Seasoned travellers always say that the best way to experience a place is to “eat like a local.” However, the world isn’t just about delectable cuisines and tasty street eats. There are cultures whose local delicacies range from intriguing to weird and even plain disgusting. And as you continue to go places, you’ll come across weird delicacies so revolting that you’ll wonder about the other horrible things people across the globe actually eat.
If you’re the adventurous type who can definitely take on a foodie’s challenge, it’s time to put your palate and your stomach to test. Here is a list of of the weirdest delicacies from around the world that will surely gross you out. Be prepared to cancel your dinner plans.
When travelling to Scotland, prepare to munch on sheep’s internal organs because haggis, the country’s national food, is a mixture that includes the poor animal’s heart, liver, and lungs. The innards are mixed with grains and seasoned with salt and spices before it is stuffed inside a sheep’s stomach and then simmered to perfection. The weird delicacy is best consumed with sides of mashed potatoes and turnips and makes for an iron- and fibre-rich hearty meal.
If you think you can eat sausages every day of your life, wait until you try sundae, or blood sausage, a well-loved local delicacy in South Korea. Although surprisingly delicious, a lot of foreigners visiting the country find it absolutely disgusting, especially when they find out that it’s actually seasoned cow or pig’s blood and boiled rice stuffed in an animal’s intestine casing.
A weird delicacy that not many people can stomach, balut is a popular street food in Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It is basically hard-boiled fertilized duck egg, complete with a 14 to 21 days old embryo inside. Other than looking incredibly crude and barbaric, it looks so unappetising that it’s hard to believe that people can actually consume 2 to 3 pieces of this strange food in one sitting.
Out of the strange edible things you will encounter during your travels, fried tarantulas are a delicacy guaranteed to make your skin crawl. A specialty in the town of Skuon in Cambodia, the bizarre yet protein-rich snack is made by seasoning the insects with MSG, salt, and sugar before deep-frying them in garlic. Typically crunchy on the outside, it is surprisingly soft and gooey on the inside, thanks to the animal’s internal organs, eggs, and wastes. If you are not deathly afraid of spiders, it’s worth a try.
One of the most popular yet undeniably weird delicacies in the Philippines, particularly in Palawan and Aklan, tamilok – or woodworm – is a mollusk that feeds on dead wood and rotting plants. It is eaten raw and usually dipped in vinegar and lime juice. And the taste? It can be a lot of things – salty, slimy, creamy, and jelly-like – pretty much like slurping up mucus, some people say. Ewww.
Another one of those weird delicacies you should definitely try are silkworms, or beondegi, as Koreans prefer to call them. Boiled, steamed, or fried, silkworm pupae are satisfying to munch on.
If you think a baby octopus is cute, wait until you visit South Korea where eating sannakji or a live octopus is fairly common. This dish is prepared by cutting up the tentacles of a live baby octopus and then dishing them up real fresh such that the parts are still squirming. Pretty harsh, we must admit, and dangerous, too. The tentacles can latch onto a consumer’s throat, causing choking, or worse, death.
Fugu, or pufferfish, a delicacy in Japan, is definitely one of the world’s weirdest and scariest delicacies. The pufferfish has poison that’s more than a thousand times stronger than cyanide. And a single fugu has enough toxin to kill 30 people so think long and hard before trying this exotic and yet oh-so-deadly delicacy. Fugu can only be prepared by a licensed chef who spent years studying the safe preparation of this strange Japanese delicacy.
A favourite Mexican delicacy, escamoles is a dish made by frying the eggs and larvae of large black Liometopum ants in butter or in oil. Boasting a pleasant nutty taste, escamoles makes for a delicious filling for tacos or eaten with tortillas and guacamole.
If you’re probably a huge fan of cheese but what if it’s embedded with live maggots — will you still eat it? A Sardinian sheep’s milk cheese, casu marzu, is made my letting flies lay their eggs on the surface of the cheese so that when these hatch, the maggots will break down the fats, giving the middle of the cheese a very soft texture. Only cheese with live maggots is deemed safe for consumption.
Tong zi dan, or virgin boy eggs, is a delicacy in the city of Dongyang in China’s, Zheiyang Provnce. It is prepared just like China’s or Taiwan’s famous tea eggs, except that the eggs are soaked, boiled, and cured in a pot filled with young boys’ urine in a daylong process. The local delicacy – albeit weird and gross – is a springtime tradition and recognised as a cultural heritage marker in Dongyang. While urine-boiled eggs is definitely one of those weird delicacies that also shock most people’s sensibilities, the locals of Dongyang love these eggs for a number of reasons – they are tasty, fragrant, and nutritious.
Rocky Mountain Oysters
Rocky Mountain oysters may sound like a delectable seafood dish but make no mistake, there aren’t any oysters in it at all. What you’ll find are bull, pig, or sheep testicles. Commonly served in places where cowboy culture is still alive, the testicles are served grilled or deep-fried. Is this one of those weird delicacies you’re willing to try?
Coconut beetle larva
In places where there are many coconut trees, locals harvest coconut beetle larvae that feed on the young shoot of healthy trees. These succulent, protein-rich worms are usually fried or skewered and cooked over open flames, and have a creamy and nutty flavour. Would you be brave enough to put one of these worms inside your mouth?
Thailand is home to many weird delicacies, and one of them is laab luad. Popular in Northern Thailand, laab luad is a dish consisting of raw pork or beef, fresh blood, herbs, and spices. The uncooked meat, minced to a pulp, is sweet and tender and will give your lips a pink to blood-red hue. The weird delicacy is to die for, literally, as it can potentially kill you by introducing parasites and all sorts of bacteria into your system.
If there’s one single Japanese dish that visitors to Japan would probably hate, it has to be shiokara. The popular Japanese snack is made by slicing seafood meat in bite-sized pieces and them mixing them in a thick paste of salted fermented innards. It has a strong, rotten smell and a taste similar to cured anchovies that easily puts off most people.
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