Eating caviar will never be as fun as the first time I tried this supposed delicacy. Now I am a foodie inspired by the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Bear Grylls but when it came to actually trying new food, I was a bit hesitant. It was of course the first time I stepped out of India and I had a hard time adjusting to the bland, almost tasteless food that Russia had to offer. No don’t get me wrong, there are certain cuisines in Russia which have some hints of flavour and taste, but that’s for another blog post, I’m going to tell you about my tryst with caviar in this one.
I’m very choosy about my sea food. Living in Mumbai, I do have a large variety in terms of fish but I am snooty. I prefer eating fresh produce, found in my Uncle’s backyard in Goa. If anyone’s ever had fresh sea food, you wouldn’t dream of having fish that has been brought in over many days from the high seas. Moscow and Kazan, the cities I was staying in, unfortunately imported all its sea food from the coastal regions of the mammoth land mass, so fresh ‘Riba’ (Fish in Russian) was completely ruled out. There was however one thing that got me curious, Caviar. Russia is famous for its caviar and I surely wanted to try it once!
Now the method of having caviar in Russia is to take a slice of bread. Plaster it with an inch of butter. Open the golden tin of caviar and scoop out the orange little balls with a spoon onto the bread and butter. Spread this evenly and prepare to take a bite. This was a bit difficult for me as I could smell the distinct odour of old fish. It was I must say, extremely revolting. I closed my nose and shoved the piece of bread in and started the awkward munching, hoping against hope that I don’t puke it out. Just when I thought the worst was over the little eggs started popping off in my mouth, oozing liquids that accentuated the taste of fish. Now that’s where I realised it was an acquired taste. Beer is bitter, but everybody loves that bitter tang that it imparts. I couldn’t brave myself up for another slice of bread with caviar. Enough of adventure for a day, I thought. A fellow traveller with whom I was sharing the caviar tin with had a ball laughing at my contorted face. Mind you I had paid 600 Roubles for a 100 gram tin of caviar.
It was a troubling experience for me honestly, but here’s the funny thing. I think I’m going to try caviar once again. It’s not to prove a point or act even more stupid. It’s simply to relive that memory and in the process hope to may be acquire the taste.