I would like to think that I am pretty adventurous with food and, when I was travelling, I used to laugh at people who would head straight for the nearest ‘English Pub’ or a McDonald's whenever they visited other countries. There are some foods from around the world, though, that, frankly, I don’t think I could keep down! Here are ten weird foods from around the world that would make anyone think that a rubbery burger from McDonald's is actually food from the gods!
In our main picture above, we have the tasty snack known as balut that is a favourite in Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines. It is what it appears to be, an egg that has been on the supermarket shelf for far too long! Balut is eggs that have been allowed to develop so that there is an embryo inside. The eggs are then boiled and served up as a snack.
One of the strangest foods from around the world is possibly durian, which is a fruit that is eaten in parts of Asia that is known by some as the king of fruits. The problem is that the fruit smells so bad that it has been banned from many public places in South East Asia. The aroma of the Durian fruit, which can hang around for days, is said to be reminiscent of sewage, old socks, and turpentine.
Rocky Mountain Oysters
By Vincent Diamante from Los Angeles, CA, USA, via Wikimedia
3. Rocky Mountain Oysters
If you are a cattle rancher from Calgary, then you will be familiar with the local delicacy, fried bulls testicles, but, seriously; I don’t think this one is going to catch on in UK pubs any time soon. Rocky Mountain Oysters are fried bulls balls, which are usually served with dips on the side.
Just when you managed to convince yourself that eating sushi is fine, along they come with another raw fish dish that will make you think twice. Sannakji isn’t just raw, it’s still alive! Sannakji is a South Korean dish that is sliced up, live, baby octopus that you eat while it still squirms. There is an art, apparently, to eating it without getting the suckers stuck on the roof of your mouth.
5. Casu marzu
Casu marzu is a cheese that is popular in Sardinia. The fact that it is made from fermented sheep’s milk would put a lot of people off, but the live maggots that are inside the cheese are probably the final straw for most. Casu marzu is served complete with an infestation of cheese fly larvae.
By A. www.viajar24h.com , via Wikimedia Commons
5. Fried Arachnids
Deep fried tarantula is a speciality of Cambodian street food vendors, along with other deep fried insects. The fried spiders are said to be cooked, just right, when the outsides are nice and crispy, but the insides are still gooey and soft.
7. Birds nest soup
Birds nest soup from China would be better named bird spit soup, because that is what gives the soup its flavour. Bird’s saliva soup, or whatever you want to call it, is not cheap stuff. You can pay over $100 Dollars for a bowl of it in Hong Kong. I think I’ll stick my tin of Heinz Tomato soup. Thanks, all the same.
Fugu is a Japanese dish with a potentially lethal sting in the tail. Fugu is the Japanese name for the Puffer Fish, and that particular fish contains enough poison to kill an adult human being. Chefs who prepare Fugu have to undergo three years of training and pass an exam before they are allowed to serve the dish to the public. There are still deaths in Japan caused by people preparing it at home themselves, so if you go for dinner round someone’s house in Japan, I would pass on the fish dish if I were you.
By YordanZhamNguyen (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
9. Tiet Canh
Tiet Canh is a Vietnamese dish that consists of raw duck’s blood, chicken gizzards, and a few herbs. They like to keep the blood in the refrigerator so that it congeals nicely before they eat it and the dish is said to look something like a pizza, but I doubt very much that it tastes much like one.
10. Deep fried calf brains
Strangely enough, deep fried calf brains have become less popular since the mad cow disease scare, but it used to be a firm favourite in the bars of St. Louis, Missouri. Brains are still a big thing in Mexico, though, and there they are served in tacos and burritos, usually with a hot sauce to go with them.
Wherever you come from in the world, I guess you will find local specialities that other people will find pretty revolting. I’m quite fond of the Scottish dish haggis, which is the heart, lungs and liver of a sheep cooked inside a sheep’s stomach. It’s what you are used to, I suppose, and who am I to say that the partially developed embryo of a chicken, or a bowl of congealed blood, aren’t absolutely delicious!
Enjoy your lunch!