Top 10: Strangest foods around the world

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

This is so true when it comes to the strangest foods around the world. I mean, some people do eat the strangest things.

Writing this article was very interesting for me, because being a Portuguese gal, I am used to a rich and varied cuisine within a perfectly normal range of food ingredients.

I admit that there are some things that we eat that might be seen as little bit weird, such as escargots, chicken gizzards, etc however the list below it goes beyond my wildest imagination, when it comes to weirdness.

Now, if you are too sensible please think twice before you keep reading, if you are about to go and grab a bite please stop reading immediately! ☺

Jokes aside, I hope you find the top interesting and that some of you even consider in having a go at some of the suggestions given.

1. Deep fried tarantula

When you think about big and hairy huge spiders, the first thing that comes to mind is to run the hell a way, right? Well, it depends. For instance, in Cambodia, fried spiders are a common and a much appreciated delicacy. The spiders “a-ping” or “Thai zebra” tarantula, a species that is about the size of a human hand, are tossed in garlic and salt before being deep fried until crisp. Most people only are brave enough to eat the legs and the upper body’s flesh, but the most courageous also eat the abdomen, which contains a runny paste and sometimes even eggs.

2. Century eggs

This delicacy comes from China and it is also known as millennium eggs, thousand-year-old eggs or pidan – are quail, duck or chicken eggs preserved in a mixture of ashes, clay and salt for several months. During this process, the egg’s white turns to a jelly-like brown mixture, while the yolk turns into a greenish or grayish cream. They release a powerful smell of sulfur and ammonia and their taste is very strong and complex.

3. Balut

This specialty comes from Philippines and may shock animal lovers all over the world. Balut are fertilized duck eggs, which means that they already contain a duck embryo. They are boiled and served with their shell: you then pierce a little hole on top of the egg and sip the liquid inside. Once that is done, it is time to break the shell and savor a delicious unborn baby duck. This delicacy is most often eaten when the embryo are 17 days old, because at this stage the chick is boneless and not yet really formed; however there are some people that prefer to eat it when it is as old as 21 days and has a beak, feathers and bones. Brave people indeed!

4. Durian

Durian it is a yellow, spiky fruit from Southeast Asia and at a first glance, it seems a perfectly normal fruit; however this one comes with a catch: a strong, foul smell which has, often, been compared to rotting flesh, sewers and dirty socks. The smell is so intense that has been banned from several hotels in Asia and is not allowed in many airports around the world

5. Escamoles

This next delicious delicacy comes from Mexico and can easily be confounded with white beans, however they are in fact, giant black Lipometum ants’ eggs. It is said that they have a consistency similar to cottage cheese and apparently, a nice buttery taste.

6. Lutefisk

This delicious specialty comes to us from Norway and it is the Viking dish par excellence. It is made from dried white fish – cod or ling. It is placed in water for several days, then in a lye-saturated solution for two more days, until the fish’s flesh turn into jelly. Since lye is a poisonous and toxic substance, the process does not stop there: At this point, the lye-saturated fish could kill the one who eats it. In order to make it edible, the lutefisk is soaked in daily changed water for about a week, until most of the lye is gone. Lutefisk is often mocked for its strong, nearly unbearable smell. Because of the toxic products used in its making, it is nicknamed “weapon of mass destruction,” “rat poison” or “fork destroyer”.

Lye is a term that can refer to the liquid obtained by leaching ashes (containing largely potassium carbonate or “potash”), or to a strong alkali which is highly soluble in water producing caustic basic solutions. It is commonly the alternative name of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or historically potassium hydroxide (KOH).

7. Raw Blood Soup

Tiet Cahn, or raw blood soup, is a traditional Vietnamese dish that contains very few ingredients: chicken gizzards and raw duck blood, topped with peanuts and herbs. Tiet Cahn is chilled before eating: the blood then coagulates and has the texture of jelly. Sound delicious, doesn’t? I think I would only feast on the chicken gizzards! To remind me of Portugal!☺

8. Live Cobra Heart

As putted by someone, this “meal is not for the faint-hearted – please take notice of the play on words. This is not a common dish in Vietnam however there are some people that do eat them, because they believe that by doing that they will inherit a part of the snake’s power and strength. There is a ritual that goes like this: A live cobra is selected by the customer from a selection of specimens—the nastier, the better. Its head is then cut off and it’s still beating heart ripped out, placed in a saucer with a bit of the blood, ready to be gulped and swallowed whole.

9. Scorpion Soup

Traditionally eaten in southern China, it is said that scorpions have a nice, wooden taste and their venom is neutralized by the cooking process. But beware: Eating scorpion soup and especially preparing it can still be dangerous as some people have come to realize.

10. Casu Marzu

If one takes the time to think about the matter, all cheeses are kind of gross – fermented milk, full of bacteria and germs of all sorts; however the casu marzu goes beyond simple fermentation as it comes very close to actual decomposition. This Italian pecorino—a.k.a. sheep milk cheese—is crawling with, guess what? If you guessed live fly larvae, you were right. When the making process is finished the cazu marzu’s crust is cut open; in order to let flies lay their eggs in the cheese. Once those eggs hatch, little larvae are born, making their way through the cheese and giving it its strong, unique taste. Some people love to eat their casu marzu with the larvae still alive and wiggling, others prefer to suffocate them with a paper bag prior to eating the cheese… Which of the options given strikes your fancy?