Exotic tastes: '1,000-year-old egg' and smelliest fruit on offer at food festival

A ‘THOUSAND-year-old egg’, shredded jellyfish, a cow’s aorta and fish balls are some of the specialties that will be on offer during a food festival taking place this month.

Eva Pau, owner of the Asian Market on Drury Street, Dublin is inviting adventurous customers to try “10 weird foods to eat before you die” as part of the festivities.

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The unusual delicacies include Japanese eel, fish balls, and durian, also known as the world’s smelliest fruit.

Known for being the “go-to” for sourcing the and wildest range of unusual ingredients, the event is one of many the Asian Market is holding during the DublinTown Food and Drink festival.

Wanting to get in on the action myself, I tasted five of the weird and peculiar dishes, including special Japanese dessert, mochi, southeast Asian fruit rambutan, jellyfish, the special ‘thousand-year-old-egg’, and spicy beef aorta.

Mochi, a rice cake dessert with a doughy shell and gooey centre, tastes like a big, chewy marshmallow.

Having a sweet tooth myself, it’s no surprise I found it delicious.

I tasted the green tea flavour, but plenty of other choices such as chocolate and coffee are also available.

The rambutan fruit is slightly bizarre – round and red, with long green hairs covering it. On the inside is a white bubble of sweet and fruity goodness – but watch out for the stone in the centre.

Having never tried jellyfish before, I was taken back by it’s tough texture – but it’s not so bad.

The ‘thousand-year-old egg’ was definitely the dish I feared the most.

It’s black and green on the inside, so it isn’t exactly kind to the eye – or the nose either, for that matter.

It hasn’t actually been preserved over the past millennium. It is soaked in a solution made of clay, ash and salt over a few months. I expected it to taste horrific, but it actually tasted like a very eggy egg.

The toughest taste test was the beef aorta.

The texture, the crunch, the thought of what I was eating on top of the light spicy taste made it one food I wouldn’t wish to try again.

However, like the rest, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined.

To try it all for yourself, head down to the Asia Market at 6pm on Thursday, October 17. Tickets cost €40.

The DublinTown Food and Drink festival kicks off on October 14 and runs until October 20.

Hundreds of businesses will take part, bringing together some of the most exclusive and diverse cuisines the capital has to offer.

Other activities festival-goers can look forward to include the Dublin Pub Historical Trail with historian Gerard Farrell, multi-sensory coffee experience with Irish barista champion Wojciech Tysler at Bewley’s Grafton Street, whiskey tasting hosted by Balfes at the Westbury and a dumpling making workshop at the Vintage Teapot, Dublin’s most authentic Chinese teahouse.

For more information and to book event tickets visit foodanddrinkfest.ie.

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