Staring down a silkworm
Full transparency, Acura covered the costs for a day trip so that our writing team could blow money in Los Angeles finding the craziest, most adventurous eats the city had to offer. In return? They asked us to drive around in their new Acura TLX model in between dangerous and crazy food spots.
Food in Los Angeles is near synonymous with tacos, In-N-Out burgers and whatever froufrou place my foodie friends heard about at their most recent Yelp Elite circle jerk meetups. On this day, we were on the search for the underbelly of LA's food scene. We wanted the crickets. We wanted the live squid. We wanted the stuff that other cultures claim as delicacies, but make our Los Angeles colleagues cringe.
First off, let's pick up that shiny new Acura:
First off, some deadly BLOWFISH
First battle on our daylong journey was with some illustrious Blowfish. Known in Japan as Fugu (Japanese for pufferfish), the fish can be lethally poisonous if prepared incorrectly. The poison tetrodoxin, found throughout its organs, is 1,200 times stronger than cyanide.
For us, we found a trusted spot in the form of Dae Bok, a Korean restaurant in the Westlake part of Los Angeles that served the bad boy up with a host of traditional Korean sides. We didn't die, and it's definitely a dish we would order again. It was served grilled and covered in a delicious marinade.
Rattlesnake Hot Dog
This is what raw abalone looks like, before it's cut up into what you see next
At first glance, abalone can look a bit like female genitalia. Abalone is a name often given to a group of sea snails that vary in size. Masan restaurant serves them raw, sliced as pictured, and paired with a slew of Korean sides.
It might have been my initial perception or my experience with escargot in the past, but there was definitely some hard chewing involved.
Rocky Mountain Oysters
...or the testicles of bull calves. Easily one of the most palatable options of our day once you mentally set aside what it is you're eating. Available at a homestyle Chinese restaurant called Hop Woo. They have a "secret menu," but they'll laugh and give you a confused grin if you refer to it as such.
The video we put up of this poor guy moments before his timely demise definitely raised some eyebrows with our Facebook and Instagram families. Prepared fresh at the same restaurant where we tried the raw abalone (see above), watching this guy get massacred live from foot to head was the most eye-opening experience of the day.
Singapore-style Scorpions on Shrimp Toast
An unlikely host restaurant to a trio of insect varieties, Typhoon is tucked away in a lookout of the Santa Monica Airport and serves scorpions, crickets and silkworms. Seen above is a rather tasty and crunchy Singapore-style scorpion fried into a piece of shrimp toast.
As mentioned, Typhoon also serves up silkworms with four dipping sauces: chocolate, chili paste, peanut sauce and mayo. Trust me when I say none of these sauces will make the worm palatable. It could be disposition to creepy crawlies, but the soft silky outside is but a film that holds together a dirt-flavored pussy interior. You can guess that I won't be eating these things ever again.
Bird's Nest Soup
Another delicacy in Chinese cuisine, Bird's Nest Soup comes from dissolving expensive birds' nests until they form a gelatinous texture in soup. Everyone put down at least one spoonful before calling it quits, while Rudeluv rather enjoyed the experience and finished his bowl, then licked the spoon clean.
The expensive dish ($19.99) is not on the menu, and it took multiple asks of our server at the Regent China Inn before he would serve it to us.
Chicken Feet & Frog Porridge
Taiwanese Crickets Stir-Fry
Available at Typhoon at the Santa Monica Airport
Non-bizarre Palate Cleanser: Toasted Apple Pie Ice Cream Sandwich with Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
The bar at our last stop for the day, Wurstkuche, was kind enough to just hand us one of these awesome ice cream sandwiches. Thanks, homie.
If you guys want to bum around LA like we did, we actually curated a #ThrillKit courtesy of Acura that we're giving away to a lucky reader so you can live like a flossy #foodbeast for a day. That kit includes a 10-piece premium cookware set, a digital camera, a smartphone so you can geolocate all those dope spots you want to visit, a six-month, ready-to-prep meal subscription and an ultra-portable 13-spice package for those dishes you find need that might taste booboo out of the box.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. The Acura TLX “It’s That Kind of Thrill” Sweepstakes is sponsored by American Honda Motor Co., Inc., 1919 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, California 90501. Open to legal residents of 50 U.S. & DC, 21 & older. Begins 12:00 am PT on 09/25/14 and ends 11:59 pm PT on 11/2/14. For Official Rules, visit https://acura.com/