Ostrich in South Africa
Every once in a while it’s nice to splurge while on vacation. For some, this means splashing out on fancy drinks at a posh hotel in Singapore or a Wagyu steak in Japan. In South Africa, this might mean an ostrich dinner. While it’s in the same family as other commonly consumed birds like chicken, turkey, or even quail, ostrich is a league all of its own. It actually tastes so similar to beef in its coloring and texture, it’s often compared to filet mignon. And, it’s actually leaner—97% fat free, lower in cholesterol, but higher in iron than beef, making it a super healthy option. Ostrich is fairly common on menus in South Africa but it’s worth trying it at a higher-end restaurant to ensure it’s prepared well. Other South African must-try delicacies include biltong—a spiced, dried jerky style meat, chakalaka—a relish made from tomato, onion, and other vegetables.
One of the perks of traveling around South Africa is that there are so many vibrant areas to explore. City life in Johannesburg, beaches in Cape Town, safari in Kruger National Park, and other adventurous opportunities in South Africa where no doubt you’ll meet plenty of local dishes too. It’s worth taking a larger duffel to fit all of the gear you’ll need, plus packing cubes to keep it all organized.
Chicken Feet in Cuba
In many cultures, using every part of the animal in cooking is widely practiced, and avoids wastage. Though chicken feet can be found in the U.S., it’s not really a common dish compared other chicken parts like wings. However, traveling around Cuba afforded me the opportunity to try this unusual treat. Picking through the web of bones to extract what little meat the feet contains takes some skill, but is worth the work as it’s delicious. More of an appetizer or snack, if it’s a full meal you’re after you’ll need a fair amount of feet to feel satiated.
There are plenty of other great dishes to try in Cuba such as yuca con mojo—cooked cassava seasoned and sautéed in bitter orange juice, or vaca frita—marinated and braised skirt steak. A top tip for traveling in Cuba is to pack light with just a carry-on, so you can traverse this island nation more easily.
Witchetty Grubs in Australia
Home to some of the world’s deadliest critters—think cassowaries, crocodiles, and most of the 250 species of spiders, Australia also has plenty of harmless creatures, some of which can be on the tastier side. Witchetty grubs—a larvaewhich feed on Witchetty bushes before becoming moths, are a nutrition-dense, high-protein option eaten by native Aborigines. You can eat them raw or lightly cooked over the barbie (barbecue). If you have texture issues like I do, cooked is much more preferable than raw. You won’t find these grubs on many menus around Australia, but more so in the outback, so your best bet is to leave the procuring to the Aborigine experts and if you see them available, give them a try.
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