Friday, May 22, 2009

Space Station Team Inspires Foodies

The International Space Station team tasted recycled liquids on board this week, even clinking cups of recycled sweat, urine, and atmospheric moisture refined on a closed-loop system on NASA TV. Flight Engineer Mike Barrett confirmed that the product "tastes great," while another astronaut was seen catching balls of recycled water floating around the ISS. If you're intrigued by unusual food and drink, how about planning a few trips with a culinary focus?

For the daring types who have always wanted to travel in South America, consider going to Brazil to try local cuisine. Luxury hotels abound in Rio de Janeiro, and you still get a chance to snack right on the beach if you please, as well as sample local beers in open bars, cafes, and kiosks. After you check in at the Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro or Copacabana Palace Hotel booked through, head down to the beach to try grilled "queijo de minas," or cheese made in Minas Gerais, which you can buy straight off the heat and nibble off the stick. If you're feeling even more daring or are already burned from the beach, head to a local bar, or boteco, to try testiculos de boi, or bull testicles. This tasty treat is simply slit down the middle and salt-and-peppered before being fried. Wash them down with a Skol beer--they are kept at freezing temperatures!

Another popular foodie destination is Asia, and visiting Shanghai may surprise you with its depth of local and international cuisine. When you emerge from your luxury hotel, go out in search for Xiao Long Bao, which remains one of the top foods to try in Shanghai. Xiao Long Bao is a steamed dumpling dish filled with minced pork and jellied chicken or pork stock. The textures and juices will keep you flagging down your waitress to order more before you finish your first bowl. You also might want to take a day to wander to the Muslim market in the central area of Jing'an, where you'll find spicy cold noodles, lamb broth, lamb skewers, and extra-large dumplings. When you get thirsty, you won't find a Coke, but you can try a thinned yogurt drink sweetened with honey and served over ice.

Have you discovered a tasty treat while vacationing? What was it?

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