My parents are from Malaysia, which is located in Asia, which has some of the wackiest food on the planet (sorry but it's true). This means that I've already tried some pretty unusual things, from rotten tofu (it's completely black) to bird's nest (yes, the one that's made from the bird's spit dried into strings...)!
However, I've seen some even more unusual things to eat (although, whether you could call them edible would depend on your personal food preferences) mentioned here and there. So I thought I'd make a roundup to delight and disgust all of you, and if I ever come across any on my list, I'll happily update you on my unique experience.
Just a warning: Maybe you don't want to be eating while reading this.
Source of images: Wikimedia Commons
10. Haggis (Scotland)
This one is still relatively tame. According to Wikipedia, haggis is made of sheep's liver, heart, and lungs (mmmmh!), stuffed into its stomach. Yep, it's basically one big ball of cooked sheep's innards.
Visit Scotland's website states:
As strange as haggis may sound, the end result is a culinary masterpiece. Meaty, oaty, fiery and moist, haggis makes a scrumptious meal.
I'll take your word for it for now!
9. Huitlacoche (Mexico)
Mouldy corn? Looks worse than it probably tastes, because after all, we in Europe eat mouldy things too, like blue cheese. I think I'd be up for tasting this if I saw other people eating it!
Nevertheless, the word huitlacoche apparently translates to something like "sleeping excrement", which doesn't exactly inspire confidence, right?
8. Tuna Eyeballs (Japan)
No, just no. The idea of eating eyes really freaks me out. I imagine it being very squishy... The fact that they're fish eyes makes it even worse! They're so bulging and they stare at you!
I'm weirded out even writing about it.
7. Guinea Pig (Latin America)
I don't know about this one. On one hand, it's a regular animal like the others we consume, on the other hand, I own a hamster, and it's just too close of a relative for comfort.
A journalist from the BBC said this about her experience:
Delicious. The marinade and slow roasting process, involving regular basting, had given it a tasty crackling-like skin, while the dark gamey meat was rich and oily, not unlike rabbit.
Some of my friends have tried guinea pig on their travels and have said that it tastes ok. Let me know if you've tried it and how it was!
6. Fugu (Japan)
Here's a dish that might not disgust you, but might actually kill you. One innocent-enough-looking pufferfish contains enough poison to kill 30 people, and the amount of poison it takes to kill one person fits on a pinhead. Reassuring, right?
I'm not sure I'd risk my life to try a local delicacy, but hey, I've done crazy things before...
5. Casu marzu (Italy)
This isn't just any stinky cheese. This cheese contains insect larvae. Yep, you read that right. This is cheese WITH MAGGOTS. I love cheese, but I'm not sure I'd love it with maggots in it... 🙁
4. Balut (Philippines)
Getting to the more disgusting things now. Balut is a developing duck embryo (still in the egg) that's boiled alive before consumption. I don't want to eat babies!! I wouldn't be able to look at its little face and gobble it down...
Nope, nope, and nope.
3. Hakarl (Iceland)
Hakarl is rotten shark meat.
This poor guy describes his experience:
So what does hákarl taste like? Some say the flavor is similar to the taste of broken dreams. But seriously, the hype is larger than the truth. Yes, it was a struggle to keep the shark down in the presence of fiercely nationalistic Icelanders, but when I tried it, the hákarl was actually somewhat sweet and initially there isn’t much taste . . . it’s the aftertaste that lingers pungently.
I'm usually not averse to trying strong-smelling food, but seeing as even Anthony Bourdain claimed that it was "the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing", I'm not so sure about this one.
2. Tarantula (Cambodia)
The idea of eating insects bothers me. I know that it's all down to conditioning and that it's actually completely fine, but I can't get over it. Especially the idea of consuming a tarantula gives me creeps to no end.
This is what someone who experienced it first hand said:
It takes like digested insects – not like chicken, as the waiter had promised. It’s not disgusting but neither is it a particularly enjoyable sensation. The more I chew it, the more it turns into a hardened little ball.
1. Rocky Mountain Oysters (USA)
You guessed it. Not oysters. In fact, these bad boys are... testicles. See, I told you not to eat while reading this.
These bull-calf testicles are peeled, flattened, fried, and then served to you for your absolute eating pleasure.
This guy says:
In the end, Rocky Mountain oysters are mostly like scallops in consistency, without the briny taste, and not any more off-putting than, say, a corndog.
So at least that sounds okay. Apparently, there are even testicle festivals! Bon appetit!
Even so, I'm not sure I'd go for it. In this case, it's more the idea of what I'm eating than the taste that would put me off, I guess.
We have arrived at the end of my list *phew*. I find all these foods fascinating and a little bit disgusting at the same time. Who knows whether I would muster up the courage to try them someday.
Excuse me while I go feel a little nauseous for a bit.