Attempting to understand different cultures aren’t always so easy but it’s even harder when you have to experience something that you’ve never done before. You might be surprised to find that embryos and fried tarantulas are quite the delicacy in some parts of the world.
While you may have never thought of these ingredients to be cooked as a meal, some countries consider it delicious. Here are 50 of the most bizarre and exotic foods from all over the world that will surprise you. Maybe the day will come for you to try them out – if you have the courage.
1) Chicken Feet
Chicken feet are popular in East Asia, the Caribbean, South America, and South Africa. They are mostly made of skin and bones but are a little gelatinous in texture. They can be tasty when properly flavored.
2) Fried Brain Sandwich
Burgers are common in the U.S. but what about eating a cow’s brain? Fried brains are popular in the Central United States. They are less popular since mad cow disease and it’s illegal to serve cow brains that are more than 30-months-old.
Haggis is a dish from Scotland. It sounds harmless and looks like it could be appealing until you learn that it’s sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs chopped up and mixed with onions, oatmeal, hard animal fat. It’s cooked inside a sheep’s stomach.
Escamoles are another dish that sounds harmless until you learn what it is. Escamoles are ant larvae that is harvested from the agave plant. It’s big in Mexico and is known as “insect caviar.” It’s said to have a nutty and buttery taste.
Tripe is actually eating all over the world. It’s stomach lining of various animals, often cow. It has a spongey rubbery textures and looks like honeycomb. It’s often served with different kinds of sauces and chopping vegetables
6) Tuna Eyeballs
Lots of people eat tuna, but not everyone eats tuna eyeballs. But they do in Japan. They scoop out the eyes and boil or steam them. They then season with garlic or soy sauce.
This Icelandic dish consists of fermented basking shark. While eating shark doesn’t seem too bad, its likely the fermenting that gives this dish its funky taste. Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain said it was something one of the most disgusting things that he’s ever eat and he would never do it again. Atlas Obscura says it smells like pee and tastes like a strong cheese. Pee cheese anyone?
Wanna eat a baby duck embryo? Then you’ll love balut. It’s a fertilized duck egg with the embryo inside which is boiled alive. You eat it out of the shell with salt, chilli, and vinegar. You’re supposed to suck the liquid out of the egg the bite what’s inside, including the feathers, bones, and everything else.
9) Bird’s Nest Soup
This is a soup made from bird’s nests which is eaten in China. And bird’s nest are made from saliva. This is actually quite an expensive dish. A red bird next soup can cost up to $10,000.
Khash is a dis made of stewed cows feet and head. Yup, those are cows heads looking to the sky. Khash was a winter comfort food in the Middle East, East Europe, and Turkey but is more like a delicacy now.
11) Crispy Tarantulas
Deep fried tarantulas were originally eaten out of necessity. Starving Cambodians ate them under the Khmer Rouge regime. Now that are a snack that is served throughout the country. They are supposed to taste a little like crab.
12) Drunken Shrimp
Yes, these drink are actually drunk when they are eaten. The shrimp are eaten alive but they are stunned with a strong liquor right before they are eaten. It’s dish that is popular in China.
13) Black Pudding a.k.a. Blood Sausage
This dish is eaten in Africa, Americas, Asia, and Europe. It consists of congealed blood cooked with natural flavorings, suet, and breadcrumbs. It is then stuffed into a sausage skin.
This Swedish food smells so bad that it has to be eaten outdoors. It’s fermented Baltic herring which is called surstromming. A study in Japan found that it is the smelliest food in the world.
15) 1000-Year-Old Egg
The Chinese eat something call 1000-Year-Old eggs. But they aren’t actually that old. It’s an egg that is preserved in clay, ash, and quicklime for a few months. It ends up turning green, black and brown and has a jelly consistency. It supposedly smell like sulphur and ammonia but tastes like a regular boiled egg.
16) Gaeng Kai Mot Daeng
Gaeng Kai Mot Daeng uses ants in different stages. It includes a mix of ant eggs, partial white ant embryos, a few baby ants. It’s supposed to taste kind of like shrimp.
This dish aa raw slimy and squishy one. A chef chops up a small octopus in front of you and seasons it with sesame oil. Your dinner might still be moving on your plate when it’s served.
18) Jellied Moose Nose
How does some nice jellied moose nose sound? No? Is it the jellied or the moose nose that turned you off. Jellied moose noise is boiled moose nose with onions and spices. All the hair is removed and it’s boiled again and sliced. It’s covered with a broth that hardens into a jelly.
19) Jing Leed
Jing Leed are fried grasshoppers. They are fried up in a wok and seasoned with salt, pepper powder, and chilli. It’s like a hollow popcorn skin with a little juice in the middle.
In the U.S. we love our dogs and treat them like family. In other countries, they eat dog. Boshintang is a Korean dish made of dog meat. It’s served in a soup with spring onions, dandelions, and spices and is supposed to bring health.
Moldy corn is considered a delicacy in Mexico. Huitlacoche is corn that suffers from corn smut. Corn smut is a fungus that makes regular kernels look like weird growths with blue and black spores. Huitlacoche, which means “sleeping excrement”, has a woody/ earthy flavor.
23) Rocky Mountain Oysters
Don’t let the name fool you. These aren’t oysters at all. Rocky Mountain Oysters are peeled, flattened, and deep-friend bull-calf testicles.
24) Fried Spider
Fried spider is famous in the Cambodian town of Skuon. They are marinated in MSG, sugar and salt and then fried in garlic. They are more meaty than grasshoppers but have a brown sludge in the middle which consists of innards, eggs, and poop.
25) Kopi Luwak
One of the most expensive coffees in the world was pooped out of an animal’s butt. It’s call Kopi Luwak and is made from coffee berry beans that were pooped out by Civets, which are small mammals native to Southeast Asia. This stuff can cost up to $150 a pound.
26) Witchetty Grub
Witchetty grubs can be eat raw or lightly cooked. When raw they taste like almonds. They taste more like roast chicken when lightly cooked.
We see things flying around the U.S. all the time, but you probably never thought you could eat one. But they are eaten in places like Indonesia, Mexico, and South Africa. Apparently they taste like bitter sunflower seeds when they are prepared.
Beondegi are silkworms. They are a popular snack in Korea. They are usually boiled or steamed and seasoned lightly.
Shirako, which means “white children”, is a fish sperm sac. It usually comes from cod, angler fish, or a puffer fish. These sperm sacs are supposed to taste like sweet custard.
30) Stargazey Pie
This is a pie that has fish starring at the sky. It is tradition to eat it on Tom Bawcock’s Eve in the Cornish village of Mousehole, England. Legend says that the sailor rowed out to sea during high storms in December and came back with enough fish to feed all the starving residents in town.
31) Deep Fried Locusts
When life gives you locusts, fry them up. At least that’s what they’re doing in Israel. When they were plagued with swarms of locusts, they deep friend them covered them in chocolate and called them a snack.
32) Casu Marzu
This is an Italian cheese has been deemed “dangerous” and is apparently illegal. That’s because it’s infested with maggots. The cheese come from Sardinia and is made of sheep’s milk. It is heated and then sits for three weeks to curdle. The crust is cut off so that flies can enter it to lay their eggs. Then the cheese is left in the dark for two or three months when the eggs hatch and the larvae try to eat their way out of the rotting cheese. The excretions that pass through the larvae are what give the cheese its soft texture and rich flavor. The cheese is to be consumed when the maggots are still alive.
Mopane is a dish of caterpillars found in the Mopane tree. They are highly nutritious and eaten in Africa. They are usually fried to be crispy and can be served with tomatoes, onions, and garlic. They are also dried or smoked.
34) Guinea Pig
In some parts of the world, guinea pigs are kept as pets. But they eat them in South America. They can be served whole and roasted or put into a casserole. It’s supposed to taste like rabbit.
Starfish can serve as a meal in places like China. It is fried so it gets nice and crispy. You’re supposed to break off it’s leg and peel open the skin to get at the green colored meat inside.
36) Dried Lizards
Dried lizards are big in some Asian cultures. They are often put in soups to add extra flavoring. They are believed to have medicinal properties and are also infused with alcohol for years to extract these medicinal properties.
37) Southern Fried Rattlesnake
Lots of people will steer clear of venomous rattlesnakes. But in the Southwestern United States, they’ll sometimes eat them. The meat is boiled off their bones and then dipped in battered before they are fried.
38) Dragon in the Flame of Desire
The Chinese have given this dish an elaborate name. Don’t let that fool you. That’s a giant roasted yak penis on a fancy platter.
39) Cobra Heart
Ok now, this one is insane because the way it is served. In Vietnam, they will slit open a live cobra and pull it’s heart out. Then they pour its blood in a shot glass and sink the heart inside. Then you knock it back like you’re not eating a beating heart floating in blood.
Want to take a gamble with your life while eating dinner? Try the fugu, which is blowfish. It’s a Japanese delicacy and one of the most dangerous foods in the world. It’s filled with so much toxins that it can only be prepared by expert chefs who have trained for at least two to three years and have a license to serve it.
South Koreans make a dish called Gaebul, also known as penis fish. But it is neither. It’s actually a marine worm. It’s eaten raw and alive in Korea and served sliced while it’s still alive and moving. It’s dipped into a vinegar-like sauce.
The name is cute but a bowl of blood. Lou is a soup of raw pig’s blood mixed with other foods and spices. Apparently it tastes like creamy whole milk.
43) Soup Number Five
It should be named sex organ soup. That’s because Soup Number Five is made from bull testicles and bull penis. It is believe to be an aphrodisiac in the Philipines.
Muktuk is a dish popular in Greenland. It’s a traditional Inuit dish of frozen whale skin and blubber. It’s served raw or pickled.
45) Fruit Bat Soup
Fruit bat soup is a delicacy in Micronesia. The bat is boiled and served in a gingery and salt broth. The soups are becoming less popular since bats are used for pollination and pest control.
In places around the world, including the U.S., live urchins are pried open so people can eat their fleshy insides. But people are specifically eating their gonads. The urchin is often still moving when eaten.
47) Blood Clams
Blood clams contain lots of hemoglobin which makes blood red and they are filled with the stuff when you open then. You boil them for 20 seconds and then eat raw. Blood comes spilling out when you eat them.
Kiviak is a traditional Inuit winter dish in Greenland. It’s dead birds that rot inside seal skin. Whole dead auks are packed into seal skin with feathers and all. The skin is sewn and sealed with fat to repel flies. It’s placed inside heaps of stones to keep air out. The birds ferment in three months and are eaten on birthdays or weddings in the winter. The seal skin makes everything soften so the entire bird can be eaten feathers and all.
Dragonfly is eaten in Indonesia and China. It gets boiled or fried. It is supposed to taste like soft shell crab.
Akutaq is also know as Eskimo Ice Cream. But there is no cream in this dish. It is made from reindeer fat, seal oil, freshly fallen snow, berries, and ground up fish.