By LeAnn Nguyen
January 22, 2018

A common new year resolution is to try new things and expand our horizons. However, keeping this resolution may prove harder than it seems at first, since it may be difficult to break away from our usual routines without using up too much time or money.

Fortunately, trying to be more adventurous doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to make dramatic moves like travelling around the world. It’s possible to be more adventurous just by seeking out unusual experiences in your own backyard. Food is one example of an area where it’s not too difficult to be more adventurous, especially in a diverse city like Seattle.

These five restaurants all serve dishes that some people might consider unorthodox. For those of you who are looking to expand your palette in the new year, though, these are some excellent places to expand your culinary horizons.

Crawfish

Let’s start easy. Some might not even consider these mudbugs adventurous at all. But they’re still uncommon enough in the Pacific Northwest. Crawfish restaurants spread across Seattle with names like Crawfish King in the ID, Cajun Crawfish near Othello Station, and Crawfish House in White Center. They’re often served as a boil along with other seafood and each restaurant is known by the special sauces used to cook the crawlies.

Ethiopian Food

Ethiopian restaurants like Cafe Selam in the Central District show that you can have a novel culinary experience not only by eating something unusual, but also by eating it in a different way. Ethiopian cuisine traditionally involves the use of “injera,” a large sourdough flatbread that’s shared among diners in a group. Each person tears off pieces of injera with their hands and uses them to scoop up entrées and side dishes. Café Selam offers platters of both meat and vegetarian dishes to enjoy with your injera, making it a great option for a wide variety of adventurous eaters.

Snails

Bun & Oc in the International District is straightforward with their name, which lists the two dishes in which they specialize. You may be familiar with “bún,” or Vietnamese vermicelli noodles, which is served here in many forms. “Ốc,” on the other hand, may be less well-known – it’s the Vietnamese word for snails. While not quite as common to eat them around here, it’s very common in Vietnam, which is reflected in the variety of ways in which Bun & Oc offer the mollusks.

Smoked Pig Head

If you want to share your food adventure with a few friends, complement your drinks with a smoked pig head at Radiator Whiskey, a popular downtown cocktail bar. The half pig head comes complete with tongue and ears, not to mention an abundance of tender, smoked meat. Make sure to call the restaurant a couple of weeks ahead of time to reserve your pork feast.

Water Beetles

This self-styled “Global Street Food Restaurant” in Capitol Hill is known for making a wide variety of international foods inspired by the travels of its owner. But perhaps Nue‘s most unusual draw is the water beetles. If you’re worried about the texture, fear not—you only eat the insides, not the shells. Those who can look past the scaly exteriors of the insects will be rewarded with a well-seasoned, flavorful dish.