2015 brought many exciting travel opportunities our way (all work related travel for BT), unfortunately, for one reason or another, I couldn’t make any of the overseas trips. So, I traveled vicariously through the pictures that popped up on our photo stream, the stories that BT would tell me, and the souvenirs that she brought back. When it comes to souvenirs all I ask for are food items specific to the area BT travels to. Though trinkets last longer, I feel that an edible souvenir gives a special insight to the local population. Also, I like to eat. With that being said, this past year I traveled to Istanbul via a baklava to die for, Paris via macaroons that were almost too beautiful to eat (almost) and Vietnam via sh*t that was, well… pretty okay.
Aside from a few Rocky Mountain Oysters in Colorado, a daily sprinkling of ants in South Africa and a touch of monkey brain (not something I’m proud of) this Vietnamese delicacy, also known as Kopi Luwak, was one of the stranger things I’ve eaten, or drank. Kopi Luwak is known as the world’s most expensive coffee, and for that reason BT only brought back a small sampling for us to brew at home. Now, we’re not the selfish sort, so we took the poop-beans back home to Chicago with us for the holidays and had everyone take a swig!
Immediately upon finding out what Kopi Luwak was, the first thing I wanted to know was who the first idiot was to watch a civet take a crap and think to himself, “now I bet that cat poop would taste excellent with a Splenda and some half & half.” To be fair, it wasn’t just a random litter box that this guy dug around in for something to brew. The civet was eating coffe cherries and then pinching out a coffee bean-log, so we’re at least in the beverage ballpark. The beans, so they say, are thoroughly cleaned before roasting so, no need to worry about a rogue piece of corn floating in your mug.
This all sounds deranged, I know, but there is some actual science behind the madness. Apparently, when the coffee bean travels through the digestive system of the cat it is fermented and gives the brewed bean a unique flavor, elevates the taste if you will. I wanted so badly for this cup to knock me off of my chair. To throw me into a fit of putrid disgust, or ethereal pleasure. With all of the hype surrounding this brew I wanted to have a truly awesome experience. If you’re some hipster coffee snob and spend hours and thousands of dollars in pursuit of brewing the perfect cup, then maybe you could taste the rainbow (or more like the pile of cat-droppings next to the pot of gold it will cost you to buy a bag of these beans at the end of the rainbow). I certainly don’t have time for that, and much to my chagrin, this tasted like a regular cup of joe. A bit strong for my liking, but a regular coffee nonetheless.
Now, we can check that off of our list and move on to other disgusting eating habits from around the world. Century Eggs, anyone? Fruit Bat Soup? Philly Tomato Pie?
A few shots from BT’s Vietnam trip: