Photo by Manogamo/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Last week, Multi-American delved once more into that culinary landscape where some diners fear to tread, the territory of the unsung ethnic delicacy.
These are the dishes that don't necessarily sound good, look good or or even smell good, but are worth trying because they are unexpectedly delicious.
Our first series in March covered a range of foods, from drinks like the Vietnamese avocado milkshake to main dishes like arroz con calamares en su tinta, a particularly unattractive squid dish served in several Latin American countries.
The series last week focused on meat dishes, cooked, raw and canned. True to form, none sound like anything one would rush out to try, but don't be put off. For any carnivores who might have missed these treats, here they are in a convenient list. Dig in.
Photo by klyphord/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Spam musubi to go, October 2006. Photo by klyphord/Flickr (Creative Commons)
One of a series of posts last week that explored unsung ethnic delicacies highlighted Spam musubi, a popular snack made with Spam and sushi rice that is popular in Hawaii.
The series focused on those dishes or items that may not look or sound good, but are in fact delicious. I knew that Spam musubi was well-loved on the islands, and at least by one person in Washington, D.C., that being our Hawaii-raised president. But judging by the flood of comments that came in to KPCC's Facebook page, there is a great deal of Spam musubi love out there.
"This is one of my favorite foods!" Joanne Kakuda wrote.
"Hot dogs are worse than spam so I don't understand the prejudice against it," Tracy Munar-Ramos wrote. "Spam rocks!"
Okay, not entirely sure about that. Vanessa Lee put it in perspective:
Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC
We're on the second-to-last day of a week of posts celebrating unsung ethnic delicacies, this time those raw, cooked or canned meat dishes that don't look or sound great, but taste delicious.
But what sounds like a painful bovine affliction is in fact a tasty stew of beef oxtail in a mildly spicy tomato sauce. It's popular throughout the Caribbean, found in Cuban, Puerto Rican and Dominican cooking. As with other oxtail preparations around the globe, it's a dish born of necessity, the product of creative cooks who couldn't afford to waste a scrap of meat and made it taste good.
All that said, "tail on fire" is not the most appetizing thing to look at. The name is bad enough. There is the anatomical location of the tail to consider, not ideal. Then there are the knobby, irregularly shaped bones, which you must dig into to find the meat in the nooks and crannies.