South America: Feast of The Not So Common Food (Part 2)

Weird Food 1

You have heard of Ranjani's food escapades in South America but it's not over yet. She dishes out what other food stuff you should try if you are there!

Text by Ranjani Rajandran
Edited by: Desirae Tan

1. Kala Purkha – Bolivia
You may have heard of food being prepared over hot stones, but in the little town of Potosi in Bolivia, a traditional soup known as the kala purkha is prepared by dropping hot stones into the soup to cook it. This corn-based soup usually contains meat and vegetables, and is cooked by dropping red hot pumice stones into it. The resulting soup is served still bubbling from the hot stones, so be careful not to burn your tongue, or break your teeth!

Weird Food 2.1Bubbling hot Kala Purkha

Weird Food 2.2Pumice Stone in the Soup

2. Chicken Hearts – Brazil
An average Singaporean may not flinch at the sight of chicken feet served up with a side of noodles, but a particularly interesting delicacy in Brazil is barbequed chicken hearts. These little roasted hearts are reminiscent of local satay skewers, but each chicken heart has a firm bite. Grilled to perfection with minimal spices, they are juicy and have a good chewy texture to them. Perfect for a nice afternoon snack when you’re feeling just a little peckish!

Weird Food 2.3Grilled Chicken Hearts

3. Alpaca and Llama – Bolivia, Peru
Weird Food 2.4Llama Chicharon

Feeling hungry but beef seems to have lost some of its appeal? Try an alpaca steak instead! Alpacas and llamas, raised for their high quality wool, also double up as a healthier alternative to the traditional beef steak in the Andean region of South America, namely Bolivia and Peru. Alpaca meat is more commonly found in Peru, while Bolivians tend to favour llama meat. Both meats are almost sweet, and have a very strong flavor of grass (which may remind you of being in a petting zoo) because alpacas and llamas are traditionally reared as free-ranging animals. Their meat is more tender than beef, and contains far less fat and cholesterol. Alpaca meat is also less stringy than llama meat, but both beat beef in terms of health benefits!

Weird Food 2.5Alpaca Steak with Quinoa Risotto

4. Tortoise Eggs – Peru
Weird Food 2.6Boiled Tortoise Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, but in Peru, chickens aren’t the only source of eggs. Tortoise eggs are commonly consumed by the locals, and are even preferred to chicken eggs for their more unique taste. The eggs resemble slightly deflated ping-pong balls, and are usually prepared by boiling them for a few minutes. The resulting egg is slightly gelatinous in texture, and slightly salty, but does not have the distinctly eggy taste of chicken eggs. Very delicious indeed!

Weird Food 2.7Weird Food 2.8Tortoise Egg served with Plantains