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Unexpected delicacies | Pleasures | S Fashion THE COUNTRY

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I perfectly remember the stench. It is ten o’clock in the morning on September 23 in Hanoi. It’s Sunday, and I slip through the winding aisles of a local street market in the Vietnamese capital. The air is humid and sticky, and when I inhale I feel how the sweet and metallic aromas coming from the raw viscera, exposed to 25 degrees of the environment, that wait to be selected to star in the Sunday menu of some house of the crowded city. It won’t be mine. I remember feeling unwell. It had rained, and mixed with the puddles of water you could splash in the blood of some animal that had just been decapitated to become a delicacy. Ducks and chickens with their legs tied await their fate next to stalls where dog heads are offered with other parts of their bodies: in Vietnam and South Korea, dog meat continues to be part of the popular gastronomy. I take advantage of a breath of air that comes loaded with mint and coriander to leave the hustle and bustle and buy a bottle of water on a parallel street, safe from the nauseating smells and scenes that have taken away my desire to eat. Back at the hotel, I feel slightly disappointed in myself. What a lack of tolerance for the unexpected! I, who spend the day talking about fermentation and controlled putrefaction processes that lead to delicacies (cheese) where decomposition is part of the treatment that nature offers… and I leave unwell from a place that I thought I was ready to enjoy. I think about what it costs us to integrate what escapes the order of our internal schemes. What does the unknown taste like? Do we like it or do we not like it? Or in any case, do we have to like it? I am interested in the reflections made on the unexpected by the cook of radicalism, Andoni Aduriz. From Mugaritz he asks the diner to “open your mind, not just your mouth”. The end? Reach the point of no return in which we value the snack regardless of the prejudiced representation of it, the result of our cultural scheme. The interesting thing about unexpected flavors is in the radical responses they generate. No experience gained from surprise is ambiguous: we must be prepared to face the indignation, or perhaps the pleasant surprise generated by encountering something that is not consented to. Gastronomic knowledge also works like this: we can only educate our palate when we force it to leave its comfort zone to explore new universes, where what we discover we may like more or less, but it completes our learning and adds complexity. In China there are ancient eggs: chicken or paw eggs are covered with a mixture of lime, pine ash, water and salt, to be kept for weeks underground or in clay pots. When they are unearthed months later, the white has acquired a delicate amber color and the yolk has become a dark green, muddy color. A traditional dish whose sulfurous and ammoniacal aromas made the American CNN consider it “one of the most disgusting foods in the world”. The whole of China rose up. Unexpected? Probably. Disgusting? I do not think so. Everything that escapes the limits of our understanding is not repugnant. August arrives, and with it, the possibility of expanding, perhaps on an unexpected trip, perhaps without leaving home, the limits of our taste comfort. In a month that tends to be the most liberating of the year, the unexpected can taste better than we thought.

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– Article Written By @Clara Diez from https://smoda.elpais.com/placeres/manjares-inesperados/

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