Mysterious things Steve Yi has eaten

I read with some fascination Steven Yi's Mysterious Things I Have Eaten, since I have had four out of five of them myself. And I love the little story he tells about sea cucumber.

Kimchee, like lutefisk and surströmming, most likely comes from the days before refrigeration. The acid produced by fermentation preserves (what's left of) the food.

Oh, and if you're keeping score:

  • Dried squid: Too salty. (Then again, I didn't have the jerky type; mine was shredded.)
  • Sea cucumber: Awful.
  • Kudu poop: Haven't tried it.
  • Kimchee: Not bad.
  • Shrimp chips: Awesome.
Comments (18)
  1. Tony Wieser says:

    The first time I had surströmming I was surprised that the flies didn’t land on it. I knew something was up straight away.

    That said, I did enjoy it. It’s just a pity it didn’t repel the mosquitos too.

  2. Camillo says:

    Shrimp chips are quite popular in Chinese restaurants here in Italy… is it something uncommon elsewhere?

    Apart from dried squids, none of those compare to the Spanish Percebes to me.


  3. Richard says:


    1) agreed dried squid is too salty and tough

    2) don’t think I’ve had sea cucumber

    3) kudu poop – nope

    4) kimchee – sorry, but I prefer my sauerkraut

    5) shrimp chips – quite good, easy to make, just throw them into hot oil and POOF! they are done.

    While certainly not mysterious, it is unusual for people to have eaten – guinea pig, pigs ears, and all manner of offal.

  4. Andy says:

    Shrimp chips are really hard to find over here in the US or at least they are here in Portland Oregon. I have to go to a special oriental grocery store to get mine. I got introduced to them when I was stationed in England in the Marine Corps. I absolutely love them I just wish they were easier to get.

  5. Anonymous Coward says:

    I’d say you’re four for four. It doesn’t sound like he actually ate the Kudu poop. Putting something into your mouth and spitting it out, doesn’t count in my books. So give yourself an extra pat on the back, you achieved a perfect score, you are the master.

  6. Andy says:

    The only strange critter I’ve managed to eat has been jellyfish. It is just like you would imagine, like flavorless jello that has been left out on the Tundra for months to toughen up. It seemed like the most pointless unsatisfying food you could manage to choke down.

  7. Mike Dimmick says:

    When in Iceland I was told of a recipe for fermented shark, which I believe is called "hakarl". The thought of it is not appealing, so I didn’t try any. See

  8. TimMisiak says:

    You know it’s funny, I wasn’t fond of kimchee the first time I had it, but thinking back I would definately eat it again.

  9. Chris Walker says:

    One of the few non-technical books in my office is "Unmentionable Cuisine" by Calvin W. Schwabe. Chapter titles include: Horsemeat, Dog and Cat meat, Rodent and other Mammalian Meat, Small Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Eels and Lampreys, Insects and Other Land Invertebrates, and Milk, Eggs and Fish.

    Recipes included but of course.

  10. marlinj says:

    This reminds me of a community in the deep woods of Mississippi called Providence where my dad was the Methodist minister. They had an annual event which could be accurately described as a celebration of our place in the food chain, but we always called it the Varmit Eat. A carnivore’s delight involving much frying, barbequeing, and roasting of a wide variety of meats. I recall beef, pork, venison, goat, rabbit, squirrel, (o)possum, checken, dove, quail, frog legs, rattlesnake, and alligator. And it was all quite tasty.

  11. uniware says:

    Haha. Suggest you visit China and enjoy Chinese foods. We have so many kinds of foods.

  12. X.Static says:

    Haggis.  ‘nuf said.

  13. jeffdav says:

    Shrimp chips are not pleasant.  

  14. Rob says:

    Shrimp chips are huge here in The Netherlands. You can buy them normal, chili, whatever. Eaten a *lot* with Chinese food, which from what I understand, is more like a special Dutch version of Chinese food.

  15. Revenant says:

    I assume "shrimp chips" are what’s known as "prawn crackers" here Down Under in Oz – little pink things you fry in oil or put in the microwave and they expand into big pink things that crackle on your tongue?

    They’re both a) fairly commonplace here, and b) awesome. :)

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