The world is really a beautiful place when you think about it, and a lot of that beauty comes from the fact that there are so many different cultures out there all making food that is unique to their traditions. Food is a wonderful thing in that it can bring people together, tell a story, and even teach people a lesson about regions that they may have never visited. However, that's not to say that all of the food from all over the world is delicious, or even all that enticing. There are plenty of strange foods out there that might turn off even the most seasoned eater. However, does that mean that these foods should never be eaten?
There is definitely a need for people to get out of their comfort zone and try new things, but the truth is that can be difficult when the food in question is kind of bizarre. It's hard to imagine eating an animal's face, or hooves, or any other seemingly unusable part. It's even weirder to imagine eating an entire tarantula, even if it is deep fried. However, these are things that are eaten in other cultures, and to truly know whether they taste good or not, you'd have to just give them a shot. You might even end up liking them! After all, no one knows what foods they really like until they try them, and there is nothing gained in culinary experience without a little bit of adventure. These are 25 weird foods from around the world.
Have you ever been eating a bowl of broth and thought to yourself, "I wish this broth was staring at me as I ate it?" Probably not, but that's exactly what you'll get if you try khash, a traditional Armenian dish (and hangover cure). This traditional soup is made by simmering cow's hooves in water for eight hours, but other parts may be added as well, such as the cow's entire head. The soup is served first thing in the morning and is often accompanied at the table by dry and fresh lavash for crumbling into the soup and scooping, respectively. The soup is not seasoned while it is cooking, so it is up to the diners to add vinegar, garlic, and salt.
Caviar is a pretty fancy food, but it's a little strange to think about the fact that it is just fish eggs. Escamole goes a step farther. This Mexican delicacy is made from the eggs of ants. The dish has existed since the Aztec Empire and is still enjoyed throughout central Mexico today. So how do ant eggs taste? Apparently, they have a slightly nutty taste. Also, they tend to pop when eaten. That might be a little too much for some people, although tourists can try them pan fried with chilis, butter, and other seasonings. They might be worth serving if they also come with a lot of margaritas.
Old school Simpsons fans may already be familiar with this traditional Japanese dish, but for those who aren't, fugu is a food so good that it could literally end your life. Fugu is a sushi or sashimi that is made from blowfish, one of the most poisonous fish in the world. Master sushi chefs are highly trained in how to cut the fish just right to avoid any of the poisonous parts. Even the tiniest imperfection in the preparation of fugu can result in lethal poisoning. The taste has been described as being nothing special, so fugu might not even be worth the risk.
22 Bird’s Nest Soup
Some foods have interesting and creative names that don't really tell you a lot about what is in them. This is not one of those dishes. Yes, it's true. Bird's nest soup is, in fact, made from bird's nests. Specifically, they are made from the nests of a small bird called the swiftlet. The swiftlet builds its next not with twigs and other materials but rather from its own saliva, which hardens when exposed to air. The collagen in these nests creates a gelatin-like texture, although they are also reported as being somewhat flavorless.
Anyone who has ever heard of haggis already knows what it is. They also know whether they like it or don't. Haggis is a fairly challenging dish for people who aren't used to it. It is made from the heart, liver, and lungs of the animal, usually mixed with oats, suet, and spices. Haggis doesn't end there though. This mixture of organ meat and oats is then cooked inside the animal's stomach. It sounds like a challenging dish, but the taste of haggis is described as fairly close to sausage. It can be used as stuffing or fried as a breakfast dish.
Would you ever take a chance on eating the stinkiest food in the world? That's what you're getting into if you decide to crack open a can of surströmming, the classic Swedish dish of fermented fish. Herring, the fish used to make surströmming, are basically left to "cook" in their own bacteria. Delicious. To non-Swedish folks, this sounds like an absolute affront to the taste buds, but apparently, it is possible to enjoy surströmming if you consume it properly. Also, the cans have to be opened outdoors, as the smell is incredibly overpowering.
19 Fried spider
Folks who are afraid of spiders might want to skip this entry. The eight-legged bugs may make you squeamish, but in Cambodia, a nicely fried spider is one of the premier street foods. They are often sold to tourists, who prefer to just have their picture taken with them rather than taking a bite (for obvious reasons). Fried spiders are relatively expensive, but the locals really do love the flavor of them. While they are described as being similar to crab, it's hard to get past the look of them.
Marmite might just be one of the strangest condiments in the world. It is a spread that is made from yeast extract blended with other flavorings. It may sound like a strange food item, but it's huge in the UK, where it is most often put on toast with butter. Marmite is not so famous in North America, and it is definitely an acquired taste. Even the official Marmite website states that you either love it or hate it. Apparently, that distinction comes down to genetics, as your genes determine whether this yeasty spread hits your taste buds just right or wrong.
17 Frog legs
They are a classic French dish, and everyone has heard the argument that they taste like chicken, but frog's legs will never stop being kind of weird. Besides, if they taste like chicken, why not just eat some chicken? The practice of eating frog's legs dates back thousands of years when they were eaten in China. The story goes that they became a dish in France after monks were told they could only eat a certain amount of meat had frogs classified as fish. Either way, it's still kind of strange to think about eating frog parts, despite the similarity to chicken.
This is yet another French dish that in this day and age just seems strange. Escargot, as many people know, are snails cooked in butter and garlic. They have been described as tasting similar to clams, although the actual flavor of the snail is often overpowered by the garlic and butter. Humans have eaten snails for thousands of years, but it's still strange to think that the things in your garden could be considered a delicacy. There is even an entire industry dedicated to farming edible snails. This practice is called heliciculture.
15 Southern Fried Rattlesnake
While there are plenty of strange foods all over the world, there are some available in the United States that would probably have people scratching their heads. One of these weird dishes is southern fried rattlesnake. Why anyone would feel the need to eat a rattlesnake, especially when catching them would be a fairly huge risk to your wellbeing, is beyond understanding. The flavor of a rattlesnake when breaded and fried was described in the New York Times as "sinewy, half-starved tilapia." It hardly sounds worth the effort of catching one and cooking it without getting bit.
14 Century Eggs
Century eggs have an appearance that would immediately turn people off of them. These aged eggs are not, in fact, a hundred years old. They are made by aging chicken or duck eggs using a combination of lime and burnt wood ash. The eggs are soaked in the mixture for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Despite their ghastly appearance, the flavor of a century egg has been described as, well, a hard boiled egg, but with a far more eggy flavor, particularly in the yolk. Century egg can be served in a variety of different ways, including being baked into pastries.
13 Wasp Crackers
Everyone who has ever tried to eat food in a park during August knows that wasps are the absolute worst. They buzz around your face, they don't leave, and they can sting you as many times as they want. Well, it looks like Japan got the better of wasps by sticking them in a cracker. That's right, the wasp cracker is a snack sold throughout Japan and is made with digger wasps. Apparently, the taste of the wasps is fairly similar to a burnt and bitter raisin, but anyone eating these would be less worried about the taste and more concerned with the stingers.
Balut might be on of the most offputting foods on this list. It's been featured on programs like Survivor and Fear Factor for a reason. This street food from the Philippines is made from a duck egg that has been fertilized and allowed to develop until a duck fetus has started to form. The egg is then hard-boiled and served in the shell. By the time it is eaten, the duck fetus may have developed a beak, feet, and even feathers. In spite of its intimidating description and appearance, balut has been described as tasting really good, as long as you can stomach the idea of eating a duck fetus.
11 Drunken shrimp
This dish is not only scary, but also a little bit mean. Drunken shrimp can be served in a number of different ways, but this entry will focus on the method of serving live shrimp soaked in alcohol. The dish, known in China as qiang xia, starts with soaking live freshwater shrimp in alcohol, usually baijiu, then soaking them again in a sauce or marinade, then biting right into the critters while they are still recovering from their dip in the booze. Needless to say, it's probably just better to get some shrimp stir fry.
10 Stargazy pie
Do people really want to eat food that stares back at them while they eat it? Apparently, it's kind of a tradition in some places, such as with the classic English holiday dish, stargazy pie. The fish pie, which is often made with whole fish, whose heads and tails poke out of the top of the crust, originated in Cornwall and is often enjoyed at Christmas. The dish may look odd, but it is steeped in tradition. The story goes that when the people of Cornwall were facing a food shortage, a brave fisherman sailed out to sea in a winter storm and brought back a huge amount of fish. Those fish were baked into a pie, and the rest is history.
9 Jellied Moose Nose
Eating moose would be a culinary adventure all on its own, but what about eating a moose nose? On top of that, what if the nose was stewed in its own juices, chopped up, and served in a gelatin? Jellied moose nose is a common food among residents of Alaska and Northern Canada. It is particularly traditional in indigenous communities, where moose were commonly hunted for food and every part was used. The taste has been described as similar to corn beef. There are often varying textures in the dish as other parts of the moose, such as the tongue, are cooked with the nose.
Yet another nordic fish dish makes the list. Lutefisk, like surströmming, is an acquired taste, but the method of making it is far more bizarre (and actually a little bit dangerous). Whitefish that has been dried and sometimes salted is soaked in cold water, before being treated with lye. Lye, for those who don't know, is a highly caustic chemical that can cause severe burns on the skin. The fish is then soaked in water again to get rid of all the lye. What's left is a gelatinous mass that can then be steamed or baked. The dish is popular in Sweden and Norway, but also in Minnesota.
7 Casu Marzu
Cheese is always a crowdpleaser, but casu marzu will have any cheese lover running for the hills, and possibly swearing off of it for good. Casu marzu is a traditional Sardinian cheese that resembles pecorino at first. However, a hole is cut in the top of the wheel and the whole thing is left outside so it can fill up with maggots. The maggots eat the cheese and excrete a byproduct, giving the cheese an unappealing texture. On top of that, the maggots are typically still alive and wriggling around when the cheese is served. Due to obvious health risks, the cheese has been banned by the EU.
No list of weird foods would really be complete without Spam. The popular canned meat product has been available since 1937 and has been utilized in cooking all over the world. The product is made from chopped pork and ham, along with some other ingredients, and is eaten on sandwiches, fried, and is even made into a sushi-like dish on occasion. The ingredients may not be mysterious, but the name still is, with no clear answer as to where it came from. Either way, Spam may taste good, but if you start thinking about it too much, it does get weird.
5 Tavuk Göğsü
Judging by that picture, you wouldn't assume that this traditional Turkish dessert has anything weird going on. It looks sweet and creamy, so why would you expect any unexpected ingredients? The truth is that there is a secret ingredient in this dessert that really makes it stand out: chicken. That's right, with tavuk göğsü, you can have meat for dinner and dessert. The dish is made by boiling chicken breast (the fresher the better), then mixing it with sugar and milk until it can be shredded. The mixture is then cooked in a saucepan. It is served rolled up and dusted with cinnamon.
If you're ever looking for a unique snack, you could do a lot worse than a lovely bag of Kanikko. This traditional Japanese drinking snack is just a bag of little tiny crabs that have been fried with the shell on. That's it. You pop them in your mouth and bite down, devouring the shell and all of the meat and innards inside. These little, fried crabs are actually kind of cute, though they have been described as "painfully crunchy." They could definitely be worth trying, though.
3 Fish and Chips Gelato
There are plenty of places that serve a wide variety of gelato flavors. However, none of them can compare to the weirdness that is the fish and chips gelato, served at the Kailis Cafe in Australia. The flavor, created by George Kailis and Il Gelato, has actually been described as not being very fishy at all. That's probably a good thing, as it's unlikely that anyone would want to eat a really fishy gelato. The flavor was described more as being salty than anything else, with a finish of potato chips. Adventurous ice cream and gelato fans might want to actually give this a try.
2 Pork Tails
A pig is a truly versatile animal when it comes to using it for meat. There are experts who say that literally every part of the pig can be used to make something, right down to their tails. That fact holds true, as pork tails are often used in dishes. They can be braised, baked, and breaded, and are described as having sort of a perfect equilibrium of fat and meat. However, you'd still have to get past the fact that you are cooking a pork tail, because that is really what they look like when you get them from the butcher (no curls though, luckily).
1 Bacon Sundae
Only in America could something as ridiculous as the bacon sundae have ever existed. Why did anyone think this was a good idea? sure, there was a wave of bacon-inspired dishes a few years ago, but this was just taking it too far. Even bacon-as-dessert enthusiasts were displeased at this attempt from Burger King to cash in on the bacon craze of the early 2010's. The saltiness of the bacon easily beats out all of the other ingredients, and due to it being soaked in ice cream, all the crispiness was lost. Hopefully, humanity can just leave this dessert where it belongs: in the past.