Why This Meal Still 'Haunts' Andrew Zimmern

It seems as if Andrew Zimmern is the one celebrity chef who has truly eaten anything and everything under the sun. His Travel Channel show, "Bizarre Foods," along with his website, where he details his food encounters, has shown us Zimmern sampling fermented skate in Korea, sea cucumber in Alaska, tarantulas in Cambodia, coconut tree grubs in Iquitos, and the list goes on. Zimmern has had some interesting and unique meals. But, when it comes to the dish that still haunts the host of Magnolia Network's "Family Dinner," it's of the seafood variety, and originated during a trip to Samoa.

Zimmern took to his Spilled Milk newsletter on Substack to answer fan questions and one asked him if there is one meal that haunts him. Zimmern explained in a video that there are "dozens" of meals he still thinks about and those meals are the ones he "will never experience again." To wit, the cookbook author and James Beard award-winning personality revealed he still thinks about a meal he had the good fortune to take part in while on location with a tribal people of Samoa who had about 40 family groups living along a stretch of beach that was wiped out by a tsunami five or six years ago.

Andrew Zimmern will never experience this 'once-in-a-lifetime' meal again

As Andrew Zimmern went on to explain in his Spilled Milk video, this tribe of people had a giant scallop field that was part of a tidal estuary protected by a reef. As part of their deal with the government, on an annual basis, they were allowed to harvest a couple of these ginormous scallops, which weighed upwards of 100 pounds. As Zimmern notes, "It was insane." During his visit to this community, they happened to be harvesting one, so, Zimmern got to experience "every part" of these scallops, which upon reflection, he says he will never get to do again.

This is not the first time Zimmern has recalled this "once-in-a-lifetime" meal. During an interview with The Takeout, the chef fondly described the taste of these scallops in detail, saying, "Compared to scallops from, say, Hokkaido, this was 800 times better. It was so sugary sweet." Zimmern didn't stop there. He noted that these basketball-sized shellfish required two people to get them out of the water, but when it came time to enjoy the fruits of their labor, "The tribal people were splashing calamansi and coconut juice onto raw sliced scallops, and I can't begin to tell you how delicious it was."