In many parts of the world, it's not uncommon to eat other bits of an animal, such as ears, stomach, feet, liver, tail, or intestines. Of course, it helps that they're cheaper and easier to get in other countries, but if you're willing to try something new, don't miss out on these delicious, varied sources of vitamins and protein.
Image by L. Richarz.
You'd be hard-pressed to find beef heart or fish head just lying around in your average grocery store. You'll have to widen your search to include butcher shops, farmer's markets, and ethnic supermarkets and restaurants. Some of these options can be spendy, but they don't have to be with these tips:
- At a butcher shop, ask if they could save you and sell the parts (liver, gizzard, heart, feet, head, neck, kidneys, intestines, tail, and so forth) they would have tossed for cheaper. Parts like the spleen and stomach (which is high in selenium) can be cheaper than liver and kidneys.
- In Asian supermarkets, you can easily get a whole fish, including the fish head at your request. My mother loves eating the fish eyes and cheeks. (She thinks they're the best parts, and I tell her she can have them.) They also more commonly sell chicken feet, pig feet, pig's blood, beef tendon, beef tripe, and animal tails.
- In Chinese dim sum, you can get a good sampling of chicken and duck feet and beef tripe. Vietnamese noodle soups, called pho, also have beef tripe, as well as beef tendon.
- French restaurants often serve poultry liver in the form of paté or fois gras.
Steak is nice and all, but once you start to explore the many other parts of an animal, you get to include a wider variety of nutrients, textures, and flavours in your overall diet. Plus, they're delicious. Personally, I'd take a hunk of stewed beef heart over rib-eye any day.
Tails, Tendons, and Tripe: A Guide to Discovering the Odd Bits [Mark's Daily Apple]