When travelling, we want to experience the different cultures of the countries we are visiting. This usually includes trying their foods, which sometimes can be rather strange to our taste.
The following foods might seem weird and bizarre. But in other countries they are considered to be delicacies.
Although eating these foods might seem extreme to us, for people where these foods originated it might be completely normal.
Table of Contents
10. Tuna Eyeballs (China and Japan)
Tuna Eyeballs are commonly eaten in China and Japan. They can be found at almost any Japanese grocery store.
The tuna eyes are quite large in size. Prior to consumption they are usually boiled and then seasoned.
Some also fry it and serve with white rice and soy cause. It tastes something like squid.
9. Fried Tarantulas (Cambodia)
When you see a tarantula, eating it is probably the last thing on your mind. But in Cambodia it’s the favorite street food and a very appreciated delicacy.
The chosen species for this yummy crunch are usually a-ping and Thai zebra. They are about the size of a human hand.
Cambodians cook them by first tossing in garlic and salt, and then deep-frying them until they turn crisp. Mostly people eat just the legs.
Only the bravest eat the abdomen, as people have mixed feelings about its taste.
8. Bird’s Nest Soup (China)
The Chinese have been using the Swifts’ nests in different varieties of soups for hundreds of years. Right now you are probably imagining twigs and leaves of a nest, but Swifts’ nests are made out of their saliva.
The soup they make is called “Caviar of the East”, which has a unique gelatinous and rubbery texture.
This soup is believed to be rich in proteins and minerals, and have aphrodisiac qualities.
Birds’ nest soup is one of the most expensive animal products on the planet, as the nests can be harvested only 3 times a year and collecting them is a treacherous process.
7. Puffer Fish (Japan)
Eating this delicacy you’ve got to be careful, as it is one of the most lethal foods. Its skin and insides are filled with poisonous tetrodotoxin, which can be deadly, as there is no known antidote.
The puffer fish is the ultimate delicacy in Japan. Only expert chefs that have a license are allowed to prepare it in restaurants.
Some of the chefs like keeping a bit of poison in the fish, enough to create a light tingling sensation on the mouth and lips.
6. Snake Wine (Vietnam)
For a wine with a difference, how about wine with some snake blood notes? This wine that originated in Vietnam is a bottle of rice wine with a venomous snake inside.
Before drinking, the snake is left in the rice wine for months, allowing the poison to dissolve in the wine.
It is not dangerous, as the ethanol makes the venom inactive. Before serving, the snake’s belly is cut to let the blood drain into the wine.
It’s believed to have medical qualities.
5. Live Octopus (Korea)
One of the traditional Korean dishes is Sannakji, which is live octopus. The still alive octopus is cut into pieces, then seasoned with sesame oil and immediately served.
Eating a live octopus is not just mentally challenging, but also physically. To devour it, you need to fight with your food as the tentacles still keep wriggling around and stick to any surface they touch.
They should be thoroughly chewed. Otherwise, they can be a choking hazard.
4. Escamole (Mexico)
One of the Mexican delicacies is ant larvae, or as the Mexicans call this unusual food “insect caviar”. It’s harvested from the roots of the agave plant.
It has the consistency similar to cottage cheese and tastes kind of like butter, but with a slightly nutty flavor.
3. Haggis (Scotland)
All it takes to make this Scottish delicacy is a sheep. In this dish you get to eat a bit of heart, some liver and some lungs. It’s cooked and served in stomach lining.
Cooking requires boiling in the stomach for about three hours, then you can douse it in salt and it’s ready to be devoured.
2. Balut (Philippines)
Balut is probably one of the most heart-wrenching and shocking dishes. In Philipines it’s a common food snack, but to most of us this is probably too disturbing.
Balut are fertilized duck eggs with a duck embryo inside. Cooking requires just boiling.
They are served right in the shell. Most people first suck out the juice contained inside, then break the shell and eat the unborn baby duck.
Some prefer it not yet formed, when it’s just 17 days old, while others like it around 21 days old, when it already has a beak, feathers and bones.
1. Grasshoppers (Worldwide)
Grasshoppers, as well as other insects like crickets, beetles and worms are loaded with protein, which makes them a popular delicacy in many parts of the world.
If you go to Bangkok, Thailand, all around you’ll see carts filled with these deep-fried insects.
In other parts of Asia, the grasshoppers are also fried and sold in street markets.
In Mexico they call them chapulines and serve with lime and garlic.