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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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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Could You Eat These Unbelievably Cute Fish-Shaped Dumplings?

A Taiwanese self-taught cook recently shared photos of her detailed and incredibly adorable fish-shaped dumplings, and they justifiably went viral.

Dumplings come in all shapes and sizes, from the classic half-moon, to the scary-looking alien Warusobo dumplings, but have you ever seen any dumplings cuter than those made by Taipei-based Minmin Chang? The Taiwanese woman took social media by storm last week, after posting photos of her adorable fish-shaped dumplings, along with detailed instructions on how to make your own. The problem is no matter how delicious these treats are, there is no way I’m eating them. They look too darn good!

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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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Too Beautiful to Eat – The Hand-Painted Macarons of Anna Zhirova

Anna Zhirova is a self-taught food artist from Russia who specializes in hand-painting macarons to create unique edible works of art.

An architect by profession, Anna Zhirova came up with the idea of hand-painting macarons completely by accident, but she found the idea fascinating. She had been drawing for as long as she could remember, but the thought of decorating the tiny treats and creating designer macarons was very intriguing. Over time Anna developed both a technique to create the perfect canvas for her art, and the right consistency for the edible food dyes she uses.

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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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After 20 Years, Court Tells Baker to Stop Selling Cookies Made With Sawdust

A German baker who has reportedly been selling sawdust cookies for around two decades has recently been ordered to stop, as the finely milled wood has been deemed unfit for human consumption.

An administrative court in the southwestern German city of Karlsruhe has upheld a decision to ban the sale of cookies made with sawdust, despite the producer’s claim that they were a traditional vegetable product. The unnamed baker had been operating a mail order business, selling his sawdust cookies all over Germany. He openly listed sawdust as an ingredient on the packaging of his biscuits, and had already written to the city of Karlsruhe about his practice back in 2004, but received no answer. Then, in 2017, a routine examination of a biscuit sample led to a sales ban which he then contested in court.

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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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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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