The Omnivore’s Hundred

The Omnivore’s Hundred is an eclectic and entirely subjective list of 100 items that Andrew Wheeler, co-author of the British food blog Very Good Taste, thinks every omnivore should try at least once in his life.

He offered this list as the starting point for a game, along the following rules:
1. Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten (I’ve used icons instead, and added an asterisk for the items I’m particularly fond of).
3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4. Optional extra: post a comment on Very Good Taste, linking to your results.

[Update: In response to the numerous questions his list raised, Andrew published an FAQ explaining the how, the why, and the wherefore.]

My list is below; I am missing 37 items, most of which I’d be happy to try if given the opportunity. There are a few that I wouldn’t rush to eat, but none that I couldn’t swallow if someone’s life, honor, and/or feelings were at stake.

And of course, if you don’t have a blog, you can still play along, with a good old pencil and some paper — care to share your results? And/or items you think should be added to, or removed from that list?

 1. Venison*
 2. Nettle tea (does nettle soup count?)
 3. Huevos rancheros (eaten in El Paso, Texas)
 4. Steak tartare* (my favorite brasserie dish)
 5. Crocodile (I did, however, eat fried alligator in Key Largo, Florida)
 6. Black pudding* (in the form of boudin noir, boudin antillais, or boudin de langue)
 7. Cheese fondue (I even own a fondue pot)
 8. Carp
 9. Borscht
 10. Baba ghanoush*
 11. Calamari*
 12. Phở (usually eaten in the Belleville neighborhood in Paris)
 13. PB&J sandwich (I had one during my first trip to the US when I was 15; I did not quite understand its appeal)
 14. Aloo gobi
 15. Hot dog from a street cart (but I hope to hit Dogmatic Dogs sometime)
 16. Epoisses*
 17. Black truffle
 18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (I like plum wines from Alsace)
 19. Steamed pork buns*
 20. Pistachio ice cream* (I heart pistachio gelato)
 21. Heirloom tomatoes
 22. Fresh wild berries* (we pick wild strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries in the Vosges every summer)
 23. Foie gras
 24. Rice and beans
 25. Brawn, or head cheese
 26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (I’m not sure I see the point)
 27. Dulce de leche* (the real thing from Argentina, or its French cousin called confiture de lait)
 28. Oysters
 29. Baklava*
 30. Bagna cauda
 31. Wasabi peas*
 32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (I had it on touristy Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco years ago; it wasn’t great)
 33. Salted lassi (I’ve had rose or mango; I think I’d like the salted version)
 34. Sauerkraut
 35. Root beer float (root beer tastes like cough syrup to me, so I’d rather not have it in my dessert)
 36. Cognac with a fat cigar (I can’t take much more than a sip and a puff, but hey)
 37. Clotted cream tea*
 38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
 39. Gumbo (eaten in New Orleans)
 40. Oxtail (mostly in terrine form)
 41. Curried goat
 42. Whole insects (I would try them, but they’d have to be dead, and cooked)
 43. Phaal (I’d try a forkful, but wouldn’t order it for myself)
 44. Goat’s milk (I’m not a fan of milk in general, so I prefer it in yogurt or faisselle form)
 45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/€80/$120 or more (I’d have a sip, but I don’t really like whisky, so it might be lost on me)
 46. Fugu (I don’t think I’d take the risk)
 47. Chicken tikka masala
 48. Eel* (I’ve only ever had it in sushi)
 49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut* (they opened a branch in Mountain View, California when we lived there)
 50. Sea urchin* (again, chiefly in sushi)
 51. Prickly pear
 52. Umeboshi (I’ve recently bought a jar, but have yet to open it)
 53. Abalone (caution: it’s overfished)
 54. Paneer
 55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (I was a teenager once)
 56. Spaetzle* (we buy fresh ones in Alsace, and I even made my own a few years ago)
 57. Dirty gin martini
 58. Beer above 8% ABV
 59. Poutine (but if I ever make it to Montreal, I’ll try it)
 60. Carob chips (I have an aversion to the taste of carob)
 61. S’mores (well, I’ve had Michael Recchiuti’s fancy version)
 62. Sweetbreads* (my favorite offal of all)
 63. Kaolin (again, I’m not sure I see the point)
 64. Currywurst
 65. Durian (I’ve had durian-flavored tapioca pudding, but not the fruit itself)
 66. Frogs’ legs* (recipe here)
 67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
 68. Haggis
 69. Fried plantain*
 70. Chitterlings, or andouillette* (oh yes)
 71. Gazpacho*
 72. Caviar and blini
 73. Louche absinthe
 74. Gjetost, or brunost
 75. Roadkill (I think I’d be so horrified I’d lose my appetite)
 76. Baijiu
 77. Hostess Fruit Pie (not really interested)
 78. Snail* (yum)
 79. Lapsang souchong* (I love anything smoked, and tea is no exception)
 80. Bellini
 81. Tom yum
 82. Eggs Benedict
 83. Pocky (I grew up eating its French twin, the mikado)
 84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant*
 85. Kobe beef
 86. Hare
 87. Goulash
 88. Flowers
 89. Horse
 90. Criollo chocolate*
 91. Spam (I receive a lot of it, though)
 92. Soft shell crab*
 93. Rose harissa (I eat harissa frequently, but have never come across the rose variety)
 94. Catfish
 95. Mole poblano
 96. Bagel and lox
 97. Lobster Thermidor
 98. Polenta*
 99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
 100. Snake (just like #42, I would try it if it’s dead and cooked.)

* An asterisk marks the items I’m particularly fond of.

  • http://papillesetpupilles.blogspot.com/ Anne (Papilles et Pupilles)

    Je ne suis pas sûre de pouvoir goûter du durian. Rien que d’y penser mon nez se plisse ;)
    J’adoooore les petits pois au wasabi. Trop bon !

  • http://ingeniousinkling.typepad.com/ingenious_inkling/2008/08/omnivores-hundr.html SmilynStef

    How fun … I added my list.

  • adam vee

    On the topic of expensive malt whiskey: I didn’t like whiskey until I had a taste of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Malt Whiskey. Until I had this, I didn’t know whiskey could taste good. Give it a try.

  • elizabeth

    I find it so strange that Pb&J would even be on the list. I guess it is just so ingrained in my American food lexicon that I can’t possibly imagine life without it!

  • http://theendivechronicles.com/ Erin

    Kaolin? I put it in homemade facial masks, but to eat? I gave up eating dirt when I was three.

    Glad to see you aren’t taking your chances with the dirty water dog, I never saw the point. The best street dogs I’ve had are Seattle’s cream cheese dog and a chile laden street dog in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

    Roadkill, that’s just disgusting.

  • GHoshida

    I have 22 items that I have not tried. I think most of the items that I have tried that you haven’t were due to regional avaiability such as fresh durian, spam, pho, etc. However, I can’t believe I got to mark off a 3-star Michelin restaurant off. :)

  • giselle

    I’m so excited you hate root beer. Sometimes I feel I’m the only one that feels that way! I think it tastes like mouthwash. Gross.

  • Emily

    I did better than I thought at ticking things off on the list, but I have to say I’m a little curious about why a cigar (of all things) is on it…seems like a completely unhealthy thing, and not really terribly necessary to an omnivore.

    But, Clotilde, you absolutely have to try another clam chowder if the only one you’ve had was (horrors!) from SF. Next time you’re in Boston, head to Legal Seafoods. It’s amazing, and definitely much better to eat the chowder in its hometown than out west. (Manhattan clam chowder, as far as I’m concerned, is a good soup, but not the real thing).

  • Rachel

    I haven’t tried 50 items on the list, but as I’m a vegetarian, perhaps this isn’t the best list against which to measure my sense of gastronomic adventure (although I have actually eaten haggis – the veggie version, which is probably a lot nicer than the real thing!)… and maybe it’s just me, but there are a few items that just make me say ‘huh?’ – especially the Hostess fruit pie and the vodka jello.

    Of the ones you haven’t yet tried, I can heartily recommend tom yum and bellinis (but not at the same time). And stronger-than-8% beer can be heavenly (particularly if drunk very slowly with a pot of moules or waterzooi) – Chimay Bleu is my favourite, but Gentse Tripel and Delirium Tremens are also worth trying.

  • Jae Young

    Wow, there are only 35 items I haven’t eaten. I would never have thot that I would beat you on this type of thing! Though I would question this list, since my own cuisine, Korean, is barely even touched upon on this list.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Just to clarify the spirit in which I took part in this game: it is indeed one person’s entirely subjective list. There is a number of items in there that I wouldn’t include, were I to draw up my own Omnivore’s Hundred, but I find it very interesting to have food enthusiasts from different countries and backgrounds compare their eating experiences against one arbitrary set of food items.

  • http://queencallipygos.livejournal.com Kim W.
  • Kati

    You have to make your own s’more. Toast a marshmallow until it’s lightly brown and sandwich in between pieces of a Hershey’s bar (it must be milk chocolate and American to be a real s’more) and a good crisp pair of graham crackers.

  • Sue Mecklem

    I had great fun with this meme! I’ve tried 67 of the foods, but have not desire to try puffer fish nor kaolin. I’m squeamish about eating horse or offal but I know that’s a cultural attitude having been brought up in the U.S. so I’d try it, and might well like it. And what a great list of 30 more things I need to try!

    I’d add tamales, a nice bottle of red wine (more than $30 US), and key lime pie to the list.

  • http://stellaland.typepad.com/ Stella

    Nice list. I am not as experienced as I would have thought.

    Let me know if you’d like me to send you a hostess fruit pie and a box of jell-o so you can cross those off your list, too! :)

  • http://culinarylinguist.blogspot.com Jaemus

    Hi Clothilde, I’ve been lurking on your blog on and off for some time, wanted to come out of hiding to thank you for the tip regarding the Omnivore’s Hundred, and for writing in general. I was at least partially inspired by your writing to start my own food blog (though I don’t update it as often as I “should,” and don’t have very many pretty pictures…) Here’s my list.

  • http://alithinks.com Alison

    Ça y est ! My list is here. Thanks for posting this!

  • paul

    Very, very, very culturally oriented list from an anglo-saxon point of view: comfort foods, a few “exotica”, and a bit of daring to top off the list.
    As for my 51 out of 100, not as good as i would’ve thought.
    Although New England Chowder in a bowl sitting on a porch on the Vineyard should count over any “Sourdough bowl” thingy, just like a fat cigar makes any cognac taste better (well known fact, that).

  • http://not-a-foodblog.blogspot.com Vincci

    I’m definitely WAY behind you on the list, but I can’t believe you’ve never tried borscht! That would definitely get an asterisk from me!

  • Mrs Redboots

    The version of this I saw, you also indicated which foods you’d prepared yourself! And if I like a food, I’m as apt to learn how to cook it myself (with the exception of Jamaican food, like fried plantain or rice’n'peas, as I have so many Jamaican friends who cook it better than I do!).

    I think there were about 47 foods I have yet to try – only a few I’d really not think about (borscht for one – I loathe beetroot however it is prepared).

  • ken

    I have actually eaten roadkill.

    When I was in high school, while driving to school, a pheasant ran in front of my car. The car’s bumper must have snapped it’s neck, because there wasn’t a mark on it otherwise.

    I picked it up, turned around, took it home, walked into the house, handed it to my father (a hunter) and said “Here, you need to clean this”, turned around and drove back to school.

    The bird was great, and as an added bonus, we didn’t have to worry about biting down on any birdshot that was missed in the cleaning process.

  • Yelena

    I surprised myself, I’m only short 24 items, and I’d eat 23 of them, though I agree with everyone else about the clay thing. I guess if I went to a place where everyone said, “dear lord, you must try our clay” I would, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing out in search of it. Also, I don’t think I’ll be getting to Fugu until I get to Tokyo and one of the five-decades practitioners of the fish. Still, this was a fun meme.

  • Ruth Adams

    72 out of 100 and I paid a lot of money to try some of them like alligator and whole insects. Fun list but a little too American with the fast-food and junk food items

  • http://futurereference.org Emily

    I REFUSE to believe you have never had a bellini.

  • http://www.cleacuisine.fr Clea

    J’espère que tu pourras tester umeboshi et boeuf de Kobe dans pas si longtemps… Quant au fugu, ma foi, on peut décider que niet, et puis finalement se laisser tenter ;)

  • gingerpale

    I suspect some of these foods get tasted for the same reason some mountains get climbed–just because they’re there!

  • http://queencallipygos.livejournal.com Kim W.

    Whoops — forgot to add my commentary to my “here’s mine” link above…

    Two things I noticed — in a couple cases, I wasn’t sure what to do, as I hadn’t had the EXACT item, but had had something very LIKE it. For instance: the root beer float. This is just an ice cream soda, using root beer as the soda and vanilla for the ice cream. I’ve not had that — but I DID have, and greatly enjoy, something similar — an ice cream soda using lime sherbet and lemon-lime soda. Does this count? Can you get partial-credit?

    As for the street-cart hot dogs — I live in New York City, and so these make up at least 5% of my annual diet. And every time I have one, I am reminded of a great line I saw in a graphic novel once — a character is eating a hot dog and happily says, “You know, I’ve always wondered if the chemical aftertaste is intentional or if it’s an unplanned bonus.”

  • msue

    I haven’t tried 38 of the items – there is some overlap between our two lists, but you’ve got some “will never try this” items that made my “yep, already ate that” list, and vice versa. Most interesting was the discovery of a few items that I wondered why I’d never had it before, like clotted cream tea. Sounds delightful!

  • http://www.vegoftheweek.com vegoftheweek

    Chocklava-Baklava with chocolate baked between the layers. This may be just a special creation in a restaurant in a town I went to college in, not sure. It’s on my mind since I’m taking a road trip there soon.

    Alligator and snake??!!! You are one to try things, Clotilde. As a vegetarian, like Rachel, I’ll hold back from commenting on those items on the list!:)

  • CT

    what…no Natto? :-)

  • http://www.windowseatblog.com The Window Seat

    This is so fun. I’m going to have to print it out and post it in my cubicle. I’m missing some important ones!

  • http://www.chiccyclist.com Charlotte

    Like so many food items, there is root beer, and then there is ROOT BEER.

    I wonder if those who don’t like it have ever tasted real home-made root beer? Real root beer with homemade vanilla ice cream makes a float that will tickle your senses and is certain to delight you.

    Ordinary ingredients? Not so good.

  • molly

    try raspberry borcht from the New Vegetarian Epicure. it is divine

  • http://barredowl.wordpress.com barred owl

    I totally kicked ass at this list!
    check it out at barredowl.wordpress.com

    and please be understanding when I say that I have eaten roadkill….

  • http://mamichan.livejournal.com masami

    Umeboshi! One of my favorite foods. I like to mince them and add them into Asian dressing.

  • Jill R

    This was great and it brought back a lot of memories of places I’ve either lived or visited. My number’s on the high side – there are only 13 items I haven’t tried, but I’m aware that maybe if someone else did their personal list I’d not do as well. Also, am I missing something with Kaolin? Is it edible? I don’t think I’m brave enough to try fugu… or roadkill, and can’t believe I’ve never tried Kobe. Tripe needs to be on this list. Also stuffed dhalpouri roti. And oysters eaten roadside or beachside.

  • Ky

    I score pathetically, but then, I am a vegetarian.

    I can’t see why anyone would go out of their way to eat kaolin, but nor why anyone would be surprised by the idea of ingesting it; I only know it as the standard, disgusting medicine to be inflicted upon children with a stomach upset. Avaliable from a chemist near me, or at least it was when I was tiny, generally with morphine added and always vile. I therefore assumed that everyone had tried the wretched stuff and that it had no exotic/surprise value. This list however makes me wonder if it might not be as widespread a medicine as I had assumed. Is it?

  • http://theblueparrot.org Ferrari

    This has been an educational and enlightening exercise.

  • http://bretzeletcafecreme.blogspot.com/ Flo Bretzel

    Je vais me ploger avec délice dans cette liste des 100!

  • Deirdre

    Interesting list. I’ve had more than I expected and learned about a few new things.

    Those “s’more’s” you link to look like a delicious confection in their own right, but hardly a true s’more. They are more inspired by the real thing.

    A real s’more requires plain graham crackers, milk chocolate (I’m a fan of very good, very dark chocolate, but this is one time I buy Hershey’s milk chocolate), supermarket marshmallows, a camp fire, and long, sturdy sticks hunted down before it got dark. Roast a marshmallow on a stick over the fire (burnt or lightly browned is your choice — I like burnt). Use two pieces of graham cracker to pull the marshmallow off the stick, shove a piece of chocolate in there, press down, and eat.

    The mess and stickiness and marshmallows that go up in dirt are all part of the fun.

  • Beth

    Knock out six more: I would suggest a coke float as a root beer float substitute. You might find nettle tea bags in an Eastern European market. Vodka jello is easy enough to make, and I bet you’d pick a fantastic flavor. Beer above 8% should not be difficult to find in Paris. We can buy Gjetost in the states, so that should be easy for you to find as well. Ditto bellinis.

  • andrea

    My son’s friend from Haute Savoie visited us on Cape Cod this summer and we dedicated ourselves, for 10 days, to exposing her to the best of American/New England cuisine. She loved lobster in every form, but I would probably say s’mores were the culinary highlight of her vacation. She ate them before and after most meals, even going so far as to melt the marshmallows in the microwave when we didn’t have a fire going – a no-no in any culture, but she had to get her fix.

  • http://niallniallorangepeel.blogspot.com Niall

    I blame my disappointingly low score of 42 1/2 (adjusted for atmospheric pressure) on the fact that I don’t live in the N hemisphere – and my tools (clearly) – and maybe the Catholic Church.
    Here’s my list: http://niallniallorangepeel.blogspot.com/2008/08/omnivores-hundred.html
    Niall

  • delphine

    Clotilde: I know that you’re french, I just meant that as an American I can’t fathom anyone not having had a hotdog from a street vendor. I guess even with my interest in other cultures it is still easy to be ethnocentric and forget that other ways of life exist.

  • Nikki

    What fun!

    And while I am 29 short, I would probably wager a guess that somewhere, sometime, my dad tricked me into roadkill!

  • http://www.agnestan.net Agnes Tan

    This is fun.
    I’ll do it right away.
    :-)

  • Pearl

    I posted my list on my blog–and I have to say I was surprised to find out that I had eaten 61 of the total list. I am not what I would consider an “adventurous eater,” but I love food and have tried a lot of things most people don’t like (like oysters and foie gras and borscht)–at least, judging by my friends.

  • dory

    As someone else mentioned, kaolin is used medicinally and might be a nice remedy after trying the road kill if anyone wants to try it that is. (I think some of the items on the list like fugu and roadkill are more to show how brave and trendy one is more than for eating pleasure, but that is just my opinion.) If anyone gets sick after trying to increase his/her score, a big dose of Kaopectate (active ingredient kaolin) is a good way to absorb the toxins and stop unpleasant gastrointestinal results from a really nasty meal. Having had Kaopectate medicinally, and given it to my dogs on numerous occasions, I really don’t see the point of ingesting it in any kind of non-medicinal context.

    As for root beer floats, I think you almost have to have been born in the U.S. or, perhaps Canada to like toot beer. Even then, it is not automatic. I don’t care for root beer and I was born in the U.S. I did have root beer floats as a child though, and I have to say that a large glob of vanilla ice cream works miracles to cut the icky medicinal flavor of the root beer. There is something magical about the combination that makes even the root beer averse find it easy. I haven’t tried recently, but I think I might still like a root beer float if I tried one, and if they put in enough ice cream to mask the root beer taste. If you really want the old fashioned ethnic U.S. culture that is being pushed out by globalization, you can call it a “black cow” as they did in my parents’ time.

    Dory

  • http://gillsnthrills.tumblr.com Gills ‘n Thrills

    I’m missing about 50 items. I guess that ok, considering I’m not an omnivore.

  • Susan Brown

    My Mum who has spent a lot of time in Russia makes great Borsch. Here’s the recipe she uses:

    Moscow Borshch
    1.5lb beetroot
    1 onion
    0.5lb potatoes
    1 stalk of celery
    2oz butter
    0.5lb tomatoes (I use tinned)
    1 tablespoon tomato puree
    3 pints boiling water
    juice of half lemon
    1 teaspoon sugar
    salt and pepper
    6 dessertspoons sour cream

    Peel and wash the vegetables. Chop the onion finely and cut the beetroot,
    potato and celery into thin strips.

    melt the butter in a large pan. Add the onion and beetroot, cover and cook
    slowly for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

    Pour in the boiling water and add the potatoes, celery and quartered
    tomatoes and tomato puree.

    Salt and pepper to taste and add the lemon juice and sugar.

    Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables
    are ready.

    Serve with one dessertspoon of sour cream in each bowl.

  • audrey

    It’s interesting that you eat oxtail in the form of a terrine. We usually find it too boney and tough to eat unless it’s slow cooked. We add oxtail to a large pot of water, throw in some chunks of yellow onion and carrot and some stewed tomatoes if you like, and let that simmer down for 2-3 hours or until the meat on the oxtail falls off the bone. What you get is a stew made think from the oxtail and perfectly seasoned by the onion and carrot. It’s great in the Fall and Winter, so I’m counting down the days.

  • http://fatoumata_toure2002.blogspot.com/ Fatou

    I am excited to say that I have eaten haggis, blood sausage and caterpillars (do they fall under whole insects- they taste like liver, and I hate that). I am also glad that I am a vegetarian now and don’t need to eat these foods, although I remember that the haggis was delicious (but it was from a butcher in Stoneheaven, south of Aberdeen, apparently famous for his great haggis).
    I find the list to be rather odd, polenta is sth I had for dinner almost every night as a child, with milk, lovely food, how can that be exotic. And in fact neither caterpillars nor kaolin are exotic in Burkina Faso where I have lived and worked for a couple of years. So it is really a British American perspective that is represtented in the list.

  • Remi

    si tu as déjà eu une courante soignée avec du Smecta, alors tu as mangé du Kaolin et tu peux cocher la case. A part ce genre de cas d’urgence, manger de l’argile n’est pas vraiment courant.

  • http://jennainrio.blogspot.com Jenna

    I’ve eaten roadkill, and contrary to assumptions, it doesn’t HAVE to be nasty. Our roadkill was venison, unfortunately knocked out of this life by a friend’s car. We didn’t peel it off the road, but it wasn’t hunted…

    And if I remember correctly, it was pretty tasty!

  • http://dsoulin.blogspot.com Doris

    That was really fun. I posted my results on my blog– 47 out of 100. I agree with you, Clotilde…there are some things I see no point in trying/sampling.

  • http://thecanberracook.blogspot.com Cath the Canberra Cook

    Hey, a cigar may be unhealthy, but so is butter. Moderation is the key – one in five years won’t kill you.

    I’m disappointed there’s nothing Australian on there. Europe, Americas, Asia – but no kangaroo or witchetty grubs… (yes & no, respectively)

  • dory

    One way to try whole insects is
    “hormigas culonas” (big butt ants) from my husband’s region of Colombia. They don’t eat them all over the country. Most people in Bogota, for example, are squeamish about eating any kind of insect. They remove the legs, the wings and the mandibles and deep fry them. They are a little bit like popcorn, and they become crispy and do not absorb a ton of oil. I have eaten a few but not a lot. It is the idea that was harder than the taste. Actually they taste fine, but they are such a rare and hard to come by delicacy that I mostly leave them to people who are crazy about them. The other insects I have eaten are canned baby bees from Japan. They taste, not surprisingly, like honey, and are good over ice cream. However, I ate them in the house of a Japanese friend and don’t know how to get them on my own.

    However, I am not sure about eating food just due to the shock value. I will eat unusual foods if they are appealing, or if I feel I “should” in a social setting. Actually I will eat a lot of stuff in its setting that I will not touch at home. However, I don’t bother to eat food that seems weird to me out of its setting. If I were in a part of Africa where my hosts were preparing grubs or clay I would eat it. As I say, I ate ants in Colombia, and have eaten boudin in France which is not challenging for most French people but is for me. At home I don’t bother with something that seems unappetizing just because it is exotic. If it is out of its context it may well not be good anyway.

    What is interesting to me, is what foods can be challenging to guests from various parts of the world. I have seen Cambodians who can eat durian struggle to swallow even one bite of avocado which is a common food here in the U.S. I think they are expecting it to be sweet, because it looks like a fruit, and find it disgusting when it is savory and a bit oily. Some Cambodians also find mashed potatoes disgusting. (I find the powdered ones from the box disgusting so maybe they feel the same way about the fresh ones, ha! ha!)

    This is the strangest thing, however. The same Southeast Asians I knew who couldn’t eat mashed potatoes or avocado will immediately eat food from MacDonald’s or Burger King. What do they put in the fast food that makes it appeal to people from so many different cultures? I, myself will eat MacDonald’s only when I am traveling and there is absolutely no other possibility of eating. However, all over the world people go to MacDonald’s like they serve the nectar of the gods. In large U.S. cities MacDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s etc. have almost replaced home cooking in certain poor neighborhoods where there is poor public transportation and few grocery stores. I have heard they put in flavor enhancers– sort of edible perfumes. What makes them get over cultural taboos, though?
    Dory

  • http://imagespetites.blogspot.com kate

    i just posted my list on my blog!

    imagespetites.blogspot.com

    and yes, i know it should be petites images :)

  • Anna

    I’m an embarassing sub-50… I blame it on living in the antipodes. I mean really, where are the vegemite and tim-tams? (I hate vegemite and tim-tams, but national pride is national pride) I think the most pressing item that’s been left off is a three course Peking duck dinner – divine. In fact, I’d settle for duck of any kind!

    I have munched my way through a fugu though … and I mean the whole fugu. It was a treat in Tokyo on behalf of our incredibly generous hosts. You eat the fish in stages, the soup made from the head, the flesh as sashimi, some bony bits as tempura. It’s, well, mild.

    Clotilde, I have an idea for your next blog list: The 10 Foods I (Rationally or Irrationally) Loathe. Has you read The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten? His introduction talks about how he unlearnt all his food phobias before becoming a food writer for Vogue – exposure is the key. I think that would be a great meme; bloggers could write lists of the foods they just loathe and will not eat, followed up by them attempting to overcome their phobia. Importantly, it would allow me to see if I’m the only person in the world who can stomach liver, blood, sea urchin and fugu but is totally, utterly unable to put a whole small octopus in my mouth and chew (The head! All those legs! I’m squirming at the thought!) Or if I’m the only person averse to coriander – three months of smothering all my Thai cooking with coridander (cilantro) has successfully shifted it off my loathe list and on to the mild-to-moderate dislike list. I’m currently working on my hatred of grated carrot (it’s the whole inability to swallow it that bothers me), revulsion towards kaffir lime leaves (I’ve got no idea) and finally bringing myself to drink a real, entire, hot cup of coffee.

    anna (avowed tea drinker)

  • spinner

    If you’re stopping in Montreal for some poutine, hop over to Ottawa for a beaver tail. Can’t get them anywhere else.
    Um, no, we don’t whack the tails off our beavers. It’s a pastry similar to elephant ears.

  • http://cucinaphobia.blogspot.com the opoponax

    Anna, apparently disliking cilantro (and certain other herbs, maybe kaffir lime is among them?) is a mild food allergy — it produces a reaction in your mouth that makes it taste different. I’m probably not explaining it right, but a surprising number of people hate cilantro, parsley, basil, etc. for that reason.

    Re the Kaolin, I thought it was a joke, that people would look it up and learn that it’s a common food additive. If they put it in junkfood in America, I’ve probably eaten it, so I said yes. But who knew that it’s commonly eaten as straight-up food in Africa?! Learn something new every day, they say…

  • http://aclearbluesky.net A Clear Blue Sky

    Love this! Thanks Clotilde, and Andy, for telling about and starting this game. I scored a meager result of 64 things eaten, which for a food-lover seems to be low. But, now I have a list of things to discover!

    My list? It’s here: http://www.aclearbluesky.net.

  • Lynh

    Hi Clotilde – what if you compiled a list of your readers’ suggestions, just as you did when they had suggestions for new york city?
    But then I guess that would not be vacation. Maybe i’ll compile one and send it to you.
    To add to the list, I’m definitely putting Asian foods which I fell in love with the first time I tried them:

    1) Halo halo (delicious, funky phillipino desert) or any singaporean, taiwanese, vietnamese, or malaysian dessert with beans! Sooo good

    2) banh mi (which I know you already tried)

    3) Cafe Sua Dua (available at vietnamese or thai restaurants)mmm bitter coffee and condensed milk with ice

    4) Thousand Layer Bread (a Burmese specialty)

    5) phet-htoke (Burmese dumplings) or Dim Sum Hargow or Shiumai (but delicious dumplings should be on there somewhere!)

    6) Different types of pancakes – pae-jun, american sweet pancakes, italian socca, chinese scallion pancakes, vietnamese banh xeo, crepes with nutella and fruit, etc.

    I guess my list is obviously asian influenced, but what a great idea! thanks!

  • Christine

    I ate roadkill on my 21st birthday, two weeks into a 7-month stay in Provence. The (quite sophisticated, professional) parents of my host family hit a rabbit with their car and prepared it with cream for dinner. Served with a salad, pommes frites, and champagne, it was an unforgettable celebration.

  • Jack Denny

    American from the Midwest here (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Scored 27, but many items unavailable or quite expensive here. (durian or fugu comes to mind). I digress…

    You will find that root beer alone is one taste and the root beer float is quite another. Most Latin people (French incl) hate root beer. But many really liked root beer floats when they tried them. It’s the creamy taste offset by the brewed flavor. It helps to let the ice cream or custard to partly melt, mix it up a bit and both use a straw and a long spoon to mix the tastes together. So give it a go. I recommend that you find a very good root beer though. Get the root beer VERY cold. The ice cream should be almost soft. I can recommend our local Milwaukee root beer brand Sprecher. The NY Times calls it the best in America. Maybe I can talk to Randy Sprecher and get a sample pack shipped to you in Paris???

    You might want to try the Hostess fruit pies, despite it’s junk food label. They are not awful, just sweet and simple the way children like food. Cherry is probably the best taste. Afterword you will certainly and truly appreciate a good fresh beignet. One’s taste buds must develop over time and through experience. Trying one of these, then the other will show you how far you have come.

    Just so you don’t think that I’m a total hick scoring only 27, we do have an amazing diversity of foods from a vast diversity of cultures here( German, Hmong, Swedish, Italian, Filipino, Greek, Mexican, Argentine & Guatemalan to name a few) but sometimes you have to look hard for items that are uncommon from each culture. I’ve never run across boudin noir but probably it could be found at a French restaurant if I looked.
    We are America’s dairyland (great cheese) and the fresh vegetable center of our country. If you come to the USA, avoid NYC just go out and meet the people and try the great everyday foods of the country!

  • Andrea

    Je suis montréalaise et je ne comprendrai jamais la poutine…

    Mais si jamais tu viens nous rendre visite, je suggère fortement la poutine à La Banquise, sur la rue Rachel.

  • http://rojakrendezvous.blogspot.com/ Rojak Rendezvous

    I had so much fun with this. Already posted on my blog.

    Coming from Asia, a lot of the so called exotica is a regular day to day. It is a very subjective list & I think I would have come up with something entirely different if I had to pick my 100. But it was fun, nevertheless.

  • M.E. Collins

    Haven’t tried:
    Criollo chocolate
    Durian
    Baijiu
    Fugu
    Kaolin

  • hillary

    fun article! i have only 30 items that i have not tasted so far… although 12 of those i will probably never be tasting. a few are too scary and a few are too weird (really, why eat clay or dirt if you’ve progressed past the age of 5? i’m done with mud pies!)

  • Angel

    I would recommend trying the root beer float at some point. I also don’t care for root beer – or any kind of soda, really – but adding the vanilla ice cream to the cold root beer creates a wonderful creamy not-sweet experience. Very nice. I promise.

  • Alejandra

    As Dory said, in Mexico and South America there are several ways of trying whole insects that are quite tasty. I would recommend the following from Mexican Food:
    - Grasshopers: Eaten in tacos in Oaxaca, I suggest you stay with those about 1cm big. If they are smaller the taste is toooo mild, if bigger, the taste of amonia prevails. They are seasoned and roasted, so they are not so bad.
    - Escamoles (ant eggs): I don’t know if this counts as a whole insects, but this rice like eggs are wonderful just with butter, onion and parsley.
    - Bees in chocolate: Whole bees are coated in chocolate, the final taste of the chocolate is blended with honey.
    In Mexico we have several other dishes with insects, and I have not dared to eat acosiles (since they are eaten alive and I have no clue what they are) or many others. But these three are a good way to clear that item from your list.

  • victoire

    i used to work in a little wine and cheese shop while living in the states and i remember we had imported some gjetost, it is like caramel in a cheese, so delicious. perfect for apples or on toast for breakfast like they do in norway. i don’t know where to find it here in france. another caramel confection called cajeta, which is like dulce de leche but made at least in part with goat’s milk.

  • http://theholisticchef.blogspot.com Andrea

    I cant believe how viral this list is. Once I caught wind of it I felt compelled to do it too and share it with my friends and blog world. I have tried 65 of the items on the list and possibly more that I just dont remember. Here’s my results.
    I noted that I found the list on your blog too.

  • http://eastiearts.blogspot.com/ vonwotan

    Looks like I’ve missed eighteen items on the list.

    http://eastiearts.blogspot.com/

  • pie advocate

    I’m as big a food snob as they come, and I’m sure I’d do well on this list but PLEASE, people, don’t overlook the humble Hostess fruit pie! Fried pies are quite the culinary staple here in Texas (and are possibly part of the reason I moved here!) and the Hostess fruit pie is the national version of this yummy, yummy, yummy treat. Sure, it’s sugary and fast-foody, but a fried pie is a truly delicious thing and absolutely belongs on anyone’s life list! Here we get perfectly great, fresh ones at the gas station. Gosh, I love Texas!

  • http://cookingltd.blogspot.com Steed Z

    Thanks for introducing me to the list! I probably won’t try all of them, but I will be sharing it with my friends and readers. Hope all is well in Croatia!

  • http://queenlythings.typepad.com Vallen Queen

    I feel like I’ve really accomplished a lot having tried more than half of these things.
    I love when you mention Mountain View (which is where I live). Makes the little place feel very cosmopolitan.

  • simone

    Clotilde:
    Scotch bonnets have a wonderful flavour – it’s not just about the heat! I hope you’ll reconsider. I’m not able to tolerate the heat but i do like the flavour imparted by just an itsy bitsy amount, even.

  • Joyce

    Hi Clotilde!

    I always thought it’s interesting to read your writings…it’s amusing and light! I stumbled upon your list today…

    no.65 Durian – you should try it one day..on it’s own…it’s very sweet if you get the best grade, but I would suppose you may not like the odour of the fruit. ;)
    However, nothing beats eating it in flesh!

  • La Vosgienne

    hello!
    May I ask why you mention the Vosges? Did you spend your summers there?
    I am curious… Its not often that I read about this region where I grew up!
    Une nouvelle lectrice

  • ralfdh

    Domori chocolate (the “no.1″ really is the best), french, Breton, Norman butter, single-variety Provence olive oil, many of the japanese green teas,
    french style bread (much much better than the usual german stuff), real butter croissants,
    some belgian beers,
    some german “alt” beers from Düsseldorf (Uehrige,…)

  • felix

    Since mixing peanuts and sugar is obviously an abberation before god, how about replacing PB&J with the english version: PB & Marmite?

  • Liisa

    I’ve not tried 24 things on this list! But fugu and kaolin may never get crossed off…. I’m surprised a hostess fruit pie is on this list…. they’re not a quintesscential item.. I’d replace it with Oreos and milk as a pure kid treat.

    and I’d replace roadkill with freshly caught and roasted game.

    And what fun to do this list!

    Thank you!!

  • gae

    You probably have eaten salty lassi. It is consumed widely in the Middle East and quite common for example in restaurants in Turkey. My husband was Kurdish and my children have been brought up on it and love it. Very easy to make – get some really good natural yoghurt (we used to use Greek yoghurt), put it in a bowl or jug, add cold water and a pinch of salt and stir very well. He often used to shake it up to make it frothy on top. Icecubes can be added as well. The children used to drink it when they were eating pastries like borek. Very refreshing and good to eat with curries.

  • Mae

    My boyfriend ate a plate of Fugu Sushi once…he said that it tasted of nearly nothing save for “fishyness” BUT that he felt a popping tingle on his tongue. After the second piece I remember he had to pause eating his beloved sushi because his mouth had gone numb. This only lasted a few minutes. I was not so brave…
    I would add Roast Boar to the list and if anyone is ever in Kyoto, Japan I highly recommend a little Izakaya (Japanese style bar) that serves boar, venison, goose, carmelized crickets, and my favorite raw bear. Bear has the consistency of a grainy pear and the flavor reminds me of a rich beef.
    I will try to make some progress on the list! Thank you from Iwaki, Japan!

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