Cascatelli – The Ideally Shaped Pasta You 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.

The story of how cascatelli came to be 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 time to researching pasta shapes in a quest to create the ideal pasta design, which needed to have an appealing texture, have the perfect bite, and, most importantly, hold the right amount of sauce. Believe it or not, he spent almost three years on this project.

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This Moldy-Looking Bun Is Actually 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 lately, because of its unappetizing appearance.

Chinese company Nanjing Yican Foods has been turning a lot of heads with a rather unique-looking product – match and cheese bun that looks a few months past its expiration date. Underneath its light brown exterior, the cheese matcha bun has a light green appearance that looks just like the disgusting food mold that develops on old bread products. Only it’s actually worse than that, as squeezing the bun causes the green matcha and cheese mixture to ooze out of it…

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Jeppson’s Malört – Probably the World’s Worst Tasting Liquor

If you’re not into liquors, they probably all taste bad to you, but there’s a particular liquor that everyone agrees tastes horrible. It’s called malört and, over the years, it has been compared to battery acid, pesticide and gasoline.

Although Jeppson’s Malört is most often associated with the American city of Chicago, its true roots are in Sweden, where where “malört” is the word for wormwood, the key ingredient in this ghastly spirit. Wormwood is a notoriously bitter herb known for its ability to kill stomach worms and other parasites. The Swedes started infusing it in alcohol and using it as medicine for digestive problems in the 15th century, and it reached US shores with the first Swedish immigrants. The awful taste didn’t appeal to many, so it’s no wonder that malört faded into obscurity pretty much everywhere, except Chicago. For some reason, people here not only accepted its horrible aroma, they actually embraced it.

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Escamol – The Insect 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. It has been consumed in Mexico since the time of the Aztecs.

Commonly known as ‘Mexican caviar’, because of its similarity to 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 the time of the Aztecs, when consumption of insects as food was very common. Escamol was considered a delicacy by the Aztecs, who would trade for it with nomadic tribes such as the Otomis, because it was difficult to procure. Its price in Mexican restaurants suggests that escamol has retained its status as delicacy in modern times as well.

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Jacu Bird Coffee – From Bird Poop to Gourmet Delicacy

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 and sought-after type of coffee. It all started in the early 2000s, when Henrique Sloper de Araújo woke up to find that his precious plantations had been overrun by Jacu birds, an endangered, pheasant-like bird species, protected in Brazil. They weren’t known to be coffee cherry fans, but they seemed to love de Araújo’s organic coffee. But they were going to pay him back for the meal in the most unusual way.

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This Incredibly Delicate Shaved Ice Dessert Looks Just Like Fine Noodles

Shiltarae bingsu, or stringed shaved ice, is a modern take on a popular South Korean treat that consists of amazingly fine ice shavings that look like super-thin pasta.

You’ve probably heard of spaghetti ice-cream before, but this is nothing like that. Shiltarae bingsu is reportedly an incredibly airy and creamy treat that not only looks good but tastes great as well. It was allegedly invented a few years back by Seoul-based café and dessert lab Tiravento, and has since become a staple dessert, and a sought-after props for Instagram users. There is no denying the visual appeal of this treat, as the shaved ice actually looks like noodles before it starts to melt.

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Threads of God – The World’s Rarest Pasta Is Also One of the Most Difficult to Make

The small town of Nuoro, on Italy’s Sardinia island, is home to what many are calling the world’s rarest pasta, an intricate, hand-made treat that only a handful of people can make.

Known as su filindeu (in Sardinia’s Sardo dialect), or Fili di Dio (in Italian), and translated as threads of God, this traditional pasta had been linked to La Festa di San Francesco, an ancient religious ritual celebrated every year, in May. For the past two hundred years, the only way to try threads of god pasta was to complete a 33km pilgrimage on foot or horseback from Nuoro to the village of Lula. But because this sacred dish is in serious danger of becoming extinct, the only three women in the world who know how to make it, have been trying to save it by making it more accessible.

67-year-old named Paola Abraini picked up the skills to make threads of god pasta from her mother, who also learned them from her mother, and so on for many generations. However, only one of her two daughters knows the basic technique, but lacks the passion and the patience necessary to carry on the family tradition. The only other two women who she managed to pass on her knowledge to – Abraini’s niece and her sister-in-law – don’t have any daughters to pass the secrets to, so su filindeu is in grave danger of vanishing.

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Gangina – The Afghan Way of Keeping Grapes Fresh For Up to Six Months

Gangina is a traditional means of keeping grapes and other fruits fresh for several months, by sealing them in air-tight containers made of wet soil.

Grapes are tricky to keep fresh for long periods of time, even when refrigeration is available, but apparently Afghans have long been using an ancient method of keeping the soft fruits fresh for consumption in the winter months, when fresh fruits are otherwise hard to come by. Called gangina, this ingenious conservation technique involves sealing healthy grapes in a saucer-like container made of two layers of wet soil. The container is left in the sun to dry and then has to be kept in a cool place, away from direct sunlight. If stored properly, gangina containers can keep grapes picked in autumn fresh until next year’s spring season.

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Vegan Food Company Offers Meat Eater $68,000 to Go Vegan for 3 Months

A popular plant-based meal subscription service is offering the ‘UK’s biggest meat-eater’ the chance to earn £50,000 ($68,000) by going vegan for three months.

Vibrant Vegan recently announced that it is on the lookout for a Vegan Curious Coordinator, a die-hard meat-eater willing to experience an exclusively vegan lifestyle for at least three months. The selected person will have to sign a contract, pledging to not consume any animal-based foods during the three-month trial, while at the same time encouraging others to give veganism a go on social media. If they abide by the agreement, they stand to earn the the equivalent of a £50,000 salary.

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Coquitos – The Tiny Coconuts of the Chilean Wine Palm

Coquitos, also known as pigmy coconuts or dwarf coconuts, are the tiny equivalent of the coconuts we all know (and some of us love).

It’s hard to believe that I spent over three decades on this Earth and only learned that there is such a thing as a tiny, marble-sized coconut, today. Well, it may be common knowledge to a lot of people – especially if you’re from, or have travelled to South America – but it’s definitely news to me, so I thought I’d share it with similarly clueless people like myself. Known as coquitos, these miniature coconuts are the fruit of  Jubaea chilensis, a feather-leaved palm native to Chile, and, just like regular coconuts, they have a brown exterior, a white interior with a hollow center, and very similar taste.

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Stargazy Pie – An English Pastry Dish With Fish Heads Sticking Out of It

When it comes to unusual and unappetizing-looking Christmas dishes, there are few meals out there that can compete with the Stargazy Pie, a pie with fish heads protruding through the crust, appearing to be gazing skyward.

England is home to a variety of pies, from classics like apple pie and pork pie, to less known treats like steak and ale pie, or pot pie. But none of these pastry treats hold a candle to the famous Stargazy Pie, when it comes to wow factor. No matter how elaborate your pie design is, you just can’t beat half a dozen cooked sardine heads (and sometimes tails) sticking out from the hearty dough crust, looking towards the sky. It looks almost as “delicious” as Japan’s alien dumplings, doesn’t it?

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Alien Dumplings – A Downright Scary-Looking Dish

The world is full of unappetizing dishes, from fermented fish dishes to the dreaded Kiviaq, but few actually look scary to get near to, let alone put in your mouth. These Japanese dumplings definitely fall in the latter category.

Last year, we published a story on one of the world’s most bizarre looking fish, the eel-like Warusobo, also known as the “Alien of the Ariake Sea“. One look at this slimy creature, and that nickname makes all the sense in the world. I don’t know if it’s those pointy teeth, or the lack of eyes, but there’s just something otherworldly about these things. That’s hasn’t stopped the people of Saga Prefecture, which borders the Ariake Sea, from turning the alien creature into a staple of local cuisine, including the delicious dumplings below.

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Talented Chef Makes Pancake Portraits Inspired by Pop Culture Icons and Anime Characters

Keisuke Inagaki, who describes himself as the “otaku chef” of La Ricetta Restaurant in Zama, Japan, has combined his two biggest passions – cooking and anime – to create his own style of pancake art.

The 51-year-old Japanese chef started making cute pancakes in 2011, as a way of lifting the spirits of kids in his home city of Fukushima, after it was devastated by a tsunami. He had volunteered for a program to take care of young children in a safe area after the nuclear disaster, and was looking for ways to get their attention. He had seen the pancake art of Nathan Shields on the internet, so he decided to give it a try himself, to impress the kids. That was only his starting point in the world of pancake art, though, as today Inagaki as on a whole other level.

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Confectioner Creates Exquisite Cookies That Look Inedible, in a Good Way

Cookies come in all shapes and sizes, but few look as exquisite as those of Costa Rican confectioner Lorena Rodriguez, founder of Lorena’s Sweets.

Looking at the edible works of art created by Lorena Rodriguez, once doesn’t know if to eat them or hang them up on a wall somewhere, for everyone to see. Some of the experienced confectioner’s cookies certainly don’t look like the variety you find in most cookie jars, that’s for sure. They range from realistic-looking paintings with elaborate, gilded frames, designs inspired by rococo architecture, and edible Christmas decorations. They consist of a Danish-style cookie expertly decorated with a high-quality fondant molded into shape using silicone molds.

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Rare Grape Variety Is Larger Than a Chicken Egg

Pictures of giant grapes, larger than the average chicken egg, have been doing the rounds on Vietnamese social media this week, raising questions about their authenticity and origin.

Novelty fruits are particularly popular in Japan, where specialized shops can sell certain varieties of apples, peaches, melons or grapes for mind-boggling prices. However, the popularity of such fruits has spread throughout Asia, and recently the Vietnamese owner of a market stall shared some photos of a new variety of grapes imported from Japan. Using social media to promote new products is fairly standard these days, only these photos got a lot more attention than usual, because of the apparent size of the grapes. Some of these white grapes seemed to be larger than a chicken egg.

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