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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Guest Post: Bizarre Cuisine Served at Airports Around the World

Ever had a long layover and wanted a meal or even just a snack before your next flight? Some airports offer restaurants with fine dining and elegant meals that you can enjoy before your long journey so you won’t have to endure those uncomfortable hunger pains during your flight. Those same airports can also offer some of the most bizarre and possibly disgusting or greatest tasting food you have ever seen or tasted.

Picture walking into the food court of the Chiang Mai Airport looking for a delicious breakfast before your flight and being offered some scrumptious fried maggots! Yes, maggots. These tasty fried treats are something you can purchase to munch on to satisfy your morning hunger.

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As weird and disgusting as this may sound maggots are actually a great source of protein and carbohydrates. So, despite being fried, they are actually good for you. They are also very commonly eaten in countries such as China, along with many other critters.


The Chiang Mai Airport is not the only airport that serves insects as a tasty snack. In fact, Typhoon restaurant located in the Santa Monica, California Airport has a section of their menu titled “Insects.” The section of the menu includes items such as:

Singapore-Style Scorpions served on shrimp toast. clip_image004
Despite the horrifying appearance, scorpions are actually considered a delicacy throughout several locations in the world. In parts of Southeast Asia these little delicacies are skewered or fried and in Singapore they are served on slices of battered fish. In China scorpions are fried and served as a traditional dish from Shangdong, China. Shangdong is more commonly known in Chinese as Lu Cuisine, which is one of the eight culinary traditions of China. Shangdong is ranked among the four most influential of these. 

Taiwanese Crickets – crickets served over a Taiwanese stir fry with raw garlic, chilli pepper, and Asian basil. clip_image006
Eating a cricket may not sound very appetizing; however it sure is a nutritional meal. According to The Food Insects News Letter, a single cricket contains 12.9 grams of protein, 5.5grams of fat, 75.8mg of calcium, and 9.5mg of iron. Crickets are also a very common food eaten in certain parts of the world. People from Kwara State, Nigeria, and other parts of West Africa have been known to eat crickets and many other insects. The crickets are collected from soil tunnels and then roasted over the fire for a delicious meal. Of course the guts are removed before the feast. Crickets are also commonly eaten in Taiwan, as the title of the dish states. Crickets, along with caterpillars are stir-fried or sautéed and served as a delicacy in Taiwan. 

Thai Silk Worm Pupae stir fried and served with hot and spicy dipping sauce.
Silk worm is another commonly eaten item is many countries around the world. China for instance serves silkworm pupae in many fancy restaurants. It is served with both the spicy dipping sauce shown here as well as a side of sesame seeds and salt. The Typhoon restaurant has been in the business of serving Pan Asian cuisine for over 18 years. The menu at Typhoon doesn’t just feature insects. There are over 70 dishes from the Pacific Rim to choose from.

The Changi Airport in Singapore houses a restaurant with a unique style. No insects are served here, however there are some rather distinctive desserts offered from Chinta Manis including:

Chendol Agar Agar - Made from Chendol and red beans in jelly form with a delicate layer of agar agar. To Americans this dessert would definitely sound bizarre. However, chendol is a very popular dessert in Asia, Thailand, and Singapore. It is made from coconut milk, thin green pandan flavoured noodles and palm sugar. Agar agar is a vegetarian gelatin substitute produced from a variety of seaweed vegetation.

Kueh Dadar – This is an egg delicate crepe with grated coconut and filled with palm sugar. This dessert is commonly referred to as coconut pancake rolls. Rightly so because it basically caramelized grated coconut filling inside a pandan flavour pancake skin. This is a very common dessert served in Malaysia, and can be homemade easily as well.

Durian Salat – This dish is made from fresh durian flesh with a base layer of steamed glutinous rice and coconut. Durian is a tropical fruit that is rarely seen outside of Southeast Asia. It is native to Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It resembles a coconut and it is infamous for its distinctive stinky smell. However, it is a sweet tasting fruit nonetheless. The durian is fruit of several tree species genus Durio and Malvacea family. It is widely known in Southeast Asia as the “King of Fruits.”

The desserts served at Chinta Manis are truly unique to Americans; however in Asia the ingredients used to put together these tasty treats are pretty common. Not all bizarre and strange food has to look or taste as bad as it may look.

About the Author of this post: Erica Gustafson is a freelance writer and consultant for Expedia. Erica loves to write about her experiences to other countries, people she has met and monuments she has visited.

Note: All images included in the articles have either been purchased by the author and the author owns rights to them or they are free pictures from an open source picture host.



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