An Awful Bite of Lamprey, or Gamey Brown Bear

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We were excited the other day when we got an email from a producer of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods”. He asked us about Ethiopian cuisine, since they were doing research for an upcoming show.

Since we had just published a wonderful article by Matthew Keady about a bike trip through the country, we replied with some links and our friend Marie Javins also got in touch with them about her experiences a few years back eating in Ethiopia.

Tonight I watched the show’s host Andrew Zimmern dig into a small piece of marinated lamprey eel, while in St. Petersburg Russia. After a small nibble, he described the fish as ‘really bad, with an ammonia after taste.’ It was refreshing to see this big barrel chested guy actually admit that something was awful.

Then he was served a patty made of brown bear, which is a common menu item all over this city. Funny, thinking of these huge carnivores as a common food. They make it like meatloaf and it has this sort of mineral type of aftertaste that the host said was ‘common in large animals.’

To drink on the street, St Petersburg residents like to drink very weak beer,from a portable keg that vendors pour drinks out of, charging just 25 cents a glass. It’s 1-2 percent alcohol, they call it ‘children’s beer.’

We hope that this Travel Channel producer deems our advice on Ethiopia worthy of mention, either in the credits or on their website. It’s always fun to hear from television shows, who seem to find us the way many others do…on Google searches.