Where to find Perth's weirdest food!
Let me get this out of the way — I’m no foodie. I just like to eat. And I love weird food.
Or should I say, “weird food”, because, to be frank, I don’t find things like tripe and tongue all that strange. At least not until my friends give me that look. If you have an adventurous palate you may not find these foods weird at all. In fact, you may be able to tell me the best spots for finding them around town. But for conventional eaters wanting to stray from the mainstream, and experience a wider range of flavours and textures, here’s how to find it around Perth.
Raw fish (sashimi) and raw beef (tataki)
Raw, uncured fish (sashimi) and beef (tataki) feature at many of the Japanese restaurants around town. They’re perfectly safe to eat, so long as the meat is fresh, clean and handled properly.
Though you can get raw salmon and tuna in sushi and donburi (ricebowls) at most takeaway spots, just a short swim upmarket nets you the freshest melt-in-your-mouth experience. My favourites are Zen Restaurant (Subiaco) and Restaurant Jun (Perth), combining a cosy atmosphere with premium quality food, reasonable value and friendly, down-to-earth service.
Barbecued chicken heart
One bite of barbecued chicken heart, and you know why “hearty” is the perfect adjective to describe some dishes. Expect a thumb-sized nub that’s full of flavor, the kind you’d expect from liver and kidney.
My first chicken heart was the coracao de frango at Lapa Brazilian Barbecue (Subiaco). It was one tiny but spectacular dish among the many meaty delights brought out to you as part of their endless feast.
Imagine eating the crunchy parts from a chicken drumstick – that texture is pretty close to what eating jellyfish feels like. It doesn’t have much flavour on its own, but pairs well with salty and tangy dressings. Get it at MOM Dumpling House in Victoria Park, served with cucumber and peanut. I’ll admit, however, it’s not my favourite flavour of jellyfish salad — I prefer it with shredded duck, carrot, sesame seeds and sweet chilli.
Nothing like a bowl of bugs to kick off the evening! If you’ve ever eaten a bug as a child (or unfortunate adult), you’ll know they’re not the most delicious source of food. Well, I can confirm these are different. Just try not to think of them as your garden-variety critters. These are light and crispy, savoury-seasoned, high-protein snacks with a soft centre. No lingering bitterness, no grit — just a few chews and it’s like they weren’t even there.
As of this article, the only place in town I’ve found that serves them is El Público, the Mexican tapas place in Mount Lawley. Enjoy them with the beef mogo mogo (banana-battered beef brisket) and a tequila/mezcal tasting flight.
Good news: eating beef tongue is nothing like accidentally biting your own tongue. For starters, the meat is sliced super thin, perfect for barbecue and steamboat. Korean BBQ places like Seoul Buffet (Northbridge, Victoria Park, Subiaco) and Tong 86 (Northbridge) usually serve it, but if you don’t going out for the evening, you can get frozen tongue slices at many Japanese and Korean grocery stores.
Kombucha (fermented tea)
If you like apple cider, you might enjoy kombucha. It’s a slightly fizzy, very mildly alcoholic, fermented sweet tea traditionally consumed as a health tonic. It comes with a range of health claims, but science still calls for further study before those claims can be proven.
None of this makes kombucha any less tasty or refreshing. As of this article, commercial preparations go for about $5 a pop at IGA and Coles supermarkets known for carrying a gourmet range. Alternatively, ask your more kitchen-inclined friends if they have a spare “kombucha SCOBY” you can use to make your own. If they can’t help you, they may know someone in the Preserving and Fermenting Australia Facebook Group who can.
A delicious alternative to cow milk, camel milk isn’t sour like goat and sheep milk, but has a smooth mouthfeel and, in my opinion, a slight biscuity flavour. According to WA producer Good Earth Dairy, camel milk is low in lactose and fat, while rich in calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and vitamin C.
Given how many supermarkets stock camel milk at the moment, it’s a wonder how this can still be considered a weird food. At any rate, here’s the recommendation to try it, in case you needed the excuse.
What do you think? Do these foods seem normal to you? Are there any you absolutely wouldn’t try?
Written by Emily Boney
Written by Emily Boney
Written by Emily Boney