When traveling the world you immerse yourself to different cultures and traditions. Partaking in different and bizarre foods is all a formality. My theory is “you’ve got to try everything once”, but that theory might have to take a backseat on this one. Some of these foods are too bizarre whatever the native practice or background may be. So, Bon appetit!
1. A-ping (Cambodia)
If you have arachnophobia probably not the dish I’d recommend. The fried tarantula is known to become a tradition when food supplies were short in parts of Cambodia. But for those who come across these, it apparently has fleshy white meat which tastes like chicken and cod.
2. Fugu (Japan)
Ever heard of something called tetrodotoxin? Well for those who haven’t, it’s a poison that is 1,200 times stronger than cyanide. Yeah I know right? Why on earth take the chance eating it? If that wasn’t enough, one fish has enough poison to kill approximately 30 human adults and can cost upwards of a couple hundred dollars.
3. Witchetty Grub (Australia)
This little number is the larvae of a moth or beetle and has been a staple for the local aborigines in Central Australia. In its raw form it apparently tastes like almonds, but when cooked over hot ash it resembles similarities with roast chicken. Well so they say.
4. Sannakji (Korea)
Koreans love octopus, but they love live ones more. This traditional dish involves cutting off fresh tentacles off the octopus and eating it whilst it’s still wriggling. Much like the fugu, many people risk their lives every year whilst enjoying one of these suckers and consequently die when suffocation occurs when the suction caps on the tentacles latch on to the throat. The price you pay to eat fresh seafood I guess..
5. Puffin Heart (Iceland)
These cute little birds are a national delicacy in Iceland, but unfortunately the prepping process has a little to desire for. Much like most avian varieties, first the neck is broken, then it is skinned, finally extracting the heart. The only thing that may be different is that the heart is then consumed raw, not cooked. RAW!
6. Escamoles (Mexico)
Okay you’re probably thinking that this looks fine, a matter of fact it looks very palatable and even delicious. Well the thing is that, this isn’t rice, grain or beans. It’s actually the larvae and pupae of a specific type of ants, which are harvested at the roots of Agave plants.
Apparently very buttery and nutty with a texture which is soft and gooey much like cottage cheese. Hmm… Yep looks can be deceiving!
7. Tong Zi Dan (China)
Speaking of looks can be deceiving this will knock your socks off in disgust. So let me explain by saying what this egg supposedly does for you. According to those who live in the Dongyang region in China this specific process this ordinary egg goes through treats yin deficiencies, lower internal body heat and improves blood circulation. That sounds all well and good except for one catch. Its boiled in a prepubescent boys urine… and collection is either done through a direct deposit into a bucket or through collection from primary schools…
8. Hakarl (Iceland)
Another odd one from Iceland. This particular delicacy entails catching what is known as a ‘Greenlandic Shark’ and gutting it whilst fresh. But then fermented (or rot essentially) under some sand and rocks until its soft and gelatinous. They do this process for approximately 6 – 12 weeks to remove all the uric acid from the meat, then cures the meat like the photo above for about 2 to 4 months.
Well this doesn’t so bad compared to what’s already made the list, but unfortunately you have been mislead. Hakarl apparently smells like cleaning products crossed with rotting cheese and it only gets worse once you bite into one of these!
9. Surstromming (Sweden)
Don’t touch this stuff if you cant even stand the smell of tinned tuna from your local grocer. This will probably have you dry retching and struggling for air.
According to scientists who have researched on this product, it is said that surstromming has one of the MOST putrid smells from any food product. Much like the Hakarl, the surstromming is created through a fermentation process which pretty much makes the fish super acidic and gaseous.
10. Rocky Mountain Oysters (USA)
Legend says that consuming these succulent suckers will increase your masculinity and elevate your sexual performance. Brought on by cowboy culture these have also been known by other names such as calf fries, prairie oysters, Montana tendergroins and swinging beef. Still don’t know what it is? Well it’s fried up bulls testicles.
These have been eaten for centuries all around the American West for centuries, it is said to be that the reasons of ‘why’ is simple. During the process of castration (when the males get the snip) of calves they have hundreds and thousands of pairs of gonads, so through the pure reasoning of ‘why not’, both economically and logistically they feed themselves for a feast.
11. Balut (South East Asia)
I’m not even going to lie, this is probably one of the only few photos of a balut on the internet you can look at without gagging. If you are bold or curious type balut into Google and scroll through the images.
For those who do not know what this is, its a developing duck embryo which is boiled alive and eaten in the shell. These can be eaten by itself with light seasoning right down to being in an omelette or pastry filling. The texture apparently is quite soft as it is only within its developing phase, but depending on how far along they are in this process the white parts may be very cartilaginous.
12. Tuna Eye (China & Japan)
I am not sure if you can read the Japanese written in the top left corner of the packaging, but it clearly states that it’s “tuna eyeballs”. According to many sources the tuna eye is rather chewy, much like squid or octopus. Although staring at these might get into your head, it’s apparently quite palatable. Who would of thought?!
Often seared lightly and seasoned or added to a dish of your choice to make your experience as pleasurable as possible. So perhaps give it ago? It’s your call!
13. Haggis (Scotland)
Do you enjoy a succulent lamb?
Well the chances are you’re not going to like this kind of cooked sheep. A regular haggis consists of all the offal of a sheep (the parts which are USUALLY discarded; lungs, hearts and liver) minced up and added to the sheep’s stomach along with seasoning. So how does it taste you ask? Well, I’ve personally tried haggis, and I personally don’t mind it. Like a lot of things, if you let it get to your head you’ll probably regret it immediately, but in reality it has a flaky texture from all the oatmeal and a combination of LOTS of spices. Looking back at it, I would probably try it again, but I have eaten some weird s*** in my time so tread carefully.
14. Kiviak (Greenland)
Have a look at the picture above. Any guesses what this is? Here are the clues: 1. It’s a traditional Greenlandic dish which is often served during their winter. 2. It can often be served during celebrations E.g. Weddings and Birthdays. 3. People have mistakenly died due botulism poisoning.
Still no idea? Well simply put, what you see above is a gutted seal stuffed with about 500 birds. Yep. 500 little birds known as Auks go into a hollowed seal! But that’s not the end dish. The end dish requires the 500 whole Auks (beaks, feet feathers and all) to be left inside the sealed seal and ferment for about 7 months. Then apparently you eat it. I’m not sure even if I can withstand the stench let alone the taste of it!
15. Blodplattar (Finland & Sweden)
Also known as a blood pancake is a Scandinavian dish which consists mostly of a cows blood. This traditional dish is definitely more on the savory side of pancakes, it is usually filled with onions and mixed spices.
So, if you ever have the sudden craving for flattened coagulated beef blood just Google the recipe. It looks pretty easy to make!.
I bet your either feeling really hungry after all that reading, but keep installed for ‘part 2’. Coming Soon!