In case you’re traveling somewhere soon, be on the lookout for weird foods. Here are 10 you’ve never tasted before.
1. Khash – Middle East, East Europe and Turkey
A pretty gruesome little dish made up of stewed cows feet and head. It was once a winter comfort food but is now considered a delicacy. I’m sure it’s fine, so long as you don’t mind that grinning skull staring at you through its cold dead eyes.
2.Tuna Eyeballs – Japan
Although it sounds nasty, apparently it’s rather tame, tasting pretty similar to squid or octopus. None of the gunk you’d normally associate with slicing up eyeballs then?
3. Hákarl – Iceland
The rotting carcass of a Greenland or basking (Somniosidae) shark. It’s buried underground in a shallow pit and pressed with stones so the poisonous internal fluids that allow it to live in such cold waters can be drained out making the meat safe to eat. After this it’s hung out to dry before being cut into strips and served. With a smell that’s described as ammonia-rich and a strong ‘fishy-flavour’, it was described by Anthony Bourdain as “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” he’d tried.
4. Century Egg / 100 Year Old Egg / 1000 Year Old Egg – China
Yeah, OK, it’s neither a century nor a millennium old, but this egg is pretty rotten. After being preserved in a mixture of clay, ash and quicklime for a few months, the yolk turns a dark green or even black and slimy while the white turns to a dark brown translucent jelly. Apparently it smells strongly of sulphur and ammonia, but tastes like a hardboiled egg… until you breathe out that is.
5. Jing Leed (Grasshoppers) – Thailand
So, yes, this is a big old grasshopper seasoned with salt, pepper power and chilli and fried in a big wok. Tastes a little like hollow popcorn skin… except a little juice squirts out when you bite into it… nice.
6. Wasp Crackers – Japan
Yep, you guessed it, it’s a biscuit filled with wasps. Think chocolate chip cookies, only the insects replace the choccy chips. Apparently the digger wasp, which the biscuit contains, has a pretty mean sting. I wish your tongue good luck.
7. Fried Spider – Cambodia
Fried spider is a regional delicacy popular in the Cambodian town of Skuon, prepared by marinating it in MSG, sugar and salt and then frying it in garlic. Apparently it has more meat on it than a grasshopper, but also has brown sludge in the abdomen, which consists of mainly innards, eggs and excrement. Yum.
8. Witchetty Grub – Australia
Part of the Australian ‘bushmeat’ family, this was another staple of Indigenous Australians in the desert. These can either be eaten raw, when it tastes like almonds, or lightly cooked, where its skin crisps like roast chicken and its insides take on the look and consistency of scrambled egg.
9. Bird’s Nest Soup – Southeast Asia
This Asian delicacy is made from the nest of the swiftlet bird, who instead of collecting twigs for its bed, builds it out of its own gummy saliva, which goes hard when exposed to air. Usually the built high up on cliff faces, harvesting them is a dangerous business and many people die each year. Whether its ‘rubbery taste’ is worth this human sacrifice, I’ve yet to find out.
10. Southern Fried Rattlesnake – United States
A favourite in the Southwestern United States, it’s said to taste a little like frogs legs. Experts advise boiling the meat off the bones before dipping in egg and covering in seasoned salt mix, flour and breadcrumbs. Deep fat fry and munch away.