When traveling to other countries, you will encounter a number of diverse cultural traits. Activities that may seem odd or bizarre to you may be perfectly normal elsewhere. This is all too common when it comes to strange foods eaten in other countries. One man's delicious delicacies could quite possibly turn your stomach and make you cringe. Chances are you aren't used to eating any of the following foods; while they may seem out of the ordinary in the North American diet, most of these are perfectly normal in other Countries. Chances are something I eat on a daily basis is absolutely discgusting to somebody on the other side of the world. With that said, if you are brave enough to try any of these bizarre foods, then our hats are off to you.
Rocky Mountain or Prairie Oysters
On the low end of the bizarre food list, "oysters" are eaten in various parts of the world, including North and South America, as well as countries in Europe. However, these oysters are not the kind you would find in the sea. They are in fact the testicles of a bull, pig, buffalo, boar or sheep. They are a well-known delicacy and usually rolled in flour and cooked in a deep fryer, much like fried chicken.
While many find haggis to be a delicious, traditional dish, when you learn what it is made of, it sounds quite disgusting. Haggis originated in Scotland, but is a presently a popular dish throughout the United Kingdom. The dish is comprised of a sheep's liver, lung, and heart, and then it is boiled in the sheep's stomach for a few hours with onion, salt, spices and oatmeal. Some people prepare this dish in the same manner, but instead use the parts of a goat, pig or cow.
Roasted Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs are usually thought of as a family pet, not a roasted delicacy. In Bolivia and Peru, these poor little creatures are raised for eating, similar to how Americans raise cows or pigs for slaughter. Can you imagine eating such a cute, furry critter for lunch or dinner? Peruvian's like to skin them and roast them whole, like a kabob.
Pickled Snake Head
A snake head is a type of fish found in both Asia and Africa. When you first read snake head, you may automatically think it is a pickled head of a snake. But that is not the case. The fish themselves are pickled in jars and sold in Asian markets throughout the world.
Fugu (Puffer Fish)
In Japan, the puffer fish or fugu, is a common delicacy served in many restaurants. Why would anyone want to eat parts of a poisonous fish you ask? That is a very good question, since it is said to taste quite bland, and once eaten, leaves a tingling sensation on the lips and tongue. If you dare to try fugu, be sure to dine at a location that has a trained and licensed chef who can correctly prepare the fish, or else this could be a deadly dining experience.
Canned or Deep-Fried Bugs
If you happen to visit Southeast Asia, be prepared to see a variety of bugs for sale at the local farmer's market. They come in several different forms including canned, fermented, and even deep-fried. Taiwan is known for selling giant water bugs in a canned form, while China and Vietnam like to deep fry beetles, grasshoppers, silkworms, crickets, and cockroaches for a tasty snack. Bugs are said to be high in protein. So, one would assume it is the nutritional value that would entice a person to eat these weird foods.
Ti-Hoeh-Koe (Pig's Blood Cake)
Taiwan is also known for its dessert called ti-hoeh-koe. That's right - a cake made of pig's blood, which is mixed with fried or steamed, sticky rice. This disgusting food is then topped with a peanut-flavored powder, and sprinkled with cilantro spices for added flavor.
Wine is produced through a fermenting process, but this particular type is cured with either baby mice or a venomous snake. In some parts of Korea and China, wine makers add this gross little surprise to their bottles. Korea uses three-day-old baby mice to cure in the wine bottle for about a year before selling it. China adds a small venomous snake, usually a cobra, to help cure their wine. It is said the venom dissolves in the wine's ethanol and therefore is no longer lethal.
Codfish and Crab Spawn
Eating crab cakes is one thing, as these are usually made from crab meat. But, cakes filled with crab or codfish spawn sounds like a completely gross type of food. The word spawn refers to a creature's eggs or sperm, so in essence you are eating a cake filled with fish or crab sperm or eggs. Then again, caviar is salt-treated fish eggs and people go crazy over that, so this Asian delicacy may be tasty in a similar fashion.
Fried Scorpions and Tarantulas
Asian countries seem to love to eat a number of weird foods. In Cambodia, both scorpions and tarantulas are another popular delicacy that is a great source of vitamins, protein and fatty acids. Deep frying these arachnids is the most common preparation method, but they can also be boiled or roasted. Pinchers and stingers are removed before cooking. In Mexico, scorpions are also turned into suckers. The entire scorpion is encased inside the sucker, and much like a Tootsie Roll in a Tootsie Pop, you must lick to the center of the sucker to taste the surprise inside.
Animal brains have been a delicacy in various cultures for ages. But, who knew that you could find this weird food on a restaurant menu in St. Louis, Missouri. Mushy in texture, brains are said to have very little flavor. Therefore, they are fried in spiced, flour batter and served on a hamburger bun. In Mexico and El Salvador, cow, sheep and goat brains are used in place of hamburger. Fried animal brains are used in both burritos and tacos with lots of hot sauce.
The Japanese are notorious for serving and eating weird foods. If live or raw fish was not bad enough, how about trying a beef pizzler. If you are not aware of what this strange delicacy might be, it is a bull's penis. This has to be one of the most disgusting foods anyone could ever consider consuming. According to HotelClub Travel Blog, men supposedly eat beef pizzler to increase their own blood flow and sexual stamina.
Dried Flying Lizards
In Hong Kong, flying lizards are dried in the sun and then used in preparing soup. Apparently, the dried body of the lizard is added to a pot of boiling water. It is then simmered for several hours to release the lizard's natural flavors.
Bird's Nest Soup
China serves another odd dish known as bird's nest soup. Bird's nests in China are not made from twigs or branches as one might assume. The nest's are instead made from the bird's own saliva. Once the nests are collected, they are dissolved in water, which creates a gelatinous-type of soup. So as long you do not mind having spit in your food, then you should be okay with eating this highly-praised soup.
If you have never seen a puffin, they are an adorable sea bird that is sometimes referred to a "sea parrot" or "the clown of the ocean." The bird's heart, is also said to be an Icelandic delicacy. It is usually eaten raw, if you can believe that, while it is still warm. Chef Gordon Ramsey ate a fresh puffin heart on TV and upset many viewers, including his own daughters. Puffin hearts do not have to be consumed raw. They can also be grilled, smoked or friend in a pan.
Also known as rotten cheese, casu marzu is a popular black market delicacy in Sardinia and Italy. It is often referred to as maggot cheese because it is infested with insect larvae. The cheese must be eaten when the larvae, or maggots, are still alive. If the cheese maggots die, then the cheese is considered to be toxic. This type of cheese begins fermenting when cheese fly larvae are added to sheep's milk. Once the larvae begin hatching into maggots, they eat through the cheese, thereby softening it and making it edible.
In Mexico and Thailand, a weird food known as escamoles is a favored delicacy. It is actually ant larvae, or white ant eggs. They are said to have a nutty, buttery taste and are added to tacos with guacamole in Mexico, as well as to stir fry dishes in Thailand.
Hákarl (Fermented Shark)
Another Icelandic dish called hákarl involves fermenting Greenland shark meat underground for up to three months. Once it is nice and fermented, it is then hung dry for a few more months. Only the bravest travelers who can stand the shark's ammonia-like odor and taste dare try this weird food. According to celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, "hákarl is the most disgusting thing he has ever eaten."
In parts of Canada and Alaska, whale muktuk is a popular dish made of whale blubber and skin. The Inuit people, also known as Eskimos, enjoy eating it as a hot, deep-fried snack with cooked white rice and soy sauce. Josh Gates of the SyFy Channel's Destination Truth tried this strange food during one his shows in the remote village of Manokotak, Alaska, saying it did not taste that bad.
Deer Placenta Stew
According to the Chinese, deer placenta is quite healthy for you and is said to clear up problem skin, help with kidney problems, and works well as a male enhancement supplement. This weird food is slow-simmered with a variety of vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, beans, peas and onions.
Throughout Asia, bats are considered a delicacy, and said to taste like chicken. They are easily prepared by boiling them in hot water. Bats are quite abundant in Asia, so it is not uncommon to see locals eating them on a regular basis.
Eaten mainly in China and Japan, tuna eyeballs are a widely popular delicacy and snack. In fact, this bizarre food is so common, you can find it at virtually any supermarket or grocery store, packaged much as if you would find hamburger or chicken.
When most people think of jellyfish, they think of a something that can potentially sting them while they are swimming in the ocean. In Japan, giant jellyfish are a fisherman's dream, as they invade the waters around Japan throughout the year. Fishermen will bring cooking gear to the beach and then catch and boil them on the spot for eating. This strange food is boiled in salt and used for soup and yogurt, as well as eaten as raw sushi.
Koreans are in the habit of eating their sushi a bit more freshly than most people. In fact, it is not uncommon to see them eating live baby fish or live baby octopus while it is still wiggling. Be especially careful with the live octopus, for even though the baby's tentacles are small, they still have all of their suction cups. If you do not chew them thoroughly, they will try to latch on to your mouth or throat, which could present a choking hazard. Both dishes are usually served with sesame oil and seeds for flavoring.
The most disgusting food of them all is the balut, which is native to the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines. Imagine ordering this gross delicacy and receiving what looks to be a normal-looking egg. It has been boiled to perfection and upon opening it, you find the egg's yolk, and a fertilized chicken or duck fetus. Most are cooked when the animal fetus is between 15 and 20 days old. What is inside of this edible egg (and yes, you are supposed to eat the entire thing, including the shell and everything inside), is the most disgusting, as there are feathers, a beak, bones, and feet with claws. They are said to be delicious and a great source of protein.