Travel Picks: 10 Most Interesting Traditional Foods

Fri Nov 28, 2008 6:32am EST
 
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SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Never mind slow food. Lonely Planet's travel guidebook "Best in Travel 2009" lists the global communities cultivating and preserving old food.

This list is not endorsed by Reuters:

1. Siwa Oasis dates, Egypt

In 332 BC, Alexander the Great followed birds across the scalding sands of northwestern Egypt to find the legendary Siwa Oasis. His goal was a private consultation with the oracle of the Sun God, Amon-Ra, who would anoint him the next Egyptian pharaoh, but there can be no doubt that he sampled the dates and olives of Siwa, among the finest in the world. Today each crop is still cultivated in private gardens tended in the traditional way.

2. Hachiyagaki persimmons, Japan

These priceless honey-sweet persimmons were once given as gifts to Japanese royalty. But with the tilling-under of fields for silk production, the fruit trees disappeared until the 1940s when a 20-year-old farmer launched an extensive search and located a single remaining 'mother tree.' A few elderly villagers remembered the traditional ways of preparing these persimmons and there are now 87 producers in the Gifu prefecture.

3. Mite cheese, Sachsenanhalt, Germany

Mite cheese is like something out of the Dark Ages. Prepared with an ancient technique from the Middle Ages that has only recently been revived, mite cheese may be one of the most unusual foods you'll ever eat. In Sachsen-Anhalt, raw low-fat cheese (quark) is placed in wooden boxes full of mites that crawl all over the cheese. After three months the mite's excrement turns the cheese reddish-brown, and at one year it turns the cheese black, at which point it is consumed.

4. Ijka corn, Colombia   Continued...

 
<p>The Siwa Oasis village is seen in a file photo. REUTERS/Nasser Nuri</p>