soup (also known as oyster vermicelli) at the Shilin Night Market, which happens every night and presumably the soup is always there being served by the same lady out of a cart as well.

Street Food Spotlight: Taiwanese Sausage

So full and thick.

I often find it amazing how universal sausage is. It seems like every culture has its own version of tube meat, like all humans have some sort of collective conscience that led us to grind up meat and stuff it inside of an intestine. And while you might think that Taiwanese sausage would basically be the same as Chinese Sausage, you would be wrong.

Street Food Spotlight: Taiwanese Chou Doufu

Toothpick it up.

You may recall that a few years back I paid a visit to Shanghai and had some of their stinky tofu (aka chou doufu in Mandarin). At that time it was pretty much the only variety of stinky tofu I really knew of because I had spent a year living in that city. Stinky tofu, however, seems to come in as many flavors as bread or pasta, with Taiwan claiming one of its own.

Strange Fruits: Dragon Fruit

Or is it a pitaya?

If you saw something like this growing in the wild would your first thought be to eat it? Mine wouldn’t be, but I would regret that decision because this here is a dragon fruit. Originally from the Americas, the dragon fruit has somehow become a fruit much more associated with Southeast Asia. And while it is striking on the outside, it’s even more striking what it looks like on the inside.

Strange Meats: Camel

Whatcha gonna do with all that hump?
Whatcha gonna do with all that hump?

After taking a camel ride in the Sahara, it almost seems wrong to have sought out camel meat in Marrakesh. Yet, that’s exactly what I did because I’m a man of the people and my people are unvegans. I found what looked to be a camel hump in a stall in the Medina and knew I had come to the right place. For those that are wondering, yes that is a hump in the picture and no, the humps are not filled with water. In fact, they are mostly fat.

Street Food Spotlight: Brochettes

My kinda street food.
My kinda street food.

At night in the Djemaa El Fna (Big Square) in Marrakech’s Medina, the street food comes to life. Of course, the place is still full of street performers and snake charmers, but the food looks oh so much better. The only trouble is the insane amount of people working in the stalls that badger you about as hard as possible to stop by their stall. My favorite line, though, was “same shit, different stall.” And he was right, it all looked the same, so I stopped by one to see what they had.

Street Food Spotlight: Khobz Bread Sandwich

The stall with it all.
The stall with it all.

By day, a stall just down the street from my riad (hotel) in Marrakesh was perpetually busy. Not with customers, but with workers grinding beef, putting together sausages and butchering away. It was interesting to watch, but didn’t exactly whet my appetite. Yet, when I returned later that night I found the place bustling with locals jockeying for some food. At this point I knew whatever it was had to be mine.

Strange Meats: Chiavetta’s Chicken

Kinda like a normal chicken.
Kinda like a normal chicken.

Throughout my time in Western New York, I saw a great many signs for “Chicken BBQ.” They would often appear on weekends as fundraisers for churches and the like. Eventually I learned they were using Chiavetta’s Marinade and while the chicken itself was ordinary, I found the existence and cultural phenomenon of Chiavetta’s strange enough to turn Chiavetta’s Chicken into a strange meat.