Our Worst in Food

You’ve seen our best, now prepare to eat our worst.. in food.

We ate well this past year, arguably some of the best dishes we’ve ever had. But a year of travel means a lot of meals, and with a lot of meals means we’re not always going to luck out on good food all the time.

Nothing really puts a damper on our day more than having wasted money on bad food. You know how much Gerard prides himself in having a great meal. Lucky for us, it didn’t happen often while we were on the road. Here are those moments I wish we could take back for my taste bud’s sake.

OzyMex from down under.

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I’m sorry my Aussie friends, but if you can’t do it right, please don’t do it at all. We were desperately missing food from home and decided to try this in Byron Bay. I should have known by the name alone, OzyMex. Ugh.. they didn’t even know what pico de gallo was when we asked for it. Haha.

Fire-y Szechuan from hell.

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Look at those chilis! We love spicy food and were really looking forward to trying authentic Szechuan while in Shanghai. Unfortunately, the peppercorn and oil from this fish dish killed my palette and burned my tongue at first bite leaving me completely numb for hours. Not our kind of spice.

American Chop Suey in India.

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It’s as gross as it sounds.. and looks. We needed something other than Indian food for once and Gerard braved the menu and order this Chinese fried noodles with veggies, gravy and a fried egg dish. Not his brightest menu decision I’m afraid.

Mystery meat dumplings.

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Don’t be fooled. They may look pretty in picture, but they sure as hell don’t taste good. We couldn’t read the menu and nobody spoke English at this dumpling restaurant in Xi’an. We think it may be lamb, but it’s got this musky odor and gamey taste that made my stomach turn at first whiff. We took one bite and left the tray as is.

Cuy in Peru.

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I had high hopes for cuy, deep fried guinea pig, but they were a huge disappoint. First of all, they’re just ugly to look at on a plate. Second, there is absolutely no meat whatsoever. It’s an oily, stringy- textured, meatless animal that’s not pretty to look at.

Candied apples in Beijing.

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They look cute, but one bite of this and Gerard spat the whole thing back out. The texture of the apple itself is mushy and almost spoiled-like. We tossed the entire stick because giving it away would just be cruel and unusual punishment.

Half-hatched duck eggs.

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I know we’re Vietnamese but even our iron stomachs can’t handle hot vit lon (also known as balut), fertilized duck eggs that are partway incubated. These were a courtesy of Gerard’s cousin. Poor thing, he had to eat two before his cousin let him off the hook.

Euro Thai curry is not curry.

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After weeks of schnitzels and sausages, we were in dire need of Asian food in Austria. We came across myIndigo, a feel good, healthy fast food joint serving up dishes like soups and salads, noodles and curry. It did not taste anything like Thai curry, but it sure did taste  extra ‘healthy’.

 

What are some of your worst in food memories?

 

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  • http://expatedna.com/ Edna

    I’m impressed G got through not just one, but two eggs. Props. (What do they taste like??)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      It tastes like a hard boiled egg w/ an unborn duck in it. Must eat w/ salt & pepper or lemon. I had to have quite a few beers before I could it down.

  • Ashley of Ashley Abroad

    That picture of chop suey cracked me up… dear lord! And OzyMex sounds terrible but I can totally relate- there’s next to no Mexican food in Paris unfortunately.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      That picture is quite mortifying. I gave up on finding Mexican food elsewhere and just started making it myself when we travel. It’s actually cheaper and really easy to do. Try it.

  • http://twitter.com/20sTravel Stephanie

    I might steal this post idea from you! It’s funny that most of the disasters occur when you try food outside the standard country cuisine. Always gets me in trouble too!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      LOL, go for it! Do you have one better than the chop suey? Hehe

  • http://www.suitcaseandheels.com/ Melissa

    One of my worst had to be a miserable pasta carbonara dish I had in Dubrovnik. The first couple bites tasted good but it very quickly became way too rich and salty. It was also lacking in protein so was essentially a big bowl of pasta and salty cream sauce. I couldn’t finish it.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Ugh, pasta is the hardest and yet they’re everywhere. I’ve learned to make our own when we’re on the road.

  • http://www.dangerous-business.com/ Amanda Williams

    Ugh I can’t look at photos of balut without wanting to gag. How in the world did G eat TWO of them?!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      With lots of salt, pepper and lime. LOL

  • http://www.neverendingfootsteps.com Lauren

    We ALSO went to OzyMex in Byron Bay and it was SO BAD!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Bahahaha.. that place needs to be shut down! Dominos around the corner is way better. :P

  • http://twitter.com/20YH Tony K + Steph H

    We tend to think we have a pretty high tolerance for trying new foods, but balut is definitely on our “no chance in hell!” list! While we were in the Philippines, we had lots of little kids come up to us trying to get us to buy balut, and Tony was always like “Do I look like the kind of person who would eat balut?!?” Kudos to Gerard for getting through TWO of those things… I think I’d take one bite and then burst into tears!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yea, we’re adventurous eaters too but this is definitely on my list as well.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/30HomeGames 30HomeGames

    I’m a believer that Balut gets a bad rap because people get turned off by how it looks. Its too close to home as it looks like what it is (duck embryo). But as far as taste goes, its pretty great for mine.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Kuddos! We grew up on this stuff and still can’t do it. Like durian.. haha

    • KCCO

      Ditto

  • Caroline Eubanks

    Hahaha I had the nachos at OzyMex when I was in Byron. Just looking for a taste of home, which it was NOT.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      We ordered that too! What a tease, right?!

  • askbenny

    Well there’s your problem, you ate Sichuan food in Shanghai. Next you two visit China, make your way to Chengdu to try actual Sichuan food. It’ll be spicy but that’s the way it’s suppose to be!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Duly noted. The place was way too fancy to be authentic anyway.

  • http://www.cubiclethrowdown.blogspot.com/ Rika at Cubicle Throwdown

    Ooooooooooh…yucky :( The worst food memory I have is from Peru… I ate some kind of undercooked llama in a watery sauce (while recovering from food poisoning). No bueno!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      oh my. I can only imagine how that’d be. We had llama steak too in Peru and I can only imagine how it would be undercooked. eeesh

  • Maria Falvey

    balut is really tasty and there’s little to worry about with beaks,etc… if you get a young egg.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      My dad use to let me eat the whites and yolk part, and you’re right, the young ones are not so bad. But I think Gerard’s uncle bamboozled him because these were quite mature. :P

  • CaptainandClark

    Balut! NOOOOOO! I’m normally up to try a bite of anything but after watching Chris suck it down I just could not do it. No no no! I will say that it smelled just like a regular boiled egg. Not sure about the texture though.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      It’s a bit tough to swallow… literally.

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  • http://exchange.adelinawong.ca Adelina W

    I managed to find some decent Vietnamese in Vienna. Probably a bad choice in going with a fast food place. At least it doesn’t look bad!

    Kudos for trying the balut. I’m not sure I could stomach it!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      At the Naschmarkt? I think we went to the same place.. the bowl of pho was decent. Lol

      • http://exchange.adelinawong.ca Adelina W

        Yea, that’ll be the place. =)

  • http://www.facebook.com/migrationmark Mark Wiens

    Ohhh man… I just had a plate of American Chopsuey here in India the other day too (had no clue what I was about to get, just wanted to eat some vegetables) – turned out to be one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten in my life… a few slices of cabbage lathered in ketchup… absolutely horrible.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Hahaha.. no way?! Sounds like a horrible experience. =P

  • http://twitter.com/adventurocity Adventurocity

    Half of your examples are trying food not native to the country you are visiting. In my experience, outside of North America, I’ve found this is just asking for trouble. More often than not, it is going to be, at best, a sad approximation of what you are used to enjoying. And if it is good, it’s going to cost you dearly compared to something just as tasty or better from the local cuisine.

    I find it interesting that as I get older, I am becoming more adventurous in my eating, when many people probably go in the opposite direction. I had balut in the Philippines many years ago and didn’t like it. I had it again in Cambodia two years ago and found I could eat a couple. On that same trip, I also tried fried tarantula. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad, just ho hum — good beer snacks. Later that year, when I was in Shanghai, I ate Sichuan-style dog and Yunnan wood bugs. The dog was great, the wood bugs not, maybe because they were frozen. Fresh ones could have been better. I’ll have to go to Yunnan to check it out.

    Food is such a big experience of travel, I think it’s important to have an idea of what the cuisine is like in places you intend to visit. Find out what the local specialties are because that is what they do best. Those who live in multicultural communities are fortunate in that they can try different cuisines without having to leave. And if you don’t like those foods, then you’ll want to stay in international chain hotels if you do visit those countries. It’s worthwhile revisiting foods you don’t like after some time. Your tastes may change. I disliked olives for a very long time. Only in about the last five years have I come to enjoy them. So, you can teach an old dog new tricks if the dog is willing to learn.

    Cheers,

    Rick.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yea.. I guess we had it coming trying cuisine outside the country’s norm. Some days we were just desperate for the comforts of home. But we’ve learn to not have Mexican and Vietnamese outside of the States now (or Mexico and Vietnam) after countless tries and fails.. Haha. But some times it does pay off to be a bit adventurous. We had arguably some of the best Italian foods in China and Vietnam. =D I don’t know if I’ll ever get use to balut (or olives, we still don’t like olives) but I’ll revisit it again. =)

      • http://twitter.com/adventurocity Adventurocity

        Yes, you’re right, Kieu. It depends on where you are and doing a bit more homework than making a casual choice based on the look of an exterior. Recommendations from expats are a good bet. Locals who have never had the authentic foreign food, may think that what is good is actually mediocre. I experienced this when some friends in Hong Kong took me to a higher end American-style steakhouse that was Chinese owned and operated… predictable results. On the other hand, one of my favourite restaurants in Hong Kong was Lebanese, run by a couple who were serving dishes made from the husband’s clan’s recipes. They even had an excellent red wine from Chateau Musar. When you first walked in, if you noticed the photo on the back wall of the owners with the last governor, Chris Patten, and his wife, you’d know you’ve found good food.

        Good luck in your future food adventures. May your pot always be full!

        • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

          Thanks, Rick. I think you’ve inspired to write another post – the delicious foods we’ve had outside the country’s norm. Haha. And you’re right, expats will usually stir us in the right direction. We had awesome Mexican food in Chiang Mai, a tip from an expat. Owner was an American expat. =D

  • http://harindabama.com/ Bama

    Okay they do look and sound bad. I have had balut once in Manila and I must say that was the weirdest food I have tried to date. I would think twice if I had to eat it again. But it was a fun experience nonetheless.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Right?! It’s a strange food. I will say, I have tried the really ‘young’ ones where the chick isn’t fully matured, and it taste like a regular egg. =P

  • Jade Johnston – OurOyster.com

    Oh my… that chop suey looks TERRIFYING

  • fannypacksandmuffintops.com

    Hey guys, I love your blog! The worst thing I’ve had so far living in Germany is Suelze, which is basically meat parts sealed in gelatin made from other meat parts. I ordered it by accident (thinking my German was better than it was) and tried to power through it but failed miserably. There may have been some gagging.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Ugh, gelatin meat? Sounds gross. lol

  • kmmyp

    woah thats really a HOT plate of Szechuan…

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Hot is an understatement. haha

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