Travel writer reveals the worst things she's eaten

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  • MailOnline Travel’s Sadie Whitelocks reveals the things she’s eaten on her travels
  • While visiting a Masai Mara tribe in Tanzania she was given a cow’s blood broth
  • At an event in New York the martinis came served with sheep’s eyeballs 

Sadie Whitelocks for MailOnline

Vegetarians and the squeamish, stop reading now.

MailOnline Travel’s Sadie Whitelocks has revealed some of the most stomach-churning things she’s eaten on her travels.

Sheep’s eyeballs, cow’s blood broth and strips of bull’s penis are among her more memorable snacks. Read on to hear about her indigestion-inducing food encounters, which are likely to deaden rather than rouse your appetite…

Giant grasshopper 

Grub's up! Sadie was once tasked with helping the famed Bug Chef, David George Gordon, prepare canapés for an event in New York

Grub's up! Sadie was once tasked with helping the famed Bug Chef, David George Gordon, prepare canapés for an event in New York

Grub’s up! Sadie was once tasked with helping the famed Bug Chef, David George Gordon, prepare canapés for an event in New York

I was once tasked with helping the famed Bug Chef, David George Gordon, prepare canapés for an event in New York.

The quirky kitchen hand, who is the author of numerous books including the Eat-a-Bug Cookbook, is known for experimenting with a range of unusual ingredients including crickets, spiders and dragonflies. 

My task for the day was dressing dozens of giant grasshoppers so they looked a little more edible.

Over the course of about three hours, I wrapped hundreds of large grasshoppers in thick cuts of bacon, with pineapple chunks skewered through the centre.

At the event I got to try one of my creations. The chunky bacon was divine – lovely and smoky – but the grasshopper was crunchy.

After giving the insect a good chomp, I felt like it burst in my mouth and the innards weren’t tasty. It was very leggy and had a musty cardboard-like flavour. I definitely needed to check my teeth after for bits of leg and wing.

Tarantulas  

The Bug Chef likes to rustle up tarantulas

The Bug Chef likes to rustle up tarantulas

He singes off all the hairs before dunking them in a light batter and deep frying them

He singes off all the hairs before dunking them in a light batter and deep frying them

Hairy encounter: The Bug Chef also likes to rustle up tarantulas. He singes off all the hairs before dunking them in a light batter and deep frying them

During my day with the Bug Chef I also watched him prepare tarantulas. 

It gave me shivers down my spine as hundreds of spiders lay motionless in catering trays. 

David freezes the tarantulas first, then removes their abdomens before singeing off all of their hairs with a blow torch. 

He says the hairs are irritants, and if you don’t prepare the tarantulas properly, you can make people ill. 

He finishes them off by dunking them in a light batter and deep-frying them. I had to admit, they weren’t too bad and had a nice crispiness but I couldn’t help think about what I was eating.

Suddenly the nursery rhyme There Was an Old Lady sprang to mind…  ‘There was an old lady who swallowed a spider, That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her.’

Thankfully no wriggling or jiggling occurred. 

Cow blood broth 

A supper to remember: While visiting a Masai Mara tribe, Sadie was offered goat meat

A supper to remember: While visiting a Masai Mara tribe, Sadie was offered goat meat

Cow blood broth mixed with bile was also on the menu

Cow blood broth mixed with bile was also on the menu

A supper to remember: While visiting a Masai Mara tribe, Sadie was offered goat meat (left) and some cow blood broth mixed with bile (right)

When I’m a guest at someone’s house for dinner I eat what I’m given. 

But when I visited a Masai Mara tribe in Tanzania I contemplated ditching that rule, as I was handed a cup of cow’s blood broth.

The steaming liquid had a slight green colour and someone kindly told me the blood had been mixed with a spot of bile. Splendid.  

As the Masai Mara smiled before me, I wasn’t sure if they were jolly or playing a practical joke. 

With everyone watching, I took a gulp from the cup. The liquid was extremely bitter with a putrid meaty flavour wafting through.

It reminded of being in a farm barn, with hay drowned in rotting faeces.

The drink was meant to invite good health but I felt decidedly ill after one sip. I was then offered a goat’s leg. It was definitely a supper to remember.

Fermented shark

Tricky to digest: In Iceland Sadie was up for trying some of the country's wacky and wonderful delicacies, one of them being Hákarl, or fermented shark

Tricky to digest: In Iceland Sadie was up for trying some of the country's wacky and wonderful delicacies, one of them being Hákarl, or fermented shark

Tricky to digest: In Iceland Sadie was up for trying some of the country’s wacky and wonderful delicacies, one of them being Hákarl, or fermented shark

In Iceland I was up for trying some of the country’s wacky and wonderful delicacies, one of them being Hákarl, or fermented shark.

The preparation involves hunks of Greenland shark being put in a box for six to nine weeks. After that, the meat is hung for several months, letting any poisons seep out.

I purchased a small pot of shark meet from Icelandic Fish & Chips in Reykavik. Four small cubes came in at around £5.

I was advised by the waiter to eat it with Brennivín, a clear, unsweetened schnapps to eliminate the taste. But in a bid to be brave and with alcohol in Iceland expensive I decided to plunge straight in with my toothpick.

It didn’t smell too bad, with a spray of vinegar disguising the disgusting taste I was about to encounter. 

It had a texture like I imagined tuna steaks would have, if you left them out for days. 

The taste was indescribably bad, with waves of fishiness intermixed with bursts of ammonia flavour. With no schnapps, I rinsed my mouth with hot water and lemon. The rotten fish aromas haunted me all day. 

Puffin

Along with fermented shark, another unusual food on offer in Iceland is puffin

Along with fermented shark, another unusual food on offer in Iceland is puffin

Sadie tried the sea bird at the highly-acclaimed Fiskmarkaðurinn restaurant in Reykjavik

Sadie tried the sea bird at the highly-acclaimed Fiskmarkaðurinn restaurant in Reykjavik

Along with fermented shark, another unusual food on offer in Iceland is puffin. Sadie tried the sea bird at the highly-acclaimed Fiskmarkaðurinn restaurant in Reykjavik

Along with fermented shark, another unusual food on offer in Iceland is puffin. 

Most eateries rustle up recipes with the seabird, from grilled to fried.

Heading to the highly-acclaimed Fiskmarkaourinn restaurant in Reykjavik I ordered a plate of smoked puffin.

The bird came beautifully presented with a lychee glaze and baked onion accompaniments. 

Despite its delightful dressing I found it tough to eat the blood-coloured meat, which tasted like a cross between liver, kidney and duck. 

I think I’d rather spot puffins in the wild than on my dinner plate.

Sheep’s eyeballs 

Eye can see you: At an event in New York, Sadie tried a different kind of martini with sheep's eyeballs provided as garnish

Eye can see you: At an event in New York, Sadie tried a different kind of martini with sheep's eyeballs provided as garnish

The eyeballs were tricky to chew and a round of whiskey was required to cleanse the palette

The eyeballs were tricky to chew and a round of whiskey was required to cleanse the palette

Eye eye: At an event in New York, Sadie tried a martini with sheep’s eyeballs as a garnish

I’m a fan of martinis but this particular cocktail left me shaken and stirred.

At an event in New York hosted by the famed Explorers Club, I was given a martini with a sheep’s eyeball staring back at me.

The large eye was threaded on a skewer with an olive and pickled onion, making it slightly more appetising. 

I’d already had a whiskey and was feeling brave, so down went the eyeball.

In a bid to taste its real flavour, I gave the hard ball a chew. I wish I hadn’t. 

Some meaty jus oozed out and I rapidly swallowed the whole thing. 

 Another round of whiskey was required to cleanse the palette. 

Narwhal 

While sailing in the high Arctic, Sadie tried raw narwhal  after a local Inuit picked up a slab of meat from a local store

While sailing in the high Arctic, Sadie tried raw narwhal  after a local Inuit picked up a slab of meat from a local store

Sadie said the meat, fat and skin combination was extremely chewy and she failed to make much headway with it

Sadie said the meat, fat and skin combination was extremely chewy and she failed to make much headway with it

Dining like a local: While sailing in the high Arctic, Sadie tried raw narwhal after a local Inuit picked up a slab of meat from a local store. With imports costing an arm and a leg, hunting and fishing are still the primary sources of food

Sailing through the high Arctic last summer, we visited a local Inuit community to learn about life in the wilds and how they live off the land.  

With imports costing an arm and a leg, hunting and fishing are still the primary sources of food.

Our local guide onboard the boat, Ted Irniq, purchased a slab of Narwhal at a store in Pond Inlet in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada, for $20.

He explained that locals eat the meat raw, with the fat and skin still attached. This provides an excellent source of protein and iron.

After he sliced it up, I gave the narwhal sashimi a go. 

The meat, fat and skin combination was extremely chewy and I failed to make much headway with it.

It didn’t smell offensive and had a mild tuna taste but I failed to see what the allure of narwhal was, other than a spot of jaw exercise. 

Nevertheless, Ted appeared to be overjoyed with his purchase as he happily dipped strips of it in soy sauce.

Chicken’s foot

Clucking mad: This deep-fried chicken's foot was served to Sadie at a New York event

Clucking mad: This deep-fried chicken's foot was served to Sadie at a New York event

Clucking mad: This deep-fried chicken’s foot was served to Sadie at a New York event

The historical Explorers Club in New York holds an extravagant banquet every year, bringing together more than 1,000 explorers and scientists from all over the world.  

Appealing to attendees’ appetite, even the food at the pre-dinner cocktail reception has an adventurous twist.

One year I remember being served a deep-fried chicken’s foot. I wasn’t quite sure how to tackle the unusual canapé but I went straight in.

The bony morsel required some vigorous gnawing but even then I only felt like I was scratching the surface. 

The crispy coating was passable but I struggled to extract any meaty goodness from the lean chicken claws. Luckily I had a napkin to hand for quiet disposal.

Bull’s Penis

Sadie discovered a sign on a buffet table reading 'Bull Rod'. Her friend informed her that this was a polite way of saying bull's penis

Sadie discovered a sign on a buffet table reading 'Bull Rod'. Her friend informed her that this was a polite way of saying bull's penis

Sadie discovered a sign on a buffet table reading ‘Bull Rod’. Her friend informed her that this was a polite way of saying bull’s penis

At the same Explorers Club event I spotted a small sign on a buffet table reading ‘Bull Rod’.

My friend informed me that this was a polite way of saying bull’s penis.

The strips of white-coloured meat were in a tomato-style sauce.

The texture and colour reminded me of calamari and it wasn’t bad at all. Much more satisfying than the bony chicken foot.

Raw whale blubber

In the Faroe Islands recently Sadie was served up all of the local cuisine in one sitting at the famed Koks restaurant. She found the raw whale blubber trickiest to stomach

In the Faroe Islands recently Sadie was served up all of the local cuisine in one sitting at the famed Koks restaurant. She found the raw whale blubber trickiest to stomach

In the Faroe Islands recently Sadie was served up all of the local cuisine in one sitting at the famed Koks restaurant. She found the raw whale blubber trickiest to stomach

As they say, ‘when in Rome’, and in the Faroe Islands recently I was served up all of the local cuisine in one sitting at the famed Koks restaurant.

The restaurant lays claim to the island’s only Michelin star and its 19-course tasting menu serves up some unsavoury ingredients including maggots, fermented sheep’s broth and freeze-dried cod bladder.

The ingredient I found trickiest to stomach was the raw whale blubber.

While the fatty, translucent nub was heavily dressed in a bundle of foraged leaves – meaning I couldn’t really taste it – I could feel its funky texture.

Think of savoury Turkish delight crossed with wallpaper paste…

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