‘Sapu Mhicha’, Nepal
When visiting Nepal’s capital city you must visit a tradition ‘Newa’ eatery. Newari are the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu valley and have a variety of foods that deserve a place on this list. But the weirdest of all is perhaps the Sapu Mhicha – a pouch of buffalo tripe (stomach lining) filled with bone marrow and fried with spices. To eat, one must put the whole Sapu Mhicha in the mouth leaving the tied end held in the fingers. This way the melted bone marrow remains in the mouth when the tripe is ripped! It’s a local favourite but seriously hard to stomach.
Photo by Niranjan Shrestha
Goats Lungs, Nepal
This delicacy is widely available in Nepal, especially in restaurants serving ‘Newari’ cuisine and is often cooked in the home too for special gatherings. A full set of goat lungs are filled with a flour, egg, and water mixture. To fill the lungs, one must blow at the oesophagus to inflate the lungs and pump in the mixture to completely fill the lungs. Once it is full, the opening of the oesophagus is tied and the set of lungs is placed in a large pot of boiling water. Once cooked, it is sliced and deep-fried. If you don’t have the ‘pleasure’ of witnessing how this is prepared, and visual of lungs and goats aside, the taste is actually not bad!
Century eggs, China
The name in itself makes you want to barf, right? But actually they are not preserved for 100 years. Century eggs take around 4 to 5 weeks to prepare, a bold few seconds to succumb to sulphur and ammonia whilst opening the egg and a couple of minutes to stomach this Chinese delicacy. These popular preserved eggs, date back centuries to the Ming Dynasty. This weird food is not popular for nothing; apparently these bad boys are a burst of flavour.
Tuna Eye Ball, Japan
Japan is well renowned for its delicate sushi platters and raw tuna cuts. If you venture into the fish markets you will also see boxes of tune eyeballs staring back at you. This weird food is a popular appetizer or bar snack in Japan. Some say you can eat the tuna eyeballs raw, however it is also suggested to eat them cooked since it can accumulate bacteria fairly quickly. High in omega-3, Tuna eyeballs resemble the texture of rubbery squid or octopus that tastes like a seasoned hard-boiled egg. Whilst this eating all parts of the fish is more sustainable than throwing away parts, I think I’ll find another source of omega-3, thanks!
Photo by The Mad Traveler
Crispy Tarantula, Cambodia
We’ve seen an array of travellers and globetrotters stomaching a variety of cooked bugs and insects across Asia, but the thought of eating the big ol’ scary tarantula is definitely another level of weird… and horrific!
This delicacy was born out of desperation and survival during the Khmer Rouge movement in the 1970s. Locals would grab anything they find to eat and survive the poverty and hunger. It is now an expensive delicacy enjoyed by locals with a glass of beer or wine… but this is only for special occasions as they have become rather expensive. Think about that hairy-legged spider for a sec and imagine the crunch in your palate… I don’t think any seasoning or garlic can overcome the thought of eating this creature.
Rocky Mountain Oysters, US
Don’t be fooled. There is nothing ‘oyster’ in this dish. These meat ‘balls’ are made from bull testicles. They originate from ranchers in the West Rocky Mountain region with the need to experiment with inexpensive meat sources. The bull’s testicles are typically skinned, pounded, coated in flour, seasoned with salt and pepper and fried. Apparently bull’s balls are rich in minerals and proteins and have no effect on the human consumer’s hormone balance. Enjoy Rocky Mountain ‘Oysters’ with a cocktail dipping sauce!
Photo by Roaring Fork Lifestyle
Casu Marzu, Italy
Casu Marzu comes from the idyllic island of Sardinia. Us “Westerners” wouldn’t think anything weird of an Italian cheese … but this one my friends, is infested with fly larvae… maggots!
The sheep’s milk is left to sit, to turn into curd, for weeks. Its crust is then removed inviting flies to lay their eggs. After two to three months the eggs would have hatched and begun eating their way through their cheese. The excretions of the maggots are what give this weird cheese its flavour. If you’re concerned of any health hazards associated with eating this cheese, you are right in being so. The EU banned Casu Marzu due to obvious health concerns, and this weird food is now probably only be found on the Italian black market.
Photo by Rob Sheridan
Frogs legs, France, South East Asia
Yep, that’s right. Alongside escargot (snails in French), the French are still eating frog’s legs and this delicacy may be becoming more popular! According to The Local, the French eat an estimated 80 million a year (that’s 160 million frog legs). Back in the day, frogs were sourced from swamps in France but this was made illegal in the 1980s, with exceptions made for personal consumption. Frog legs are now most likely sourced from Indonesia who supplies over 80% of European imports. Frog legs are not only popular in France but also in many South East Asian countries. The taste of this weird food highly depends on the cooking method and seasoning. We would say it’s like chicken with fish seasoning. Weird huh?
Here we go with the larvae again! Escamoles is basically edible larvae and pupae of ants. This dish is most commonly eaten in Mexico City and the surrounding areas and once considered a delicacy by the Aztecs … a kind of insect caviar if you like. It has a cottage-cheese-like texture with a buttery and nutty taste. Putting the gross-out factor aside it has been described as tasty and memorable. Well, yes, not easy to forget this one!
I hope you enjoyed this round up of weird, sometimes terrifying and stomach-upsetting, foods around the world!
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