Roundup: Facing your food fears

Nicholas Dekker, Columbus Alive contributor
Chicken Feet at Sunflower Chinese Restaurant

During this season of ghosts, ghouls and all things scare-inducing, Halloween aficionados are looking for ways to pile on the frights. Whether its skeletons, witches or zombies, it's time for all of us to face our fears - and culinary concerns shouldn't be exempted. So, this season, tackle your food fears at these five eateries.

Bonifacio has arrived as Columbus' first full-service Filipino restaurant. It recently started hosting monthly Kamayan nights, a Kamayan being a giant, family-style meal eaten with your hands. The opening feature of the Kamayan is balut, or a fertilized duck egg hard boiled in the shell. Fertilized means, yes, there's a growing duckling inside, which means a meatier consistency. The exact makeup of the balut depends on how long it's been aged. As you get into 20 and closer to the 30 days, expect more meat and less yolk. In this writer's experience, it tastes like dark meat chicken.

For many people, knowing that lengua is cow's tongue can be off-putting. I mean, who wants to eat a dish that can taste you as you taste it? Relax. It's better to think of lengua as a super tender steak - the kind that you will happily devour in taco form again and again.

Sunflower's weekend dim sum is a joyous, authentic experience. Carts are rolled up tableside, allowing diners to pick and choose small plates of dumplings and noodles and rice wrapped in lotus leaves. Among their standout dishes are the fried chicken feet. Believe it or not, there's a good amount of meat around the feet, and they're not joking around with the spice.

Just the phrase "bone marrow" is going to lose some potential diners, but you need to understand that properly prepared bone marrow is the epitome of the phrase "fat is flavor." It's soft, a bit greasy and rich as all get-out. Salt & Pine prepares a simple-but-complex version served on slices of toasted sourdough with preserved shallots and gremolata.

Raw oysters are an easy sell for many, but the slimy texture is still a sticking point for others. If you fall in the latter category, face your culinary foe this season and order oysters on the half shell at The Pearl. Supplement them with the available lemon juice or cocktail sauce (although not too much), then try putting back a couple, savoring the light, briny flavor. Just imagine you're getting a pure taste of the ocean.