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By Julia Dimon, Travel Writer
I’ve eaten a lot of strange things in my travel career. I’ve sucked back shots of cobra blood and bile from a freshly killed snake in Vietnam, snacked on fried grasshopper in Thailand, tasted goat brain in Morocco and sampled a 6-inch scorpion and an entrée of lamb’s penis in China. When traveling, I like to keep an open mind and eat as the locals do, even if that means taking my taste buds to the extreme. In terms of culinary challenges, as weird and as disgusting as these dishes may be, I’m open to trying anything cultural.
That said, I will admit that I hesitated when presented with the ‘toe-pertunity’ to try the Sour Toe cocktail. At the Sourdough Saloon in Dawson City's Downtown Hotel, they serve up a bizarre brew that combines Yukon Jack whiskey and an unlikely garnish: a severed, pickled human toe. This strange tradition was created more than 30 years ago by Captain Dick, a local entrepreneur who saw an opportunity to profit from selling shots -- complete with an amputated, frostbitten toe from some unfortunate miner -- to adventurous customers. More than 65,000 people have tried this drink, joined the club, received certificates and proven themselves to be “real Yukoners.”
I wanted to add my name to that growing list, but despite a long travel history of eating creepy crawlies from around the world, this time I felt squeamish. I watched as the bartender poured me an ounce of turpentine-esque whiskey, took the cherished toe from a wooden chest and plunked it into my drink. I was warned about the $250 fine if I ate or swallowed the toe. The goal is for the toe to touch the lips, not to actually swallow the thing. I looked at him incredulously. Apparently, the original toe had been chewed, bitten in half, stolen, accidentally thrown out and eventually swallowed. The toe in my glass was toe No. 8, donated as a result of a lawnmower accident. As I stared into my cup, I thought about the health risks. How unfortunate would it be to get a communicable disease from a cocktail with a stranger’s body part in it? How would I explain that one to the doctors? I put faith in my immune system and slugged back the infamous drink. The whiskey went down smoothly, while the toe stuck to the bottom of the glass. I gave it a gentle tap and it lurched forward slamming against the front of my lips. I grimaced in disgust, as I slammed the glass back on the bar table.
“There are strange things done in the midnight sun, by the men who moil for gold.” This chilling line, from "The Cremation of Sam McGee," was always a bit of a mystery to me, but after my trip to Dawson City, I finally understand what kind of strangeness poet Robert Service was talking about.
For more about the Sour Toe cocktail and other weird foods from around the world, check out the new Bing Travel Slide Show, 11 Weirdest Foods You'll Ever Eat on Vacation.
What are the strangest things you've ever eaten? Tell us by adding a comment below.
I went to China on 2009, and I ended up eating horse without knowing it. I thought it was beef and then they told me what it really was. :S
This was not in a travel, but in Puerto Rico they eat pig intestines filled with rice and the pig's blood. Gross!
In Korea, I have eaten fried grasshoppers which are real good with some cold beer. I have also eaten dog soup while there, in addition to pig intestines, and "hangover soup" (haejungkuk) consisting of coagulated pig blood, In China, I had stir-fried vegetables with scopions.
I've eaten roasted beatles and sauteed crickets in the Philippines. The first is called "salagubang" and the last is called "susohong." Taste like sundried chicken!
My friend Emily has done busiiness with me all over the world & was impressed with how I eat so many different foods without batting an eye. I was different from her other American friends. While in Taiwan she wanted me to eat something with her that I had never had before. After we looked at the menu she asked if I had ever had octopus eyeballs? I quickly recognized that if I said yes, then she would pick something else from the menue. I proptly said no & a little later on we were sharing a bowl of fried things. They go good with beer.
Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia: Hormigas culos grandes, Big Ass Ants, fry these babies up add a little lime, salt and cilantro. Street corner snack or processed and available at the store. Yummmmm!
Near Mexico City, we ate ant larvae, and it was delicious. Then we had a plate of fresh from the agave caterpillars in a light butter sauce. Not the tastiest thing. In southern Mexico, you can get pan fried red crickets. Not bad if you don't mind salty food.
Traveling to ameica i was served un-cooked salmon onboard the plane. when was like 10 years old I ate roasted cricket
strangest thig i've ever eaten is "humble pie"
I've had raw horse in Japan on multiple occasions...very tasty!! Also, raw beef liver in a Korean BBQ place in Tokyo
I tasted lama when visiting Argentina a couple of years ago... but the weirdest were gigantic ants in Brazil!
i've tried fried grass hopers in Mai Chau,Vietnam
Rat sandwiches in Can Tho, Viet Nam.
Thailand is the top country for eatting strange things.
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