The Best Thing Andrew Zimmern Ever Ate On Bizarre Foods - Exclusive

Andrew Zimmern is known for his wildly entertaining, inspirational food shows. With the launch of his latest show, "Family Dinner," on Magnolia Network, Zimmern is furthering his mission of putting a family meal in every episode of every TV show he makes. And while "Family Dinner" is certainly capturing the attention of viewers across the country, it's also making us reflect and look back on the incredible work Zimmern has done over the years.

Perhaps his most well-known show is "Bizarre Foods." And with 350 episodes over 12 years (via IMDb), it's not hard to understand why. Zimmern's goal with "Bizarre Foods" was to inspire and encourage patience, tolerance, and understanding of other cultures across the world, and he humbly did so through sharing food.

But what was the best thing Zimmern ate throughout the span of hundreds of episodes? Luckily, we got to find out. During an exclusive interview with Mashed, Zimmern dished on the most memorable, delicious thing he ate while hosting the iconic culinary travel show, which saw him eat in every corner of the world — from Vietnam to Ecuador to Sulawesi.

Andrew Zimmern says this desert animal is incredibly delicious

With 350 episodes spanning the globe, you can imagine Andrew Zimmern had the opportunity to explore and try plenty of unique foods. With that, narrowing it down to one favorite dish was an almost impossible task.

One episode took Zimmern to Ho Chi Minh City, where he spent the day eating around town, enjoying some of the best Vietnamese food he'd ever had. "I love the cuisine of that country," he said. "I had that same experience in Chengdu, China, and in Paris, France — other cities that are real temples of gastronomy. To be able to have food in those places at that level of execution is something that I will never, ever, ever forget. I think I'm the luckiest guy in the whole world." But while he's had plenty of extraordinary eating experiences, Zimmern did note one standout.

While living with the Ju'hoansi in Botswana, Zimmern witnessed the hunting of giant desert porcupines, weighing 80 to 100 pounds. The quills were removed and used for jewelry and for tools. Meanwhile, "the inch-thick carpet of fat and skin" was taken off the animal. "We'd take the meat and bones and throw it in a tree and let it air-dry. They would make soup with it later, or just throw meat and bone into the coals and cook it," he said. "They would take this giant blanket of fur and skin and build this big fire. And when it was coals, they would throw it onto it and they would let it blacken on both sides." Once it was cooked, chunks were cut with a knife and handed out, and according to Zimmern, he still thinks it's the best thing he's eaten in his whole life.

How porcupines compare to other Bizarre Food delicacies

While porcupine ranks as Zimmern's favorite meal from his stint on "Bizarre Foods," it of course wasn't the only one he enjoyed. According to an article Zimmern wrote for Travel Channel, there were a few other experiences that were memorable enough to be counted among his top-ranked meals — like horse-mane sashimi in Japan, a donkey tasting menu from a restaruant in Beijing, and the goat butter burger once served at his very own food truck in Minneapolis, Minnesota. "Goat is eaten around the world, but often, Americans will hesitate before trying it," Zimmern wrote about the menu item. "I might be biased, but the goat burger from my food truck, AZ Canteen, is one of the best things I've ever eaten. The meat comes from my pal Pat LaFrieda, and the roasted tomatoes, charred onion, and pickles add the perfect kick of flavor."

All of these meals go above and beyond the worst things that Zimmern has ever had to stomach during his travels. The chef has a hard time with certain fruits throughout his travels, telling Food & Wine that bad fruit ranks as one of the worst things he consistently had to eat. These fruits don't hold a candle to the very worst thing Zimmern said he had to wolf down: fermented, spoiled food (like Icelandic hakarl) ranks as his absolute least favorite thing to try. It's easy to understand this objection — according to Fine Dining Lovers, hakarl (or fermented shark) smells strongly of urine and many face eating this wind-dried fish as more of a challenge than as a culinary pleasure.

To learn about family meals across the United States, check out Andrew Zimmern's "Family Dinner," which is now available on Magnolia Network, via Discovery +.