25 of the Strangest Foods from Around The World

Posted by on November 18, 2011

What do fried brains, puffin hearts, and drunken shrimp have in common? They are all considered delicacies somewhere in the world. While most people probably do not consider the contents of their cookbooks to be too strange, to a foreigner your lunch could be the equivalent of a nightmare. So, before we dive into our culinary tour of the strangest foods from around the world you should ask yourself how much you really want to know about the eating habits of your fellow humans.
25

Fried Brain Sandwich

Wikimedia

Largely a dish of the past, these used to be popular in the Central United States until mad cow disease became a concern. Although people still eat them, serving brain from a cow that is over 30 months old at slaughter is no longer legal in the United States.

24

Escamole

Wikimedia

Ant larvae harvested from the roots of the agave plant, these are considered to be a delicacy in Mexico. In fact, they are sometimes even referred to as “insect caviar” . It is said that they taste like butter but slightly nutty.

23

Hakarl

Wikimedia

Typically eaten in Iceland, they say that this fermented basking shark is an acquired taste. We believe the hype considering that Chef Anthony Bourdain of the Travel Channel described it as “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” he had ever eaten.

22

Bird’s Nest Soup

Wikimedia

For hundreds of years the Chinese have used saliva nests in their cooking, primarily in this soup. While there are many varieties, birds nest soup as a whole is one of the most expensive foods on the planet with the red nest variety costing up to 10,000 USD per bowl.

21

Drunken Shrimp

weirdworm.com

A popular dish in parts of china where the shrimp are eaten alive but stunned in a strong liquor prior to consumption. This recipe is also popular in parts of the United States but it includes an intermediary step known as “cooking”.

20

Surstromming

Wikimedia

A northern swedish dish that consists of fermented baltic herring, it is usually sold in cans like the one above. While they are being shipped the cans sometimes bulge due to the ongoing fermentation. Recently, a study in Japan found that surstromming releases the most putrid odor of any food in the world. Somehow it makes sense that it’s usually eaten outdoors.

19

Sannakji

Wikimedia

Like many eastern foods, this one is served raw. Very raw. Just watch as the chef dismembers a small octopus before your eyes and seasons the pieces with sesame oil, if he can hit them that is, because many times they are still moving on the plate as you reach for your chopsticks.

18

Rocky Mountain Oysters

teamjimmyjoe.com

While them might be from the rocky mountains, they are certainly not oysters. They are actually bull-calf testicles – peeled, flattened, and deep fried, yum.

17

Kopi Luwak

kcupcoffeesite.com

One of the worlds most expensive varieties of coffee it can reach up to 150 USD per pound. It is made from coffee berry beans that have been defecated by Civets, small mammals native to Southeast Asia.

16

Stinkbugs

pbs.org

In indonesia they love these little stinkers. Supposedly though, they taste like bitter sunflower seeds without the salt. Chew quickly.

15

Lutefisk

Wikimedia

Usually eaten in Scandinavia this delicacy is made from aged stockfish and lye. Yes, lye. The corrosive alkaline substance also known as caustic soda is used to soak the fish for several days. After being removed from the lye the fish is so corrosive that it requires almost a week long bath of cold water just to become edible again.

14

Casu Marzu

Wikimedia

Coming to us from Sardinia, this dish is best described as a sheep milk cheese containing live insect larvae. The scariest part? Although the larvae are only about 8mm long they can launch themselves up to 15cm when disturbed. Bon apetit!

13

Mopane

Wikimedia

Generally found on Mopane trees (hence the name), this caterpillar is an important source of protein for millions of people in Africa. Typically they are dried out and eaten as a crispy snack.

12

Tuna Eyeball

fleealaska.com

Fairly cheap, these can be found in most Japanese grocery stores for about 1 USD. It tastes something like squid and should be boiled prior to consumption. Once again, don’t forget to season.

11

Dried Lizards

Kitchen Wench

In some Asian cultures these are used for soup and sometimes they are infused with alcohol to extract medicinal properties. The process, however, supposedly takes years.