1. Popular in France
The following dishes are not exclusively served in France but are popular in France.
Not Your Average Steak?Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tatar-1.jpg
Tourists going to France and not too keen on trying new food may be tempted to order a steak. But beware the steak tartare! This is not a steak with some kind of sauce, it is a steak you are supposed to eat raw!
And this is not the only surprise. Traditionally, at least, the steak tartare is prepared with meat from... no, not beef but HORSE! Well, one tradition less to regret.
Our Friend the Rabbit
Rabbits are cute animals and have high popularity among children. Who would ever think about eating them? Well, most European countries including France. And if you wonder about the taste, it is quite similar to chicken. It is if you can make abstraction of the fact that you are eating those cute animals...Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rabbit_in_montana.jpg
Go Home, SnailsCredit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Grapevinesnail_01.jpg
Many people would need to be paid to eat a slug. But somehow, they have no problems paying to eat snails... Isn't it ironic?Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cooked_snails.JPG
What Is the Best Part of the Sheep?
The eyes or the tongue? Actually, in some part of this country, people eat the head of the sheep! It is a traditional and well-known dish called Smalahove.Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Smalahove01.JPG
Maybe a good thing we remember Norway for the smoked salmon...
On the other hand, we could be reminded of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai who was warning against the waste of food in modern times such as parts of animal we are no longer eating, people being more and more restrictive about what they eat. Well, she was mainly mentioning this for fish but she would probably have been happy to hear that the head of the sheep is still eaten somewhere in this world.Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Smalahove01.JPG
You Have Heard About Jellyfish, but What About Fish Jelly?
Well, this could be what comes to your mind if you ever order the Lutefisk, also known as "the chemical fish". The fish is air-dried and then goes through a complex process that includes... lye... what? don't you all use lye in all of your fish dish? (NB: don't try this at home).Credit: http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruker:Jonathunder
Otherwise, the tradition is to have a strong spirit (akvavit) to go with this dish and an old joke says you can only enjoy Lutefisk if you have had enough of this spirit (it could also explain why you forget about it and order it again).
Actually, these are not exclusive to Japan, many Asian countries have similar food/dishes/delicacies, or at least eat those.
Many people reading this list will think "ew, fortunately, I am a vegetarian" but vegetarian does not mean exempt to seemingly-disgusting food. Nattou (or nattÅ) is the perfect counterexample.Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Natto_on_rice.jpg
Fermented soybeans and being popular in Asia, this dish is generally avoided by non-Asian people. To stay politically correct, let us quote Wikipedia: "powerful smell, strong flavor, and slippery texture", 3 for the price of 1...
Raw Fish? No, That's Not Fresh Enough...
Some Asian people, including the Japanese don't mind eating squids alive.Generally the squid is brought to the table still alive and moving while parts of it are cut and offer to you to eat. The view of the animal moving while you are eating it is... well... unforgettable.Credit: http://www.jalan.net/yad316133/plan/plan00586061/
Fugu, No Risk, No Fun
Some people feel the need to live dangerously. High-speed on the motorway, no security belt... (NB: don't try this at home). Fugu is then a good option for them. (NB: don't eat this at home)
From Wikipedia: "Fugu contains lethal amounts of the poison tetrodotoxin in its organs, especially the liver, the ovaries, and the skin. The poison, a sodium channel blocker, paralyzes the muscles while the victim stays fully conscious.. The victim is unable to breathe, and eventually dies from asphyxiation. There is no known antidote. [...] Each year, these incidents led to between 34 and 64 victims being hospitalized and zero to six deaths."Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fugu_sashimi.jpg
Some farmers are now mass producing poison-free fugu, so the future will tell if the attraction people had/have for this fish was because of its poison or because of its taste.
There are many similar articles, such as Weird Foods of the World and the People Who Eat Them. Beware, some photos are shocking.