As a traveller, you would expect to see a different culture all around the world. Be it their traditions, rituals or cuisine trying the country’s local dishes is a great way to gain insight to the country’s culture and its people. But, not all foods you try along the way will be down-right amazing. Some of them might be unusual and bizarre. Some even gross. Some dishes might just let you craving for more or some might give you a bad experience. If not anything, you’ll probably have a really cool story to tell all your friends back home. 😉
Here are some of the weirdest food items people eat!
Fugu – Japan
Fugu is a deadly puffer fish delicacy served in Japan. Its intestines, liver, and ovaries are full of poison which makes it quite dangerous to try. It can be only prepared by the chefs that have been drilled to perfection are allowed to handle the serving of the puffer fish. When the deadly parts of the fish have been carefully extracted, the poisonous meal turns into a delicacy. The dish is sometimes served in raw, paper-thin slices, poached slightly in a hotpot of broth, prepared in a stew, or grilled with teriyaki sauce. It has a chewy texture and subtle taste when raw.
Fried Spider – Cambodia
Test your courage in Cambodia and try A-ping, a deep-fried tarantula. Available throughout Cambodia, but a specialty in the town of Skuon, these delicacies are deep-fried in garlic oil until crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Typically of the tarantula variety, the practice of eating these spiders may have started during the brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge, when poor villagers had to find alternative sources of food. Bizarrely, they became popular and are now served as a deep-fried snack throughout the country.
Wasp Crackers – Japan
Made in Japan, these are just like your regular chocolate chip cookies. Err, except, instead of chocolates, the biscuits are stuffed with wasps! These wasps are hunted by professionals, dried and incorporated into the cracker mixture. The type of wasp that is stuffed into the cookies is said to taste like a raisin, only slightly acidic. Apparently the digger wasp, which the biscuit contains, has a pretty mean sting. I wish your tongue good luck.
Maggot Cheese – Italy
At first sound, Casu Marzu might actually sound like a pretty “normal” food to eat: it’s cheese made of sheep milk, typical for Sardinia region. Tough, it is also known as “World’s Most Dangerous Cheese”.Why? It is creamy and soft—and also happens to contain thousands of live maggots. It is a well aged pecorino cheese in which holes have been placed, and which is left outside for flies to deposit their eggs in it. Once the eggs open, the maggots larvae start feeding on the cheese and the cheese is ready. Hard on the outside, the inside of the cheese looks more like a thick spread. It’s a strong cheese, not for those who like mild flavors, and it’s eaten while the maggots are still alive.
Hákarl – Iceland
A national dish of Iceland, Hákarl is a Greenland shark that has been allowed to ferment and decay—if fresh, the shark is actually poisonous and cannot be eaten. It’s buried underground in a shallow pit and pressed with stones so the poisonous internal fluids that allow it to live in such cold waters can be drained out making the meat safe to eat. Once out of the ground, it is cut into strips, and hung to dry for 4 to 5 months more. Served in cubed cuts, on a toothpick, Hákarl is chewy in texture and has a strong fishy taste.
Sannakji – South Korea
An actually weird delicacy to come from Korea is sannakji, which basically means live octopus. Made from a young, live octopus, chopped into small pieces, the food arrives on your table still wriggling on the plate. Many say the octopus is still alive, others believe that the commotion is due to the neurons present in the tentacles. Either way, the dish is not for the faint of hearts — the strong suckers in the tentacles are a choking hazard, killing approximately six people each year. Quite a challenge, eh?
Balut – Philippines
Locals consider Balut a powerful aphrodisiac, but for many of us eating a fertilized duck egg is perhaps the strangest thing we’d ever heard of. The contents of this hard-boiled eggshell is not an egg, it’s a fertilized duck egg – which has been incubated for two or three weeks, and then boiled. It means when you break the shell, beside some white which you may be expecting, you get feathers, a beak and a mixture of flesh and some dribbling slime.
Surstromming – Sweden
Surströmming is fermented Swedish herring from the Baltic Sea. The fish is preserved with salt to prevent it rotting while fermenting. The fermentation process takes about six months, and the official day when everyone eats herring in Sweden is the third Thursday of August. It is considered a delicacy in Sweden, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s probably the smelliest food in the world. It smells so bad that it is not allowed in enclosed spaces like apartment buildings. Hence, it is usually consumed outdoors during summer, normally on thin bread as part of sandwich which can include dill, cheese, potatoes, sour cream, and diced onions.
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