The Top 5 Strangest Condiments

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When most people hear the word “condiment” they think of ketchup and mustard, and perhaps relish. Some of us might image a bottle of A1 or a jar of barbecue sauce, or perhaps you picture any of the hundreds of varieties of hot sauce out there when your brain gets on to the whole condiment subject. What we are willing to bet the average American diner does not consider are any of the five condiments we’re discussing today. But as strange as these foodstuffs might seem to the domestic palate, each of them is as unremarkable as a bottle of Heinz 51 in their native cuisines.

5 Wasabi

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The American sushi lover is no stranger to this potent green paste! The edible paste is derived from the root of the wasabi plant, which is in the same family as the mustard and horseradish plants, FYI. A good dollop of wasabi can send a jolt of searing, sinus-clearing pain through the diner’s throat and nasal passages, one that briefly hints at impending death yet which passes quickly and is strangely enjoyable (to some). Beyond the cuisine from whence wasabi came, Japanese cooking, this foodstuff now graces everything from fish to roasted peanuts to steaks.

4 Fish Sauce

If you enjoy the more traditional foods of many Asian countries, especially countries from Southeast Asia such as Vietnam or Cambodia, chances are that you love fish sauce (alternately called Nuoc mam, prik nam pla, etc.) and may not even know it! That’s because countless dishes come drenched in this sauce made from fermented sea creatures. Everything from krill to sardines to anchovies are used to produce fish sauce, which often has a deliciously sweet and bitter taste, and a smell that is just the worst.

3 Miracle Whip

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You don’t have to go shuttling around the globe to find weird, rather disgusting condiments; just head to any major chain grocery store (not counting the stores concerned with organic and/or edible foods, that is) and look for a tub of Miracle Whip! This holdover from the Great Depression was created as a cheaper alternative to mayonnaise, so right there you know you have a problem: if you can’t afford mayo, please do without until you get that raise, don’t settle for this unnatural, unholy blend of soybean oil, cornstarch, egg and a whole lot more.

2 Pâté

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In general, we are against foodstuffs that have been highly altered from their natural forms. Thus we are opposed to pureed carrots, creamed corn and fish sticks. And we are definitely opposed to spreadable meats. Especially a ground, almost creamed meat mixed with animal fats. And most especially when that meat is specifically the liver of a bird raised on a wildly unhealthy diet just so its bloated liver could be harvested. But that’s exactly what foie gras is—chief offender of the already gross “spread” enjoyed the world over, the fat-and-meat goo called Pâté.

1 Vegemite

This condiment goes by a few names, such as Vegemite, Marmite, and Promite to name a few. It is a paste made from the yeast leftover after beer brewing is mixed with spices and vegetables. It is a popular condiment in many parts of the world, most notably Australia, New Zealand and many British territories. Now, the Brits have never been known their fine cuisine, right? And here’s one reason why: this condiment. Most varieties taste like a blend of seaweed and stale beer. If this is an acquired taste, it is one we have yet to acquire.

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