When in Bangkok for a shoot, Mugdha Godse decided to tickle her palate with some exotic Thai cuisine and boldly walked into a local eatery. The display of snakes there almost had her turning back. Determined not to be squeamish, she sat down at the table and played safe by ordering soup. "It came with plenty of worms crawling in it," the model-turned-actress reminisces. "For the next four days, I stuck to really safe McDonald’s burgers and fries."
Prachi Desai is a good little girl who eats everything, even the oh-so-bitter karela (bitter goud). But kasam se, the petite actress could not bring herself to munch on the lizards and cockroaches she found in abundance in Bangkok, even though they had been highly recommended as “tasty nibbles”.
That’s not cricket Shreyas Talpade was braver. The actor who once thought olives were the yuckiest things in the world, arrived in Bangkok for the shoot of Bombay To Bangkok in which he was playing a cook. And decided to add some local delicacies to his cookbook. “I ate some crickets and worms, deep fried,” he says.
“Trust me you don’t want to try this, ever.” Emraan Hashmi also munched on some insects when in the Thai capital. “You don’t want to know what happened next,” he laughs.
Tongue in cheek Chitrangada Singh lived with the taste of ox tongue on her tongue for days. “I had it during a trip to Japan. I had no idea what I was eating. When I did, it left me with a bad taste in my mouth for a long while after,” she recalls darkly.
For Dino Morea though the mention of Japanese cuisine brings a happy smile to the face. “I sampled it for the first time at a restaurant in the US. I’d never tried raw fish before. To my surprised pleasure it turned out to be healthy and delicious. I’ve developed a taste for it now,” he says, smacking his lips in anticipation.
All at sea Koena Mitra loves her fish too and on a night out, is most likely to settle for seafood or Sushi. Once during a shoot inGoa, the true-blue Bong called for a seafood platter. “It had squids, crabs, fish and lots of stuff I had never even seen, forget having tasted,” she recollects. Surprisingly, she relished the meal.
The only thing she didn’t care for was a wriggly jellyfish like dessert that was too sweet. More recently, Mitra dropped by at a city Sushi restaurant, Fuji, and placed an order for a Sushi platter. It included not just thinly sliced raw fish but different kinds of raw meat too. “The fish I relished but the meat I didn’t. I like my meat processed and cooked, not straight from the butcher’s block,” she points out.
Mohinder Amarnath is a Punjab da puttar who enjoys a mazedaar (tasty) mutton curry. The mutton and seafood at Barbados in West Indies was amazing, he remembers from his cricket tours to the Caribbean. “But I didn’t care for the dried ostrich meat I tried in South Africa,” says the former Indian captain who was last seen shaking a leg on the dance reality show, Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa.
Manoj Bajpai frowns darkly over the chicken in milk that a city restaurant serves. Quack, quack Tusshar Kapoor found the duck in Bangkok to be as “delicious as tender chicken” but walked out of a Carnivore restaurant in Africa after seeing the snakes and alligators on display, without his dinner.
Bhagyashree also dropped in at a Carnivore eatery in Nairobi and stayed put even after learning about the crocodiles, cockroach eggs and lizards on the menu. “But I couldn’t bring myself to taste any of this. I stuck to the tried and tested peasant and lamb. My husband, Himalaya, who is a vegetarian however stayed hungry,” she laughs at the memory.
Mention South Africa and Pooja Bedi wants to fly, literally. As a participant on the show
Khatron Ke Khiladi
, she was goaded by host Akshay Kumar to bite into some juicy strawberries that were swarming with flies.
Yuck! She took another leap forward when in Australia. “I was happily digging into a nice juicy steak till I discovered that it was kangaroo meat I was eating,” she remembers. “After that I wanted to throw up.”
Jiah Khan’s career has been progressing at a snail’s pace since her debut in Nishabd. May be that’s why a Parisian adventure ended with a bowl of cooked snails. Eew!
Lara Dutta is an adventurous eater. When in China, the former Miss Universe decided to sample the local cuisine with a vengeance.“I tried everything, from jellyfish to snakes and lots in between that I couldn’t put a name too,” laughs the lady from Blue. “The yuckiest were the worms.”
Arshad Warsi insists that it is his wife Maria who rules in the kitchen. But he’s good with eggs, and mutton. Once he even got inventive with chocolate, fruit, and everything he could lay his hands on and whipped up a lip-smacking dessert. In Thailand, the actor allows his palete to get inventive. He frequents local joints where you are served grasshoppers, snakes and all kind of creepy crawlies. “The scorpions are the worst,” he admits.
Shahana Goswami describes herself as a “hardcore carnivore”. She insists on some kind of meat being included in the menu everyday. The Rock On!! rage during a trip to Kenya popped into one of the Carnivore restaurants for a bite of rare grilled meats.
“I ordered a platter that included crocodile, anthelope and zebra meat. The crocodile was the best,” she asserts.
Shabana Azmi sampled worms in South Africa. “They tasted like shredded beef gone hard,” remembers the internationally acclaimed actress. In Moscow she experimented with horsemeat that was “salty and tough”.
“Heard about Fugu?”
Asks Imran Khan. It is the Japanese word for pufferfish and also one of the most famous and notrious dishes from the country. Prepared from the meat of pufferfish or porcupine fish, it is lethally poisonous if prepared incorrectly. “The whole body shuts down but the person stays fully conscious as he suffocates to death,” says Khan.
The encyclopedic actor goes on to say that he sampled it at Fuji, a Sushi boat and buffet restaurant in Mumbai.Was it like the last supper? He retorts, “No, I wasn’t really expecting to die. A restaurant has to have a license to serve Fugi and the chef who prepares it has to go through a five-year training. Since I was assured on both counts, there were no worries.”
All that mash!
Rahul Bose refuses to eat any kind of weird creatures. “It’s not ethical,” he reasons. He’s sampled banana flowers and lotus shoots that he finds “pretty weird”. But the weirdest dish ever invented, in his opinion, is the popular Mumbaiya Pav Bhaji.“I know this is not going to make me popular but I simple cannot fathom why anybody would want to take a perfectly good tomato and potato, along with a handful of green peas, and mash them in a concoction that’s spiced with masala, coriander leaves and red chillie powder. It’s murder of the veggies and our culinary juices,” says Bose. “And what makes it even more abominable is that this tomato-centric baby’s vomit is served with white bread soaked in butter or ghee. Kill me!”
Camel in a biryani
One never knows when he’s serious and when he’s pulling a fast one on you. But Chunky Panday insists that when in Kenya for the shoot of Vishwatma, he visited the Carnivore restaurant there and feasted on giraffe, crocodile and ostrich meat. Burp!
“I also binged on camel biryani when in Dubai and crunched on fried grasshoppers and octopus in Bangkok,” he says. “I’ve been offered dogs and snakes but haven’t been tempted to sample either yet. I did have a pigeon egg omelette and it was the yuckiest thing I’ve ever tasted.”
Once is not enough
South superstar Vikram during a trip to Syria enjoyed his meal of strawberries, hummus and chicken, even though it was what he ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the duration of the shoot. The actor who debuts in Bollywood with Mani Ratnam’s Raavan, remembers the first time he tried octopus.
“I didn’t understand the concept of Wasabi and to prove a point, I finished everything on my plate. It was only later that I learnt exactly what all I had eaten,” he laughs. He has since got hooked on to Sushi and has it home delivered when in Chennai and feasts on it at the Marriot when in Mumbai.
Until he turned vegetarian about a year ago, Vivek Oberoi had eaten some really strange stuff. Once, when shooting in Hong Kong, he feasted on frog's legs.“I've also had locust because of a dare. In Bangkok, they make a mean cheetiyon ka bhel (insect mix),” he laughs. While shooting for Company in Kenya, I dropped in at Carnivore and had crocodile, camel, ostrich and kangaroo meat.
The weirdest was something called Haggis, a Scottish traditional dish made from the stomach of sheep. He had been invited to an old Scottish castle that ran like a hotel and served the dish. Recollecting the experience he says, “I could barely swallow down the stuff. I wished at the moment that I were a vegetarian so I would have been spared of eating such strange things. And my wish came true.”