Where in the world is The Hungry Ginger?

Where in the world is The Hungry Ginger?

Map of the World - The Hungry Ginger

I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, except my Santa arrives about 7.30 tomorrow in the shape of an Uber.

I’m about to embark on a 2 month trip, covering some destinations I’ve had on the bucket list for what feels like an eternity. I’m underprepped, excited and more than a little nervous (especially at the thought of leaving my cats for 2 months).

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The hottest Chicken Wings in Sydney

The hottest Chicken Wings in Sydney

Ghost pepper chicken wings
6 Ghost Pepper coated wings.

I’ve only just recovered from trying the Palace Hotel Ghost Chilli Chicken Wing Challenge in Sydney.

I spent the night of the challenge in special amounts of pain on the couch, willing my stomach to stop trying to eat itself and most of yesterday wishing my stomach had been successful so other regions didn’t have to deal with it :/

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The Misty’s Diner Burger Challenge.

The Misty’s Diner Burger Challenge.

I’m breaking up with burgers. Specifically, I’m breaking up with burger challenges.

Or challenges of any kind that involve things like bread and cheese. Why? You may want to sit down for this. The Hungry Ginger is allergic to Gluten. On top of that … I’m also Lactose Intolerant. Seriously mother nature what the F$%&?

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‘Git’ into Offal and Beer

‘Git’ into Offal and Beer

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has some amazing events for you to sink your teeth into no matter what you’re craving. Every year I make it my mission to find a couple of events to try out dishes I otherwise mightn’t order. It’s excellent hunting grounds for strange and unusual eats.

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Being a foodie in Melbourne can be a curse.

Being a foodie in Melbourne can be a curse.

Bluebonnet BBQ
This is the meat at Bluebonnet BBQ … seriously drool worthy.

Because in Melbourne, so is everybody else.

You can barely swing the proverbial cat without someone telling you where the best coffee shop is, who does the greatest dumplings or which place they prefer for sushi. We’re incredibly spoilt for choice, any night of the week and we’re not afraid to let everyone else know about it.

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To market, to market … when in Munich

To market, to market … when in Munich

My meanderings through various cities inevitably lead me to the city market.

ViktualienMarkt
ViktualienMarkt

I find markets to be places where you can always find a plethora of local food that you mightn’t always get from a restaurant. I’m a believer that you can’t really experience a country until you eat it. A market is a great place to start.

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The Black pudding or Blood Sausage hunt.

The Black pudding or Blood Sausage hunt.

Black Pudding
Black Pudding

One food I’ve been really keen to get my hands on since arrival is a proper Black Pudding.

Black pudding or Blood Sausage (as it’s known throughout the rest of Europe) is exactly as it sounds, though more sausage than pudding. It’s generally pork blood, barley and oatmeal in a sausage skin or in Europe it’s likely to contain onion to soak up the bloodiness.

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Laverbread – Not your traditional loaf.

Laverbread – Not your traditional loaf.

Laverbread - raw
In it’s raw form

In fact it’s not bread at all …

It’s actually boiled and minced seaweed (laver): a popular ingredient in Welsh dishes, particularly for breakfast when coated with oatmeal and served with cockles.

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The Josie Bones roasted 1/2 pig’s head

The Josie Bones roasted 1/2 pig’s head

I don’t know many people who don’t like Pork Crackling…

Josie Bones
Josie Bones’ Bar

 

Other than the previously mentioned fried dried fish skins and possibly jerky there are few more appealing beer snacks.

What if your pork crackling resembled a pigs face? How would you feel about cutting into it and nomming on it then? Luckily for me, I don’t suffer from the common “I can’t eat it if it has a face” dilemma so when a friend recommended I try the roasted 1/2 pigs head at Josie Bones in Smith Street Collingwood I jumped at the chance!

Roasted pig's head
The epic pig’s head

For the unacquainted Josie Bones is known for its approach to cooking the whole animal and using beer when appropriate to cook. They also stock a ridiculously large menu of local and imported beers and are willing to recommend according to your taste.

As any large piece of meat should, it takes a while for a pig’s head to come out of the kitchen, so naturally it made sense to order a couple of the “bites” items off the menu beforehand and a couple of beers. Oysters natural, Quail Egg and Leek and Bone Marrow croquettes. Other than the oysters being incredibly fresh the other two dishes were nice but not outstanding. It left us wanting more.

You ask and you shall receive! When the pig’s head arrived we almost regretted ordering entrees as… it’s a beast! Seriously a pig’s head is really quite a thing to behold in real life, well… roasted life. The ear, the huge jaw complete with teeth, the snout and the delicious looking cheek that you could just tell would hold such juicy meat, it was very exciting and a little overwhelming deciding where to begin!

Roasted pig's cheek
The cheek

We started on the cheek, the skin gave way under the sharp knife with a satisfying crack and pop and the meat complete with crunchy skin atop lifted away from the bone with little effort. It was served with a jus (well I think it was a jus!) which cut through the very salty flavour very nicely and let’s just say that cheek was demolished in a time that would be the envy of most competition eaters!

The Kipfler potatoes on the side and seasoned rocket were mostly ignored amongst the mountain of pork, however it was nice to munch on something else to break the flavour up at points. We were recommended to try a certain beer with the pork, a sweet and sour beer called HaandBryggeriet. Whilst I understand the concept of the sweet and sour matching well with the pork, it didn’t quite do it for me. It’s a VERY strong-tasting beer that leaves a rather strong aftertaste which coupled with salty pork has more flavour overload than an original sour warhead. A pint of apple cider however… magic!

Sweet and Sour Beer
Sweet and Sour Beer

It really is surprising how much meat is on a head, other than the obvious cheek and snout it was surprising that around the eye socket and forehead held quite a bit of flesh, all with varying strengths of pork taste and all covered in more crackling than you can poke a stick at… no we didn’t eat all the crackling, I’m pretty sure if we did I’d be writing this from a cardiac arrest ward.

All in all between two people we ate the majority of the meat and I would say if you wanted a hearty meal for two with no entree this would suit most people. OR as the waitress suggested it would be an amazing thing for a larger party to order and share.

Pig's head bones
The Finished Head

 

One thing I really liked about the place was the fact that we did not feel rushed to leave. I’ve been to so many Melbourne restaurants that are happy to serve you dinner, get your drinks and the bill then rush you out of there to seat the next group. Whilst I understand it’s in the nature of the business, it’s nice to sit back after such a meal with another drink and not feel pressured to exit the building.

Definitely an experience!