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Foods That Even The Locals Don't Like?

Discussion in 'Food & Drinks' started by amelia88, Feb 26, 2016.

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  1. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    I'm very curious and intrigued by food and food culture when I travel. Sometimes, I've visited countries where there are particular traditional foods that even some of the locals don't like. My striking memory of that is Japan, where there is a food called Natto which is fermented soybeans. They stink, they're stringy and goopy, and about 50% of the population love them and 50% hate them, according to my Japanese friends I made when traveling there.

    So I'm wanting to know about India and their food - is there anything that is traditionally Indian, but that Indian people aren't that fond of?
     
  2. CityLites

    CityLites New Member

    Yes! By all means! A strong 'acquired taste' in India is the bitter gourd, or the karela in Hindi. The scientific name is Momordica charantia, if that helps you find it on the internet; and it's known for being difficult to eat. Recently, some of my family in India decided to lose weight by replacing the vegetable dish twice a week with Karela Sabzi, the idea being bitter gourd is so unpalatable that my cousins and aunts will curtail their eating habits. In the Northeast (i.e. Assam), they grow a type of hemp plant for eating. While the preparation is similar to collard or mustard greens, the hemp maintains an incredibly strong bitter taste, far more than kale/chard/arugula/collards. I personally had to force myself to eat it, but the natives absolutely adored the flavor and looked down on spinach as boring.

    I'm sure there are other examples of foods that Indians are divided on; particularly between young and older generations. The traditional Indian palate is much more accepting of strong bitter flavors than a westernized palate, and this dichotomy is really starting to show as Indian millennials who grow up with more western influences on their eating habits have a hard time eating these traditional foods.
     
    Elaine Lat, amelia88 and Admin like this.
  3. Startlet245

    Startlet245 New Member

    This is an interesting topic. Amelia, did you know the the bitter gourd City Lites mentions is the Okinawan goya - another love-hate food in Japan.
     
  4. CityLites

    CityLites New Member

    Coincidentally, it turns out the gourd has a stabilizing effect on diabetics and blood sugar. It looks like my family members might be on to something in regards to the bitter gourd weight loss plan.
     
    Chahal likes this.
  5. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    Oh they're the same thing?! I have been to Okinawa before - it's a beautiful vacation spot!! I have never tried the gourd there before! I've seen it though and it's such an unusual looking thing!! I can imagine why it would be an acquired taste if it's quite bitter!
     
    Chahal likes this.
  6. CityLites

    CityLites New Member

    Yeah, as far as looks go, they don't win any beauty pageants. They're basically what a witches nose wants to grow up to be like. A shared trend between acquired tastes tends to be bitterness (i.e. coffee, bitter gourd) or 'funkiness' i.e. cheese, natto).
     
  7. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    My brother grew one in his garden. It cross pollinated with a black tigerbark melon, and was perhaps the worst monstrosity of a plant I have seen. Melons can very easily cross pollinate, which makes it hard to grow multiple varieties so close. But the outcomes can be quite interesting. I had wanted to taste the bitter gourd in its natural flavor, but no longer have any interest based upon what he grew.
     
  8. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    In the same vein of bitter melon, is durian fruit popular in India? I tried it in Malaysia and the scent and taste made me queasy! Wondering if it's popular at all there!
     
  9. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    There was durian growing on my property when I got it. It was the only thing I got rid of. I can't stand it. I think I would prefer the pickled whale blubber from Iceland over durian, and that is a strange and unsatisfying experience.
     
  10. CityLites

    CityLites New Member

    I had never seen durian in India, but I've seen plenty of Jackfruit. As far as I can tell, Jackfruit is basically identical to durian, but without the strong objectionable smell. It also, believe it or not, fries up really well to make vegan carnitas. I don't understand why people continue to eat durian when there's basically a strictly improved version available in the region.
     
  11. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    I eat jackfruit when I go to Brazil. They use it commonly in icecream. Many of the street vendors sell homemade varieties of icecream with all the flavors of fruits available. It can seem a little dubious, but if you find a place you trust it can be delicious.
     
  12. CityLites

    CityLites New Member

    I find that the most important thing with street food is to know that you have the intestinal flora for it. When I go to India, if it's for less than a week I'll avoid street food at all costs. If it's longer, I'll go out and get stuffed on street stuff; become violently ill and then get better over three or four days. Then, I won't have to abstain from eating when I'm out and about.
     
  13. arthnel

    arthnel Member

    I've had jackfruit too and I must agree in not yet hanging too well with the smell. It does not smell all that bad but it gives a queasy kind of feeling. Sad to say I would not find myself buying one to say take home and try to pare it up for consumption. I simply would not know where to begin and what to leave out. So when I went to the market I just had the vendor happily share out the good pieces for me to take and eat. The seeds are very good to when dry roasted. They taste a lot like roasted cashews.
     
  14. Elaine Lat

    Elaine Lat Member


    Funny thing is, I used to detest bitter gourd when I was a kid. I have only started eating this two years ago when my relatives came to stay. Yes, it is bitter but it's not so bitter that it's practically unpalatable. Perhaps it's the way it was cooked? Squeezing out the excess juice using a net will lessen the bitterness. I'd usually eat it stewed but I would sometimes add a little bit of spicy vinegar to it. Also, it will help aid digestion, lower the risk of diabetes and being a vegetable alone can aid in weight loss.
     
  15. Elaine Lat

    Elaine Lat Member

    Are you quite sure it's a jackfruit or maybe you're referring to durian? Jackfruit actually has a pleasant aroma that I've always like. The fruit is even better. It tends to be sticky because of the sap but the taste is actually mild and sweet.
     
  16. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    I think he meant durian. Even Adrew Zimmern hates durian, and he eats just about anything. I find it very unpalatable, and dislike the smell. To me, it is somewhat like rotting garbage, but others like it well enough. Jackfruit is great. I sometimes get jackfruit ice cream in Brazil.
     
  17. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    At the end if the day, its all going to come down to a matter if a person's individual taste, and that won't have anything to do with what country your born in, or your culture.

    Some English people don't like certain English foods, just as some Indians won't like Indian foods, and its just a matter of finding what you do like.
     
  18. OursIsTheFury

    OursIsTheFury Member

    I think really spicy food is an acquired taste everywhere. Nobody wants the burning sensation in their mouth, even more so when it goes down to their stomach and creating havoc there for the next few hours. Lots of food in India could count as really spicy, and I guess it's not for everyone. I do love them, but you can also get sick of them if you eat them everyday, so I guess that's how some of the locals feel when I claim that I love their spicy food. There isn't enough water in the world for some of these amazing local dishes, and that's the way I like them.
     

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