Munching fishbrain bread from Finland, chewing bull's testicles in Buenos Aires -- touring with the rock band Franz Ferdinand can be a real culinary adventure. But no taste bud challenge is too great

Munching fishbrain bread from Finland, chewing bull's testicles in Buenos Aires -- touring with the rock band Franz Ferdinand can be a real culinary adventure.

But no taste bud challenge is too great for lead singer Alex Kapranos, who takes fans on a tour of the world's most surreal eateries in a new offbeat restaurant guide, "Sound Bites," which is adapted from a newspaper column he wrote on the road.

Gently mocking the rock'n'roll lifestyle of overblown excess, he and the Scottish group traveled two-and-a-half times around the world in the last couple of years eating in disheveled dumps one day and five-star opulence the next.

"Sometimes I eat appallingly. Sometimes I eat phenomenally," he writes of the surreal meals he devours. Gizzard salad in Paris, potentially fatal blowfish in Osaka -- nothing is beyond Kapranos, who worked as a chef, wine-waiter, kitchen porter and delivery driver before hitting the jackpot as a rock singer.

"I never eat predictably," he proudly boasts, even though his allergy to peanuts has taught him to ask about them in a whole host of languages. "I've chipped my molars on tiny pearls from mussels in Brussels," he writes. "Yes, food is still an adventure," said the Glasgow-based singer.

Sometimes, the culinary experience is banal beyond belief: "I shove crisps, aging sandwiches and cold pizza into my gob between soundchecks, gigs and sitting on a bus drunk." At other times it is sublime, as at Arola's Kitchen in Madrid: "As a spoonful of chestnut soup with bacon ice cream passes my lips, I want to laugh because I can't believe what's happening in my mouth."

For Kapranos, half the fun is people-watching: "If you stare at someone in Glasgow, it's an invitation for a fight. If you stare at someone in Paris, it's because you want to look at them."


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