30 Foods From Around The World (Only For The Most Daring Foodies)
As we travel the world and see the various wonders that are littered all around the Earth, it’s interesting to consider all the different ways we can enjoy and embrace different cultures. This can include forms of entertainment or sports, artwork, or creations. But one of the simplest (and most memorable) ways is to try out the various foods and cuisines from the places we visit. But while not everything might seem the tastiest from a first glance, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give them a try. Tourists should try to be brave with their foodie calls. That can include unlikely combinations, strange methods of preparation, or even just strange little things that various nations around the world have a taste for.
While some of them are definitely weird enough for us to never put near our mouths, who knows? Maybe whoever is reading this has some adventurous taste buds that need to expand their horizons as they see everything from around the world. And if they needed some suggestions, these are plenty that they may have never heard of. Here are 30 of the strangest foods from around the world that only the bravest foodies would ever dare to try for themselves.
30 Huitlacoche (Mexico)
One man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. Take Huitlacoche, otherwise known as Corn Smut. It’s a fungus that can grow on corn kernels, and it can produce blue/black spores across the vegetable. Many people would look at it as a perversion of corn, and just toss it. But to some people in Mexico, it’s actually a standout attribute of the corn. It gives the sweet corn a more earthy flavor, and we think we’ll just take their word for it.
29 Crispy Tarantula (Cambodia)
Served in Cambodia, these creepy crawlies have been fried and turned into a meal all around the nation. The legs of the spider are fried and blackened. While they historically were first cooked by starving citizens during a period turmoil in the nation, they remained a popular deep-fried snack in the nation ever since. For the curious, they’ve been described as tasting like crab, which to be honest, kind of makes sense, in a weird way.
28 Jellied Moose Nose (Canada)
The moose has become one of those things that people just associate with Canada as a whole. But it’s still used as a meal when the situation calls for it. But even if you think that’s fine and good you probably weren’t expecting to see it cooked in this way. Some cooks have boiled the nose from a moose with onion and spices. Then they remove the hair, boil it again, slice it thinly, and cover it with broth to reduce it to a jelly.
27 Airag (Mongolia)
Sometimes, you have to cook with the supplies that you have, and not the ones that you want. We can imagine that’s how the classic Airag recipe was convinced of in Mongolia. The drink is similar to a beer, only instead of fermenting yeast or barley, you instead ferment horse milk. It’s served cold, and provides a sour taste with a fizzy feeling. And traditionally, whatever you don’t finish gets poured back into the pitcher.
26 Muktuk (Greenland)
Dishes derived from whale can be found in a whole host of northern nations, and we’re surprised by all the different meals that have come out of it. But the one that surprises us the most might be Muktuk, which is a classic Inuit meal in Greenland. The whale comes naturally in layers and is served raw. Reportedly, the skin tastes like hazelnuts before giving way to the very chewy fat of the meat. Seriously, be prepared to chew it a bunch if you dare to order it.
25 Stargazy Pie (England)
In England, pies are a classic. There are hundreds of ways to properly cook a meat pie, and it can provide for a flaky, filling meal. But it can also get a little out of hand, like with the Stargazy Pie. Hailing from the small Cornish village of Mousehole, the pie is served with fish heads sticking out of the crust, making it super unappealing to look at. Sure, it might taste good (it really doesn’t), but who wants to be stared at by their meal while they eat it?
24 Red Bird Soup (China)
While many of the meals on this list seem like they came about from sheer necessity, others are considered a bit more refined than others. They are constructed from edible birds’ nests, which have been constructed out of the swiftlet saliva. They are quite safe to eat, and are actually considered some of the rarest foodstuffs on the planet, especially China. One of the most sought after variants, belonging to the Red Bird (a kind of swallow), can go for a whopping $10,000 USD.
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23 Surstromming (Sweden)
Meat in a can is always a bit of a dicey call, but this one might be the most strange of all of them. Canned and sold throughout Sweden, Surstromming contains fermented Baltic herring, a foodstuff that has been found by studies to actually be one of the single worst odors of any kind of food worldwide. And when you look at the rest of this list, that’s putting it up against some real tough competition.
22 Stinkbugs (Indonesia)
See what we mean? In Indonesia, many citizens go full on Hakuna Matata and eat these little insects as a snack. According to people who have had the stomach to try this snack, they apparently taste like sunflower seeds, minus the salt. But we can imagine that after you have a few, you’re going to want to deep clean your mouth before trying to kiss your significant other.
21 Lutefisk (Norway)
A great deal of Scandinavian countries are forced, just by sheer location, to adopt a whole lot of fish into their meals. But this one from Norway seems like it might take it a step too far to try and pick up a new taste. Aged stockfish is soaked for days before being served, but not in a sauce you’d expect. No, it instead spends entire days in a bowl of corrosive caustic soda, a.k.a. lye. Yes, the kind of lye you shouldn’t eat. Don’t worry, though, they always soak it in water for a week after to make it edible. Would it not be easier to just not use lye?
20 Haggis (Scotland)
This is one of the most infamous meals in the entire world, often used as a shorthand in film and television for the country of its origin, Scotland. But the real reason it’s grown so infamous is probably what it entails. See, haggis is derived almost entirely from a sheep, but not just the typical kinds of meat. No, it’s made from the heart, lungs, and liver of the sheep. To make it, you boil them all in the sheep stomach for three hours, and serve with salt.
19 Fugu (Japan)
The pufferfish might be one of the few foods around the world that requires precise execution of the law to serve properly. But in Japan (the poisonous fish is native to the surrounding waters), that’s the case. It has to be served in a very specific manner, otherwise it risks carrying over the toxins into the meals and sending anyone who ate the meat to the hospital. This is only for the most daring, but supposedly delicious.
18 Chicken Feet Soup (Caribbean)
This actually isn’t just a meal that’s served in the Caribbean, but all around the world. You can find variants of it in both the United States and China. And hey, to their credit, they’re using all of the animal for the meal. But we wanted to bring up how it’s cooked on the Caribbean islands, because the soup they mix it with just looks so different than most meals we’ve seen.
17 Jing Leed (Thailand)
Jing Leed is a commonplace snack in Thailand, a well-liked and seasoned treat of grasshoppers. Yes, grasshoppers. After being covered with salt, pepper, and chilli, the little bugs are fried in a wok. They’ve been described as tasting like a piece of popcorn. Well, except for the telltale squirt of juice that bursts out when you crunch it in-between your teeth – just in case that you’d somehow forgotten that you were eating grasshoppers.
16 Beondegi (South Korea)
It’s not hard to find Beondegi vendors on the streets of South Korea. The food can be served in a variety of ways, but the surprising part comes from the base ingredient: silkworms. Some people boil them, some steam them and lightly season then before serving. But at the end of the day, they are still silkworms. They have a woody taste to them, and can make for a filling mid-day snack.
15 Escargots (France)
Here is one of the most famous strange meals in the world, and a delicacy of French fine dining. Escargot is made from snails and served in the shells they once called home. After being cooked in a white wine, butter, garlic, and parsley sauce, they become more delicious than you’d ever expect a snail to taste like. It’s not uncommon to find this meal in France, which takes pride in their surprising meals (just look at frog legs for further proof of that).
14 Vegemite (Australia)
Ugh. Vegemite. Not going to lie, we kind of dislike this stuff. But if you’re looking for some surprising and strange foods, then this one is a strong contender to try with your breakfast if you’re visiting Australia. A by-product of brewing beet, Vegemite (or Marmite, its name in the United Kingdom) is made from the excess gunk found at the bottom of the barrels used in the brewing process. It’s a salty paste that is usually eaten with toast or cheese.
13 Southern Fried Rattlesnake (USA)
The Southwest of the United States is home to a whole lot of different dangerous animals, but is also home to Americans who’ll deep fry anything once. And before this starts a debate, remember that Americans sometimes bread and fry straight-up butter. But after boiling the meat off the bone and dipping it in flour, breadcrumbs, salt, and deep-frying it, it bring a whole new type of taste to an American-style meal.
12 Cuy (Peru)
Peru on the whole seems to have a fascination with strange foods. They cook all kinds of meat that most of Western culture scoffs at. Cuy is a meal that tastes a bit like chicken, and is served either whole, roasted, or as part of a casserole. But here’s the thing. The meat doesn’t come from the average cow or chicken or pig. Well, maybe technically sort of a pig, because it’s made from guinea pig meat. Does that count?
11 Turtle Soup (Singapore)
There are variants of this meal in various parts of the world, but the one we want to look at is the version that is commonly served in Singapore. Usually, this heavy brown soup comes with more than just turtle meat involved, but the shell included as well. It’s a high-end meal, as the delicate slicing of the meat is usually taken with precise accuracy. Just don’t watch them prepare it if you’re squeamish.
10 Casu Marzu (Italy)
Everyone loves cheese, but it’s also one of those foods that when it goes bad, it goes bad. But in some places like Italy, that can actually be a benefit, as it turns out. Take Casu Marzu, which is made from sheep’s milk cheese that’s been left to age for a while. Namely, long enough for maggots to take to it and supposedly “enhance” the flavor. And while some people make sure to freeze them before consuming it, others have just gone ahead and eaten the cheese with the maggots still alive.
9 Sannakji (South Korea)
Sannakji is a variant of octopus served in South Korea that stands out for the specific manner in which you’re supposed to eat it. The octopus tentacle is actually cut off an octopus. It keeps wriggling even as you try to eat it, which is just upsetting. There are actually even stories of the tentacle getting ahold of the people who are trying to eat it, which literally sounds like something from a spooky movie.
8 Eskimo Ice Cream (Alaska)
Despite living so far north that they spend more of the year dealing with snow than sun, there are actually people who love to eat a variant of ice cream in Alaska in the United States. The frosty treat isn’t made from dairy, but instead the various fats of assorted animals that can be found in the area. This includes reindeer, seal, and even moose. It doesn’t use sugar either, so it doesn’t taste at all like what we usually think of as ice cream.
7 Durian Fruit (Thailand)
Durian Fruit is not a particularly appealing snack in the world. It has a terrible natural smell, to the point that many nations in Southeast Asia actually ban the transport of the fruit through places like airports and train stations. But this fruit from Thailand is actually very tasty, and extremely creamy. So really it comes down to whether or not you think you can deal with that smell to try and get to some pretty sweet flavors.
6 Insect Chocolate (Poland)
Usually, there’s nothing that could ruin chocolate. It’s one of those perfect little desserts that can brighten any mood, any day. But then there’s what some people (like this French baker in Poland) decided to do, which was to add on top a whole bunch of insects. Even if those tiny little bugs are painted gold, it doesn’t make it fancy or dignified, you know. It just makes us not want to have that chocolate, which we didn’t even think was possible.
5 Khash (Iran)
It really comes down to a different sense of taste from around the world to account for many of these dishes. And look, we try to keep an open mind about these things. But this early day meal from Iran might be one of the strangest things we’ve ever heard. Something of a breakfast soup, it is made from various parts of a sheep. This includes strange things like boiled hooves and even parts of the head.
4 Bushmeat (West Africa)
Bushmeat can be found throughout most of Africa, and is kind of a broad term for a whole lot of different kinds of wild meat from around the area. This can included various different animals from various forests or across deserts. But take care if you try it. It can be tainted at times, and has even been believed to have been linked to the 2014 crisis that hit the area and caught worldwide attention.
3 Wasp Crackers (Japan)
If you’re in the small Japanese town of Omachi (which happens to be about a hundred miles outside of Tokyo), then you can actually try one of the strangest form of crackers we’ve ever heard about. In the town, crackers are cooked with wasps inside the batter, helping give the snacks an extra crunch and a bit more texture. But all we can wonder is if they couldn’t have done something to cover up the wasps with something – so we didn’t have to constantly be reminded of what we’re eating.
2 Ant Egg Soup (Laos)
If you visit Laos, then you can try one of the most unique types of soup in the world. Well, that’s if you can manage to get past the obvious distraction. See, one of the primary ingredients in the soup happens to be eggs from the local soldier ants. Mixed with a bucket of boiling water, vegetables, and a choice of meat, the eggs form the top of the soup and have a puffed up and soggy texture that’s been compared to rice.
1 Century Egg (China)
One of the strangest delicacies to come out of China, these eggs are considered real rarities in the massive nation. These once started as normal eggs that have been preserved over a great deal of time until the inner yolk turns green and rotten. They can be served with a lot of different kinds of meals and a lot of different ways, but we aren’t sure if we could ever get past the smell of it all.
References: Rough Guides, List 25, Hostel World, Readers Digest, Smarter Travel, ScoopWhoop, Socawlege
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