Cryptic Cuisines

Last week, we got to know about some of the most obscure dance forms from around the world. This week, we’re going to look at some of the most obscure foods from across the globe. While some dishes may seem mouth-watering to you, some may make you feel obnoxious as well. Let’s embark on a journey to the astronomical universe.


Tumpeng is a cone-shaped rice dish indigenous to Indonesia. Served with dishes of vegetables and meat, it is cooked by using a cone-shaped bamboo container. People in Bali, Java, and Madura usually cook Tumpeng to mark an important event. Tumpeng dates back to the ancient Indonesian tradition of revering the mountains as the abode of hyangs, the spirit of gods and ancestors. The cone-shaped rice resembles the mountains. Tumpeng is a symbol of gratitude and during the gratitude ceremony, the top of the Tumpeng is cut and given to the head of the family.


Hakarl is the national dish of Iceland but wait, it’s not for the faint-hearted. It consists of the Greenland shark or other sleeper sharks which has been cured through a heavy fermentation process and hung to dry for four to five months. Hakarl contains a large amount of ammonia and has a strong smell similar to that of cleaning products. Famous chef Anthony Bourdain described Hakarl as “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” he has ever eaten.

Mirza Ghassemi:

Mirza Ghassemi is an Iranian dish prepared mainly of tandoori or grilled eggplant. It has its origins in Northern Iran and the Caspian Sea region. It consists of eggplants seasoned with garlic, turmeric, tomato, oil, salt and pepper bound with eggs. It is usually served with bread or rice and its variant with zucchini instead of eggplant is known as Kadoo Ghassemi.


Dhindo is a meal native to Nepal. The preparation of Dhindo is simple. Millet flour or corn flour is mixed with boiling water while continuously stirring the mix. Dhindo is eaten by making small balls of it and dipping it in a cool liquid such as lentil soup, meat soup, or milk. It is often served with chutney.


Malewa is prepared by using smoked bamboo shoot. Malewa originated from Eastern Uganda in the Bugisu sub-region. Malewa can be served raw, boiled, or steamed.  It was originally eaten as food and later it started to be cooked as a sauce when mixed with ground sesame seeds or peanuts.

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