5 countries, 5 weird foods I dare you to eat Comments Off on 5 countries, 5 weird foods I dare you to eat 3502

Part of the adventure of traveling is trying things that are weird and different. That also applies to food.

People around the world eat all sorts of strange things – from fried spiders in Cambodia to live octopus in Korea. Often these bizarre delicacies are a part of the culture, perhaps a tradition evolving from necessity and eating what is available. Over the years these odd foods are cooked to culinary perfection and become a fascinating part of the culture of your destination.

I’m a huge advocate of trying new and strange local foods when you travel. Okay, they might not be appealing at first but it’s all part of the adventure. Here are five foods from five different countries that you really should try if you travel there – I dare you.

(Note: I am only recommending weird foods that I have actually eaten. I’m not going to tell you to chow down on a rotten shark in Greenland if I haven’t actually done so myself. These are strange foods that have been tested by yours truly and are not as horrifying as they might sound.)

Peru – Guinea Pig

Fried or roasted Guinea Pig is a Peruvian delicacy. I ate it in Aguas Calientes, the evening before I visited the beautiful ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.

When I tell most people that I have eaten Guinea Pig (or Cuy, as it is called), they are disgusted – in our Western culture this animal is generally considered a cute pet. However, Guinea Pig has been a staple in the Peruvian Andean diet for about 5,000 years.

After all, these creatures are the ideal animal to farm in the steep Andean mountains – they are high in protein, they don’t take up very much space and they eat vegetable scraps. Plus, they are pretty tasty when slow-roasted with a bit of salt and pepper to make the skin crispy. Overall, it tastes a bit like a rabbit or dark chicken meat.

When you order Cuy be warned – it will show up on your plate whole with the ears, legs, snout and tiny feet still attached. If you can get past the horror of this, it is customary to eat the meat with your hands. Watch out, Fluffy has a lot of tiny bones so it’s best to go slowly.

Thailand – Crickets

You know how a handful of potato chips or salted peanuts goes down really nicely with a cold beer? In Thailand, they feel the same way about fried and salted crickets. Crickets have been part of the Thai diet for a long time, the tradition originating in the poor northeast where crops were hard to grow. Plus, crickets and grasshoppers were pests in the rice fields, so eating them was a win-win – pest control and a source of protein.

These insects are usually fried up in a wok and then seasoned with Thai pepper powder and a bit of Golden Mountain sauce. They are only around 1-2 centimeters in length and you can just pop them in your mouth and crunch the entire thing (if you are brave enough).

I ate crickets prepared by a street vendor while on a drunken night out in Bangkok. They really weren’t so bad – salty and crunchy and a bit spicy. However, if I am being honest I prefer potato chips with my beer.

Australia – Kangaroo

Australians like to say that they are the only country in the world that eats its national animal. That’s not really true though, there are a few. Plus, I think your average Australian doesn’t eat kangaroo on a regular basis – perhaps because of the 1960s cartoon Skippy the Bush Kangaroo made everyone sentimental towards these animals.

However, Kangaroo meat can be found in the supermarkets in Australia and I dare you to try it while you are there. You can buy some and cook it yourself, or you can find it in many local restaurants. I tried it for the first time at a “Roo and Wine for $11.99” night at a pub in Melbourne. It was delicious – juicy and meaty and with a slight gamey taste, a little bit like venison or alpaca. My partner Lee even prepared some kangaroo meat in a curry… he called it “Vindaroo.” **groan**

Kangaroo meat is actually really awesome for your health and for the environment. Kangaroo produces less greenhouse gas methane than cattle and there are so many of them in Australia that they are regarded as pests – hunted by professional shooters in a strict quota system. It’s healthy, low in saturated fats, high in iron, high in protein, wonderfully lean, and deliciously tender if you cook it properly. It has been eaten for many generations by the aboriginal Australians, who would roast the tender and succulent tail in a pit of burning embers.

Scotland – Haggis

Great chieftain o the puddin’-race indeed. The Scots love their haggis so much that famous poet Robbie Burns wrote a much-celebrated ode to this dish. They will eat it with everything, including in toasties, on pizza, in a baked potato – but the traditional way of serving it is with neeps (mashed turnip) and tatties (mashed potatoes).

So what is it? In 2003, a study revealed that one-third of American visitors to Scotland actually thought that haggis was a real animal that could be caught. However, it’s not. (Silly Americans!)

Haggis is a sheep’s stomach that is stuffed with the minced odd, random bits of the sheep such as the lungs, liver, heart, etc. Add some onion, suet, oatmeal, salt, and spices and boil it and you’re ready to go. This makes sense historically, it’s a quick way to cook up the offal before it spoils after butchering an animal and it was a nourishing and cheap dish commonly eaten by the poor.

Although it sounds horrendous, it’s actually quite nice. Everything is all minced up, so you don’t really think about the fact that you are eating lungs or heart. It has a nutty and savory flavor and when you add some whiskey gravy it’s quite delightful. It’s a comforting meal perfect for enjoying on a rainy evening in an old pub, or as a part of a gloriously greasy full Scottish breakfast after a night of drinking.

Brazil – Coconut Tree Grubs

Last but not least, we come to THE weirdest thing I have ever eaten.

My partner and I were on a tour in the Amazon jungle when our guide grabbed a coconut from a nearby tree and hacked it open with a machete. Inside there were multiple fat grubs squirming through the coconut meat. The guide pinched one between his fingers and gave it to me to eat.

“Hakuna Matata!” I said as I squeezed my eyes shut and popped the wriggling maggot into my mouth.

Guess what? These are the larvae of a beetle that lays its eggs after burrowing deep into the coconut. The grubs spend their entire life eating the coconut meat all around them – so they taste exactly like coconut.

But before you get excited, let me warn you that they aren’t like some delightful coconut candy. While the coconut flavor is nice, the texture is pretty nasty. Imagine biting down on an overripe grape and having the skin burst and the juices fill your mouth – yet knowing that those juices are maggot insides. Coconut-flavored or not, it’s a challenging snack to appreciate.

Eating grubs and larvae is no big deal to the indigenous people of the Amazon jungle. And why not? They are an important, widely available source of protein and fat. As you’ve probably learned so far, what’s considered disgusting and inedible to one culture is considered a valuable source of nutrients to another culture.

Have you tried any of these weird foods? I dare you to try these foods – or any other strange local delicacies – on your travels. It’s all part of the adventure!

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The Netflix show you need in your life Comments Off on The Netflix show you need in your life 72479

Netflix is definitely the place to go if you are looking for the best of the best. Their shows cover all genres, niches, clichés and so much more – there’s something fun for everyone. Aside from their exclusive Netflix original series’, they also let you stream hundreds of shows from anywhere on up to six devices. The little company that started out as a mail-in DVD rental startup has grown into one of the biggest names in motion production and streaming.

Currently, Netflix has a seemingly never-ending library of top-notch award-winning TV shows. Their series mostly receive positive reviews from their audiences and the fact that all the episodes of a season are usually released all at once makes the fans even love them more. Who doesn’t love a good Netflix “binge?” It really removes the mind-numbing pressure of waiting one whole week for another episode of a series that has twenty-something episodes in a season. While we’re discussing Netflix, it’s also important to mention that they make series’ that are considered “next-generation” and “out of this world,” so it will make what we are attempting to do here extremely difficult, but we have to be tough. 😃

Listed below are some of the best series out there based on popular review and well, our opinion too. Picking one show is tough, so let’s explore some shows that made the final cut for the “one Netflix show that you definitely must see.”

The Umbrella Academy

If you are into superheroes, then the obvious choice of a Netflix original will have to be The Umbrella Academy. Although the series debuted just a few days ago, it has racked up quite the reviews from fans and critics everywhere. The extreme and unexpected turn of events was unprecedented, and don’t get us started on the bad-assery that is number five. The plot revolves around seven individuals all born on the same day through arguably miraculous means. They were, however, unfortunate enough to be adopted by an eccentric billionaire bent on saving the human race. After adopting these kids, the billionaire built a school, The Umbrella Academy to help these kids harness their powers and save the world. Surprisingly, they all quickly disbanded as they hit their late teens and sought out life outside the four walls of The Umbrella Academy, all except number one. They all reunite thirteen years later to scatter their father ashes and they stay around to investigate their father’s death and stop the apocalypse that their long-lost brother five warns them about.

This series features an unexpected ending, a cast that is to die for, and a diverse set of characters.

Stranger Things

The 80s were famous for the wacky theories that floated around everyone’s minds, Stranger Things revisits those theories and the 80s of course, and brings them to life. Join Dustin, Lucas, Mike, Steve, Nancy, and Eleven as they try to rescue Will from the Upside Down all while fighting a monster who can appear out of thin air. The show explores theories of government top-secret researchers and the discovery of alien life. The show takes an old idea and gives it a fresh new outlook. It makes most producers and writers ask questions like: Why haven’t we thought of this? The show also won a ton of awards and has fans binging the old seasons in anticipation of the next season to drop in April.

Narcos

If you love Tom Cruise in American Made then you will love Narcos. It’s the famous Netflix retelling of the rise of the drug trade in Columbia in the 80s. It recounts the life tail of famous kingpins and their battle with law enforcement. It’s filled with everything you’d expect from the legendary Pablo. It’s packed with power plays, money, guns, and of course, drugs.

13 Reasons Why

If we look at the drama section of Netflix there are a ton of great options. From the thriller Ozark to the emotional 13 Reasons Why to the insightful Orange is the New Black. This section is packed with options. If we had to pick one though it’d be 13 Reasons Why. The series offers an insight into the reasons or conditions surrounding the suicide of Anna Baker. She left 13 audio tapes that were to be passed around between people that she deemed relevant in her life and help them understand why she did it. The series is like being on an emotional rollercoaster of suspense and heartbreak, we highly recommend it.

Black Mirror

Black Mirror is one of the earliest and the most satirical Netflix productions, second to Dear White People. This series is a collection of satirical stories exploring the perceived dangers of modern-day technologies. The series is arguably one of the shows that made Netflix the streaming service it is today and it has this multi-faceted nature that allows the mind to wander.

Our top pick, because the fan loves it so much is Stranger Things.

How to ask your boss for a raise Comments Off on How to ask your boss for a raise 71103

In most companies out there today, there are measures that have been put in place to ensure that employees get promotions and, subsequently, a pay increase. But in the rest of the world we aren’t so lucky. For you to get a pay increase you have to get it done the old-fashioned way; asking your boss for a raise. Upon initial thought, most might think it’s a bad idea. Asking for a pay increase does seem suicidal in the employment front, but it doesn’t have to be. Surely not all bosses are like that but regardless of their temperament they might think the idea ridiculous unless it is supported with a long list of requirements to cushion the request.

In this world we live in, there is no way that someone who doesn’t trust you or particularly like you will choose to favor you or give you what you want. It doesn’t just work that way. It’s simply the order of things and as such your boss needs to like you, trust you and your abilities, and think you deserve a raise before he/she will actually give it to you. Asking him or her after all these boxes have been checked is going to be a breeze, a mere formality. Here are a couple of tips that will help convince your boss to say yes when you ask him or her for a raise.

Put in the time

Your boss won’t just sign off on a salary increase if he or she feels like you are not devoted and consistent. Consistency is very important in the workplace. It shows devotion and dedication to a universal goal. When you come to work on time and clock out at the very last minute your boss will see things differently. He or she will begin to think you are a hard worker and you are a step closer to getting a yes when you ask for a raise.

Increase your productivity

Staying late is but one part of the entire equation. You need to not only put in the time, but the work as well. There needs to be a distinguishable difference in the quality of your work. This will convey that you are as dedicated as you are productive. You don’t have to outshine everyone on your team, you just need to make sure that the boss knows that you provide better results than other teammates. This will make you look industrious and dedicated.

Always help everyone you can

This is a very important step in the plan. When you help your fellow workers and employees out constantly it makes you seem like you care. And this acknowledgement will help your crusade. Make sure you don’t leave the very boss you are trying to impress out. You must make it a point to help your boss when he or she needs it. You could help him/her with the financial books or help with his/her kid. Anything to ensure that the boss understands your importance.

Be a problem solver

This is usually the trump card in this endeavor. This is an instance where you come to the aid of the company you work at. There is always bound to be some form of crises sooner or later when you work at an organization. It’s simply a norm at every institution. When these problems arise and they seem like they might be more complicated and challenging than most anticipated, it’s your chance to dig deep and try to solve the problem for everyone. It’s not a do-or-die situation, but getting a raise is all about scoring points with the boss (over time) and the best way to do that is defusing a bomb that threatens the entire workplace.

Getting a raise without getting a foot in with the boss is extremely difficult. Like any reasonable person, they need to make sure that you deserve the extra sum of money that you are requesting. They can’t simply give out raises without being confident in the recipient’s ability. This is where checking all the boxes comes full circle. If you are a great employee that helps when crises strike, you will definitely be on the boss’s list.

Checking all these boxes will ensure that your request is seen as important and placed above everyone else because you have proved that you are an important part of the team and you deserve a raise. After fulfilling some or all tasks on this list asking your boss for a raise could get you a sure yes. However, it’s important to note that fulfilling this long list is not an assurance that your request will go through. There could be extenuating circumstances that could prevent the boss on signing off on your requests. Circumstances like budget cuts or seniority, etc.

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