I take pride in my willingness to try most food items and make it a point to try new things when given the chance, but while on this trip I haven’t been exposed to much that can’t frequently be found in the states. The only new food item that I have gotten to try so far is cactus (though I have no idea what kind).
I first had it on accident. Since I started taking cipro, I needed to replenish my gut flora, which Activia yogurt claims to do. Though I haven’t found any studies supporting this, and am not that willing to do trials on myself, I figure that the stuff is delicious regardless so I might as well give it a shot.
The Oxxo store next door carries it, and I quickly ran in one morning last week before class to get some. There were a variety of flavors, several of which contained wheat as well as the normal fruits, and one that had a pineapple on it (I unimpressively recognized the word piña, as any American could have done) and what looked like some other green fruits, so I bought it and took off to class.
After sitting down and pulling out my notebooks and dictionaries, I pulled the top off and gave it a try. The taste was surprising, and I was first afraid that I had gotten a spoiled bottle. But I was on cipro and my belly was screwed up anyway, so I tasted it again. That time I was pretty confident that I tasted celery. Yes, celery. So I looked at the other two flavors written on the label and then consulted my dictionary. The three flavors were piña, nopal, and apio, which are pineapple, cactus, and celery, respectively. This explained the weird taste, since I was drinking yogurt with celery and cactus in it… But it was delicious.
The second cactus preparation that I had was in scrambled eggs, so I actually got to have strips of the stuff (pictured above). I was generally unimpressed. It had little taste and was slimy in texture, so I probably will not be having it again (unless it’s in yogurt!).