When you’re on your travels, you’ll encounter lots of weird and wonderful food. Some of it is scary and some of it is definitely an acquired taste. Here are our top ten unusual foods from around the world.
Be warned: this article is not for the squeamish or faint hearted.
Balut (Duck Embryo)
We all like eggs on our toast in the morning. But how about some Balut on your bread? Essentially a foetus, Balut are usually 2 week-old fertilised duck eggs, and are served as street food in the Philippines. Yummy, no? Yeah, we didn’t think so.
Origin: East Asia
Snake wine is, you guessed it, a snake in a bottle of wine; rice wine to be precise. The more venomous the snake the better it is for your sexual performance, apparently. But East Asia doesn’t just limit itself to snake wine. There’s also scorpion wine and giant centipede wine, but that’s for another time.
Or how about half a million flies packed into one burger? Midges, attracted by pollution of Lake Victoria, are caught using large saucepans and are then squashed into burgers that have seven times the nutritional value of beef varieties. It’s healthy. So why not give it a go?
How about something slippery and sludgy that you often see in your garden, like a snail? Served as an appetiser in many French restaurants, Escargot has been eaten for many thousands of years, stretching back to the Roman times. That’s justification for eating them, right!?
Sannakji (Live Octopus)
Perhaps dead things aren’t lively enough for you. If this is the case, you will love Sannakjii. These small octopuses are served on a plate and are, yes, still squirming. They squirm on your plate and will squirm on your tongue until you take a bite at them. But don’t take too long. They might jump out!
Rocky Mountain Oysters (Bull Calf Testicles)
Origin: North America
Ah! Rocky Mountain Oysters, these sound nicer. They look nicer too, like fried chicken. But don’t be fooled. A quaint name and a deep-fried layer hides a food that is, quite literally, explosive. Rocky Mountain Oysters are actually testicles… from the calf of a bull.
Haggis (Sheep Organs)
Haggis is a mixture of lots of different things including onions, oatmeal, spices (good so far) and the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep which are then stuffed into the lining of its stomach and boiled for three hours. Oh. But it’s considered the national dish of Scotland! It’s eaten on Burns Night every January 25th if you want to try it.
Bosintang (Dog Soup)
We enjoy walking dogs and looking after dogs. That’s probably the main reason we don’t enjoy eating dogs. But the Koreans do. They serve it in a soup called Bosintang. To get the punters in, a bit like the snake wine, they claim it increases virility (sex drive). But all we’re thinking about is the poor doggy in the soup.
Casu Marzu (Maggot Cheese)
It’s often the French who are lambasted for their experimentation with cheese. But in Italy there exists something far worse. Casu Marzu. It’s a cheese made from sheep’s milk which is then left outside. The Piophila casei (cheese fly) then lays eggs in the cheese. Maggots are born inside, and eat the cheese, turning it soft. Worse, if the maggots are dead, the Casu Marzu is considered unsafe to consume. So the cheese must be eaten, maggots and all.
If it isn’t prepared properly, Fugu is the dish that can kill. It’s infamous on the streets of Tokyo and preparing Fugu is often compared to heart surgery. And like surgery, it’s only the proper practitioners with Fugu certification that are able to prepare this deadly dish.
There we have it; our top 10 most unusual foods from around the world. If you’re planning a multi stop flight, we hope that you’ve grown an appetite for trying something different on your trip. That’s what travelling is all about after all.