Wasabi Ice Cream: the cure and cause of a burning tongue!

Sushi lovers around the world know wasabi as the thick, green paste that adds pungent heat to their nigiri, sashimi and uramaki. Wasabi, or Japanese horseradish, has a unique mustard-like taste. In its highest-quality form, it is freshly grated while, most often, it’s sold as a powder or paste. But, with its vapours strong enough to wake up the sleeping or the unconscious, could wasabi really work in ice cream? Unlike the oil-based Capsaicin-heat of chile peppers, the burning sensation of wasabi is short-lived. Fused into a sweet ice cream,…

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The “ballsiest” soup in the Philippines: Soup No. 5

We are in the Philippines. Here Soup Number Five is well-known, as are its purported aphrodisiac and healing properties. Originally served by roadside eateries, some men even believe that eating it will give them the virility of a bull: Cebuanos know it as “lanciao” and is believed to give the physical attributes of the animal to anyone willing to take a sip. Or, at least, increase their libido even if, nutrition-wise, a serving of Soup no. 5 gives less zinc (the mineral which increases libido) when cooked. According to others,…

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Here is the story behind the Leidse Koffie!

In the Dutch city of Leiden, coffee comes in an alternative way: it begins with a base of black brew and then it gets a dash of cinnamon liqueur, usually topped off with a nice dollop of whipped cream. Now quite popular in the city, the spiced drink was born from a happenstance discovery and a very creative restaurant owner. Leidse koffie originated in Restaurant de Gaanderij in the early 1980s. Before Peter van de Hoorn bought it in 1982, the monumental building from 1558 was home to the distillery…

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Wildschönauer Krautinger: Austria’s Turnip Schnapps

The union of Alpbach and the Wildschönau, an Austrian community in the Kufstein district of Tyrol, has created one of Austria’s prettiest and friendliest ski areas. Relatively low-cost, Ski Juwel is a place to target if you don’t like touristic places of the big-name resorts. But this isn’t the only feature of the area. In Wildschönau Valley locals have been distilling a strong turnip liquor called Wildschönauer Krautinger as far back as the 1700s, when Habsburg empress Maria Theresa granted 51 area farmers the exclusive distillery rights. And about 15/16…

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Quintessential Grilled Cheese: the world’s most expensive sandwich

Priced at an outstanding $214, Quintessential Grilled Cheese has held the the record for the world’s most expensive commercially-available sandwich for over seven years. And you could say that New York-based restaurant Serendipity 3 is specialized in setting food-related Guinness records. It currently holds several world records, including most expensive dessert, most expensive hot dog, largest wedding cake and largest cup of hot chocolate. But also the record for world’s most expensive sandwich, which happens to be just a humble grilled cheese treat. Named Quintessential Grilled Cheese, it is deceptively…

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Will Rogers: the inventor who created machine that turns beer and spirits into soft-serve Ice Cream

The innovative Below Zero ice cream machine uses a unique technique to freeze alcohol, which allows you to turn beers, cocktails and even spirits into delicious soft-serve ice cream. If getting drunk on ice cream it was a dream, now thanks to Will Rogers, inventor and owner of WDS Dessert Stations in Hinkley, Illinois, it has become a reality. The man, who runs his own ice cream shop, was trying to create a highly-caffeinated espresso ice cream flavor when he realized he could use the same technique with alcoholic beverages.…

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The Golden Boy: world’s most expensive burger that costs 5.000€

The Golden Boy, a delicacy made with 100 percent Wagyu A5, Beluga caviar, king crab, white truffle, among other premium ingredients, has broken the record for world’s most expensive burger, with a price of about 5,000 euros ($6,000). The burger was created by Robbert Jan de Veen, owner of Dutch restaurant De Daltons, who came up with the idea while sitting in his restaurant pretending to get some work done. It seems that, as he browsed the internet to pass the time, he stumbled over the previous record for the…

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Goong Ten: the Dancing Shrimp of Thailand

In the Northeast Thailand region of Isaan along the Mekong River, local cooks often serve meat raw, doused in a spicy, salty, sour marinade of chili, fish sauce, and lime. People in this region have an affair with things that are prepared raw: beef, pork, shrimp, fish, and other meats that are cooked elsewhere in the world, here can be found in their naturally squirming or bloody form. However, street vendors sometimes take the uncooked element one step further, selling a dish known as Goong Ten ( กุ้งเต้น ), which…

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Sad Jelly Noodles: the spicy street food that has a reputation for making people cry.

Anyone brave enough to enjoy a mound of shangxin liangfen, which literally means “Sad Jelly Noodle”, or “heartbreak jelly” should expect to cry. Yes. Cry. Street vendors popularized these translucent noodles, made from green bean starch and hot water, or sweet potato starch, throughout the Sichuan province of China. Despite It was rumoured that this dish was made by a person who missed home, isn’t jelly that makes these delicacy “sad”, but the heap of hot chili peppers and oil that covers them. Either way, everyone eaters seems to agree…

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Death Noodles: a Jakarta hole-in-the-wall serves what may be the world’s spiciest noodles!

Some foods become legendary. But if we speak about the so called “Death Noodles”, the legend went viral on the web when one man, Ben Sumadiwiria, claimed he went deaf for two minutes after enjoying a plate of it. His YouTube channel features several additional videos of he and his friends chowing down on noodle bowls that make literally their skin flush and their eyes water. Apparently, nothing strange, as the base of the intense dish is quite innocuous: Indomie noodles, a type of instant spiced noodles made in Indonesia.…

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Amalia Eriksson: the trailblazing Swedish businesswoman who created a beloved minty candy called polkagris.

It was 1859, when a new confection emerged on the market in the small town of Gränna, Sweden. It was a hard, minty candy with whimsical red and white stripes. Called polkagris, it soon became one popular and beloved sweet. The treat was the work of Amalia Eriksson, born in 1824 and grew up in Gränna, who ended up marrying a tailor. The poor woman was only 34 years old when became a widow shortly after giving birth to her daughter Ida. Her husband died in dysentery only four days…

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Cheese Tea: bitter, sweet, and salty collide in this cool Asian treat.

Cheese tea is iced tea, often black, matcha, or oolong, that gets topped with a foamy mixture of cream cheese, whipping cream, milk, and salt. It’s true, the concept sounds horrible, but in this case, the cheese topping is more like a thick layer of creamy, salted foam that tops each drink, that found a fanbase among the late-night crowd. The trend then spread to Asian countries and apparently it had its roots from China. A few years ago, HEYTEA (喜茶) (previously known as Royaltea (皇茶) ) claimed to have…

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Bao Bing: the sweet treat that has been cool for more than 1,000 years

When Richard Nixon visited Beijing in 1972, he ate shaved ice, locally know as bao bing, with Mao Zedong during a state dinner. Bao bing (pronounced bow-BING) has been a ubiquitous part of Asian cuisine for hundreds of years, and it’s been traced back to China as early as the seventh century A.D. There is nothing more cooling in the heat of summer than enjoying into an ice-based dessert. Made with thin sheets of ice covered in sweet, Southeast Asian toppings, bao bing is as visually stunning to first-time tasters.…

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Kissel: the dessert that’s also a meal

Depending on the person you ask and what part of Eastern Europe he hails from, kissel is either a thick juice, a dessert soup, or a gelatinous porridge. Just one thing is certain: it is a veritable medley of forest-born ingredients and a constant presence at the dessert table. Traditionally, Kissel is a soft, fruit-based dessert, generally made from berries, sugar and either cornstarch or potato starch. Its name comes from the Russian word “kisliy” meaning ‘sour,’ because sour fruits are traditionally favored. Its recipe varies from country to country,…

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Pine Cone Preserves: a sweet jam made from soft young cones believed to have health benefits in Russia and Georgia.

Aside from their decorating uses, especially in Christmas season, pinecones play an important role in nature and, like all plant parts, they have a very specific function in the plant world. Generally they serve as a protective cover for pine nuts, (a key ingredient in pesto!). Pine cones and pine trees belong to a group of plants called gymnosperms and date back to prehistoric times. There are a group of plants who have naked seeds, not enclosed in an ovary and the main function of a pine cone is to…

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Osteria Senz’Oste: the utopistic restaurant without waiters or chefs in Veneto, Italy

Italy is known as a gourmet country with a variety of foodie destination, and you can enjoy lots of different dining experiences, some conventional and others more unique and unusual. If you have decided a vacation in Veneto region and you are planning on enjoying some culinary experiences in the area, then you should visit the so-called Osteria senz’Oste. Its name literally means, “restaurant without hosts” and they aren’t kidding. This restaurant offers a very unique dining experience, as it does not have any chefs or waiters present. To get…

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Yin and Yang Fish: a controversial dish that’s both dead and alive

Yin and Yang Fish is a controversial dish where the body of a fish is cooked, while the head is kept fresh. From fish that smells like a public toilet, to a cheese as hard as rock, or a fish-head-stuffed pie, the world is full of weird foods, but few dishes can be described as truly disturbing. Reportedly, it was invented in the early 2000s by a restauranteur in Chiayi City, Taiwan. Yin and Yang fish, also known as “dead and alive fish”, is definitely not a dish for the…

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So, Japan’s 1,000-year-old cheese that’s back in fashion due to COVID-19 pandemic

A year ago, on February 27, 2020, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe requested that all schools in Japan shut down until early April to stop the spread of COVID-19. And of course, by the following week, most schools across the country shuttered their doors. However, one of the biggest buyers of Japanese agricultural products is the school lunch program, which feeds elementary and middle school students across the whole country. To clarify, around 10% of all domestic food production goes to school lunch, which usually emphasizes local or domestic products and,…

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Tateishi Burger Vending Machine: a charming, homemade vending machine that dispenses burgers at this hole-in-the-wall bakery

There are vending machines for books, jeans, salmon, pecan pies, a vending machine to support mourners during funerals, so it’s only natural that vending machine burgers would pop up somewhere. And that somewhere is Japan. Since it first opened in 2000, Tateishi Burger has been a favorite of those who enjoy oddities, which are known in Japan as “B-spots.” Located in a Tokyo’s quiet neighborhood, its raggedy façade may not lure in a lot of passersby, but it never ceases to attract “B-spot enthusiasts” from around the country. It’s about…

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Cascatelli: the ideally shaped pasta you probably didn’t even know existed

Inspired by the firm belief that spaghetti is far from the ideal shape for pasta, a man set out to create a perfectly shaped pasta. The result of his hard work is now known as “cascatelli”. Their story began in 2018, when Dan Pashman, the host of the James Beard and Webby Award-winning “Sporkful” podcast, made some harsh remarks about spaghetti, on the stage of the Caveat Theater, in front of a live audience. His comments got a lot of attention and inspired him to dedicate a lot of his…

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Jeppson’s Malört: the world’s worst tasting liquor?

If you’re not into liquors and probably all taste bad for you, there’s a particular liquor that, apparently, everyone agrees tastes horrible. It’s called malört and, over the years, it has been compared to battery acid, pesticide and gasoline. Carl Jeppson Co., a Chicago company, has built a minor social media empire around malort’s “brutal” flavor. Although Jeppson’s Malört is most often associated with the American city of Chicago, its roots are in Sweden, where where “malört” is the word for “wormwood”, a weedy plant that’s also the key ingredient…

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A Moldy-Looking Bun or a Creamy Delicacy?

Photos of a moldy-looking bun sold on Chinese online marketplace Taobao have been getting a lot of attention on Asian social media recently, because of its unappetizing appearance: matcha and cheese bun that looks a few months past its expiration date. Underneath its light brown exterior, the treat has a light green appearance that looks just like the food mold that develops on old bread. Only it’s worse than that, as squeezing the bun causes the green matcha and cheese mixture to ooze out of it! Photos of the unusual…

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Cheese Zombies: the Yakima Valley’s beloved school lunch that takes grilled cheese to the next level.

In the late 1950s, a school district in Washington’s Yakima Valley received an excess of subsidized cheese. Faced with this unexpected abundance, not wanting it to go to waste, the food services supervisor (or, according to other stories, a local cafeteria cook) invented a new sandwich that soon appeared on menus: the so-called Cheese Zombie, essentially a grilled cheese cake that’s baked with fresh dough. Needless to say, it was an instant hit. “Zombie”-makers begin by placing cheese slices between rolled-out sheets of dough. Before placing the huge sandwich into…

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Kuli-Kuli: crunchy peanuts snacks from Nigeria

We are in Nigeria. Kuli-kuli is a popular local snack made from crushed peanuts, a popular crop in several West African countries. High in protein and fat, groundnut-based foods such as kuli-kuli provide an inexpensive option for a quick and satiating snack. Kuli-kuli originated in Northern Nigeria, but is now widely enjoyed throughout the country and across Benin, Northern Cameroon, and Ghana. Often referred to as groundnut cakes or groundnut chips, the snacks come in an array of shapes and sizes, from round balls, square flat shapes, cylindrical shapes or…

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Jacu Bird Coffee: from bird poop to a one of the world’s rarest and most expensive coffee varieties

Jacu Bird Coffee is one of the world’s rarest (and most expensive) coffee varieties. It is made from coffee cherries ingested, digested and excreted by Jacu birds. At around 50 hectares, the Camocim Estate is one of the smallest coffee plantations in Brazil, but it still manages to rake it quite a nice profit thanks to a very unique type of coffee. It all started in the early 2000s, when Henrique Sloper de Araújo found that his precious plantations had been overrun by Jacu birds, an endangered, pheasant-like bird species,…

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Escamol: the ants caviar of Mexico

Escamol is an ancient dish made with the edible larvae and pupae of two species of ants, known for its nutty, buttery flavor and It has been consumed in Mexico since the time of the Aztecs. Commonly known as “Mexican caviar” because of its similarity to the popular fish eggs, escamol consists larvae and pupae of ants belonging to the Liometopum apiculatum and L. occidentale, two species native to some semi-arid areas of Mexico and the southern United States. Its origins can be traced back hundreds of years, back to…

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Perro Caliente: you might not even see the hot dog beneath this pile of potato chips, sauce, and quail eggs!

In Colombia, fast-food restaurants and street-food vendors invent all kinds of sauces and dressings to keep their customers coming back for more. And, curious fact, their creativity to come up with all those unusual sauces is really amazing, and it’s what people, tourists or not, love the most. For those accustomed to seeing their regular hot dogs adorned with a simple strip of ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise, perro caliente might destabilize also most expert eaters. First, you notice the layer of crumbled potato chips. Then there’s the criss-crossing drizzles of…

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Ice Cream Loti (Singapore Ice Cream Sandwich): take the name of this street food literally!

Rainbow Bread? Yes. Rainbow Bread. With ice cream? With ice cream. Admit it, you want this. It’s been pretty well established by now that ice cream is a tricky food to eat, especially in hot (very hot) summer days. And, in most of world, options are pretty limited: cup or cone. But travel around the world and you’ll discover that other cultures have mastered the art of ice-cream-eating. In Singapore, for istance. Outside schools and on street corners with high foot traffic, it is common to see vendors that sell…

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Ice Cream Burrito: the deceptive, sweet-and-savory snack of Taipei’s night markets.

We are in Taipei. Tucked deep into local night markets, vendors disguise scoops of ice cream as a savory snack. Customarily, Taiwanese cooks fill their flour crepes with pork, cabbage, and ground peanuts to make a traditional roll called run bing. However, street hawkers use the same wrap to swathe a sweet-and-savory treat. To assemble, the vendor lays out a flour crepe and shaves fine pieces of peanut brittle over it from a wooden tool which is used to shave the peanut candy block. On top, he adds three scoops…

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Anno Distillers: world’s strongest Gin that comes with a beaker and very specific mixing instructions

UK-based Anno Distillers recently launched what it calls the “world’s strongest gin”, a spirit so strong that it comes with a small beaker for precise dosing, as well as clear mixing instructions. With a 95% ABV, it is definitely not meant to be enjoyed straight up, not unless you want to feel what it’s like to set your mouth on fire. Instead, its creators recommend it served as a “light G&T,” using only 5ml of spirit, tonic water and a slice of grapefruit as garnish. To help you with those…

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