Seeing as though we just did 20 Healthy Foods, I thought it only fitting we do the strangest and most revolting foods you can eat from around the world — bon appetite or maybe not.
What do tarantulas, sheep’s heads and duck embryos have in common? They’re all considered delicious somewhere in the world. While most Australians probably don’t consider the contents of their cookbooks strange, to a foreigner, lunch could be the equivalent of a nightmare like the delicacies below.
Needless to say, one of the great joys in life is travelling the world and exploring different cultures and eating different foods. One person’s delight is another one’s disgust and if you’re the type to venture off the beaten track to experience new cuisines and raw culture – hold on to your stomach, these dishes may appear very weird, if not utterly disgusting.
So before we dive into our culinary tour of the strangest foods from around the world, you should ask yourself: Do you really want to know about the eating habits of your fellow humans? Although eating these foods might seem torturous, they are in fact quite normal to the people who do eat them.
Here‘s my top 10 weirdest and utterly gross foods you can eat on earth.
1. Fried Tarantulas (Cambodia)
The very word tarantula scares the crap out of me, but in Cambodia, you can buy them fried whole, legs, fangs and all. Believe it or not, tourists come far and wide to try these black hairy arachnids and supposedly taste best fried with garlic salt (everything tastes better with a bit of garlic salt, even eight-legged monsters apparently).
2. Balut (Philippines)
This is a gross one and if you didn’t grow up around Asian foods, this is well and truly out of your comfort zone. The balut dish is a developed duck embryo boiled alive and eaten in its own egg. This Filipino delicacy makes the world squirm and has revolted even the most daring of foodies. Best eaten when the egg is 19-21 days old (yes, I’ll say it, it’s a duckling).
3. Tuna Eyeball (Japan)
The Japanese are well-known for their love of raw fish, but eating the eyeball of a huge tuna fish is taking it too far. These eyes aren’t teeny weeny little pea-sized snacks, one tuna eye can be as large as a soup bowl and very chewy.
4. Bugs (Asia)
Insects are a delicacy in many parts of the world. They’re sold in markets fried, roasted and even alive. There are usually several varieties that you can choose from – the common cockroach is my personal favourite, the chocolate-covered cricket. Eaten alive, dipped in chocolate and quickly eaten before it climbs up your chopstick.
5. Chilled Ant Salad (Denmark)
Chilled ants in a salad. They’re served live and crawling over green lettuce leaves. The ants are chilled so they are slow and easy to eat. If this is a dish you fancy, pop out to the garden, gather up some ants, chill in the fridge and sprinkle over your salad. Voila! Try serving that at your next bbq.
6. Kiviak (Greenland)
This really is gagging stuff. A traditional Greenland dish made of little Auks (birds) preserved in the hollowed guts of a seal. To enjoy this disgusting dish, hollow out the body of a seal, fill its carcass with whole Auks… beaks, skins, feathers, bones, feet…everything. The seal’s body is then “sealed” (hahaha – bad joke).
The worst is yet to come. You then leave it to ferment for seven months. When winter rolls in, dig up that lovely decaying fermented seal and literally tuck in. Generally eaten on special occasions — birthdays and weddings. Umm no thanks! And no thanks to any invitations to attend a Greenland party of any sort.
7. Tong Zi Dan (China)
Not necessarily the most disgusting, but definitely the creepiest and strangest of all the food mentioned. Tong Zi Dan is Chinese for “Virgin Boy Egg”. The Chinese boil an egg in the urine of prepubescent Chinese boys, all under the age of ten years old. I’m not kidding and to make matters worse (if it can get worse), some of the urine is collected from school toilets. Wrong, wrong and wrong on every level. Worlds apart our two cultures…or maybe not. People like to be peed on in Australia, (that’s another article all together).
8. Scorpion Soup (China)
Scorpion soup – as its name implies is a soup made from scorpions. Preparing and eating scorpion soup can be a tricky task as you can obviously get stung by these unfriendly creatures. Scorpions are eaten in the south of China and have a woody taste. Umm – I think I will stick to vegetable soup thanks.
9. Human Placenta
I was hesitating about adding this item, but it’s definitely eaten by enough people to be worthy of a mention (and is right up there with disgusting). Those who advocate eating their own placenta believe that it can prevent postpartum depression and other pregnancy complications.
There are a variety of ways you can eat your placenta: smoothie, capsules and a placenta fruit juice cocktail. This is not something you take home from the hospital and blend on high-speed for 10 seconds, you need to enlist the help of a placenta encapsulation specialist. Whatever sees you through the tough parts of being pregnant, I’m all for. Enjoy your smoothie ladies.
10. Jellied Moose Nose (Alaska)
The ‘jelly’ part makes it sound sweet, like lovely sweet jelly you might spread on a cracker. Not so, the jellied part is the moose’s nose after being smashed, boiled and slowly prepared. A traditional and time-honoured Alaskan dish of real sliced moose snout. Again, no thanks!
These are just a few of the many disgusting dietary disasters offered up by cultures around the world. Whether they are delicacies or monstrosities, they’re someone’s favourite food.
Which among these weird and repulsive foods have you eaten? Or will you ever eat these?