Necessity might be the mother of invention, but her sister starvation is our patron and muse.Between feast and famine lie a thousand kinds of mushroom, fungi, crawling critters and stranger things still. The people of Araea are compelled by their circumstance to seek whatever nourishment they can in the caves and on the barren surface. Almost everything will find its way into the cooking pot at one point or another, no matter how unpalatable it may seem. This experimentation has lead to everything to the delicious and popular Chnagahn, to the death of an entire village trying to eat the alien Meteorite Tick. Below are some of the dishes and drinks commonly enjoyed in Araea. Well, "enjoyed", in some cases.
Beetle-Roast Skewer Beetles skewered through an iron with cubes of fungi or whole mushrooms between, then roasted over an open fire. It is a common dish either eaten in several skewers for lunch or dinner, or as a snack. Popular in bars or out of street vendors stall. A common sight among spectators enjoying a match of Saen-Kaw. Pleasantly crunchy.
Fungi Beer Known by countless names and coming in countless variants, the humble fungi beer is by far the most popular drink in the caverns. One or two fungi are used to ferment the alcohol, sometimes spices. Every brewery have their own blend and taste, guarded fiercely. Sometimes sweetened with lead. The draught is cloudy and the without spice, the taste is musky.
Popper Pot Made with the juicy popper grub, the dish and the bug both get their name from the high liquid content of the grub and the way it pops when bitten. Popper Pot consists of grubs heated on a skillet until they burst, then simmered in their own juices. Water is sometime added to dilute the flavor of bug or to extend the stew. Mushrooms and fungi, roasted or boiled, are mixed into the pot and the whole is eaten and drunk. Deep, pungent taste. When the bugs are eaten, the liquids that remain are often used as stock.
Khabas Khabas is one of the more common baked goods in Araea. Fungi is ground and dried, then mixed with the spongy Samagh mushroom that help it stick together. It is mixed with water or beer to create a dough-like substance, seasoned with salt or additional fungi for flavor. Once baked, they have the consistency of a airy sponge or a tough, Hattick-like bar depending on the baking and concentration of water and Samagh.
Mashu-Koi Mashu-Ko is an uncommon dish, only found in the colder caverns across Araea. A large cave lizard is gutted and filled with fungi, mushroom and many Feathered Bats then sewed back up. The lizard is buried under rocks and left to ferment until ready. Different chefs have different definitions of "ready", but it usually when the mixture is very ripe. It has a strong taste with elements of licorice, and a mushy, gooey texture.
Tahari Tahari are deep-fried, crushed spiders wrapped in kelp or sea-weed from the Abyss. Served either as rolls or in balls. Local variants flavor the dish additionally with different fungi, mushrooms and moss. A popular meal to sell from food stalls and markets.