It could have been bull testicle, warthog meat or some sort of weird fish, but I tried not to think about it before biting into it. The menu called it Pipis. It was actually delicious, and I later found out it was something like chicken liver. My friends and I were in Lisbon, Portugal, at an obscure restaurant that caught our eye with the one to three euro priced food menu in the window.
I love food. I’ll eat anything and everything,especially if it’s in a new city or country. This was the most adventurous time I’ve had with food, and it started with picking things off the menu that we didn’t know what they exactly were. I started with €1.30 lemonade and beer combination, and went from there. Everything was served on a tiny plate, much like tapas, so we were able to get a bunch and share them between the five of us.
My friend Tara got an octopus salad, which I tried and fell in love with. It was crunchy and fresh, with some sort of interesting seasoning on it that made my tongue tingle. There were also cucumbers and various other vegetables in it.
Top: Meat Log. Middle: Octopus Salad. Bottom: Chicken Pipis
My friend Michaela decided to order pig ears, and the conversation went a little something like this:
“Pig ears! I’ve never had them before. Should we do it?” Michaela said.
“We’re in Portgual. Let’s do it. Hopefully they’re good?” I said.
To the waiter: “I’ll have the pig ears please,” Michaela said.
Five minutes later the waiter returns with the plate of pig ears.
“Here goes nothing,” Michaela said as we both grabbed our forks and stabbed the pig ear, which felt like stabbing cartilage (Duh. But is this what it feels like to pierce a person’s ear?) and looked like a brown shiny rectangle. We both took a bite and made the same face; our mouth curved downwards and we bit our lip.
“I can’t. Nope,” Michaela said after a small bite. I chewed a bit more, hoping the initial shock of crunching cartilage was putting me off, but that wasn’t the only thing. I didn’t like the taste, which I couldn’t exactly place, since it was nothing like I had ever had.
“Yeah, nope,” I said, chugging my beer to wash it down. I was disappointed- I wanted to love, or at least enjoy this new type of food, but personally couldn’t. I was happy that we tried it at least (after telling my friends at home they thought I was daring enough to even order it). Michaela ordered a ham and cheese sandwich which I then had some of.
My friend Zach then got something that looked exactly like a log of meat, which was chewy and wasn’t too bad. Overall, we had spent less than five euros each. I wasn’t exactly full, but was satisfied that I had tried a bunch of new food.
The next day, though, I wasn’t done with trying such interesting food. I ordered sardines, potatoes, and a salad. The sardines were delicious; I ate every last bite and wanted more.
It really pays off to be adventurous with your food. Jump out of your comfort zone and try something you’ve never had before or something you don’t recognize the name of. You might discover something you love, and you’ll probably get a good story out of it, too!