Monthly Archives: September 2017

The big quirkiest food festivals

Tomato-drenched crowds wading through a lake of passata at Valencia’s La Tomatina festival might be a familiar image, but such passionate and eccentric celebrations of food are far from unique.

Across the globe, there’s a smorgasbord of wonderfully bizarre festivals dedicated to edible delicacies, ranging from the conventional to the questionable (ostrich testicles, anyone?). As Mexican radish carvers prepare their perishable sculptures for the Christmastime Noche de los Rábanos (Night of the Radishes) on December 23, we bring you our shortlist of the best:

1. Night of the Radishes
Where? Oaxaca, Mexico

During Oaxaca’s long-running Noche de los Rábanos, the humble radish enjoys a spectacular, Cinderella-like transformation. The crunchy root is expertly carved into nativity scenes, celebrity figurines, animals and many other innovative creations.

In what must be one of the world’s most distinctive Christmas celebrations, queuing spectators tour the city’s Zócolo, admiring the intricate sculptures competing for the highly contested “grand prize”.

2. Roadkill Cook-Off
Adventurous carnivores will find plenty to tempt their palates at West Virginia’s annual Roadkill Cook-Off. Crowds gather in the small town of Marlinton to watch chefs and amateurs rustle up dishes such as “teriyaki-marinated bear”, “rack of raccoon” and “squirrel gravy”.

Competing for cash prizes, entrants are bound by the rule that their menu must feature “any animal commonly found dead on the road”. Once the grills have cooled, a square dance, beauty pageant and dog show provide extra entertainment.

3. Monkey Buffet Festival
Where? Lopburi, Thailand

Every November, Khmer-era temple Phra Prang Sam Yot hosts an extraordinary feast for the mischievous long-tailed macaques of Lopburi. The revered monkeys take a break from their usual antics to devour hundreds of kilos of beautifully arranged fruit.

Tourists soak up the spectacle as the monkeys ascend colourful pyramids of pineapples, dragon fruit and watermelon, graze on plates of bananas and grapes, and occasionally pause to swig from cans of soft drinks.