While the British are renowned for their reserve in most things, especially what they eat, a new survey has revealed that once they travel abroad that reserve is abandoned and nothing, it seems, is too exotic for their palates.
The new research, which has been carried out by river cruise company, Viking River Cruises, revealed that 97 percent of British respondents said they were more likely to be adventurous with food when they were abroad on holiday. The survey also revealed the top five exotic foods that the British traveller is likely to sample, with the French delicacy, snails, leading the list, according to six percent of those polled. Frog’s legs, another dish associated with the French, but even more popular in parts of Asia, came second on the list having been consumed by five percent of respondents.
Completing the list were crocodile, kangaroo and snake, although smaller numbers of those polled admitted to being even more adventurous, having sampled sheep’s brain, cherry soup and even bees. There was also some evidence that returning travellers were keen to impress their friends with more adventurous cuisine, as part of the UK’s growing dinner party culture.
The MD of Viking River Cruises UK, Wendy Atkin-Smith, commented, ‘When we arrive on holiday we automatically feel a sense of adventure and this seems to be transferred onto our palette. The traditional dinner party is back in fashion and we are now looking to impress with international dishes rather than the traditional meat and two veg. Our chefs source their food from food markets when we dock each day to ensure Viking customers have a true taste of local cuisine.’
Eating exotic foods can also be a matter of conscience though. Shark fin soup has been the subject of protests by conservationists, due to the fish being dumped back in the sea to die once the fins have been removed, and with the harvesting of edible frogs now outlawed in most parts of France, the majority of the world’s frogs’ leg market (including France) is served by parts of Asia, where the depletion of frogs in the wild and the cruelty associated with the trade has also attracted criticism.