Weirdest Culinary Curiosities in the World – DKODED!
Dining is deemed to be the highlight of any travel experience. Trying new food and new cuisine is a memorable experience. But, if you want to double that fun and triple the worth of your experience, you need to surprise your palate with some of the strangest foods around the world.
“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!!!”
If you frown at this situation because there’s a fly in your soup, then you may want to give this page a skip. Or, if you frown at this situation because there’s only 1 fly in your soup, you can’t be at a better place. Welcome to the world of bizarre foods!
1. Balut – The World’s Weirdest Duck Dish
Bored of eggs boiled, baked, half-baked, scrambled or fried? Then try yourself a Balut, an egg that harbours a surprise for you!
Balut is a Filippino dish in which a developing embryo of a bird (mostly duck) is boiled alive while still in the shell. Typically eaten with a pinch of salt, lemon juice, black pepper and coriander; it is a common accompaniment to beer. The popular way to eat Balut is to crack open the egg, sip the broth and then eat the yolk and foetus.
2. Haggis – The National Dish of Scotland
You better not grimace at this cuisine, especially when you are in Scotland, you may be charged for being disrespectful towards the nation. After all, Haggis is the National dish of Scotland, dating back to as old as 1400.
Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish that is prepared inside a sheep’s stomach. Not only that, its mixture is a combination of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs. This mixture is then assorted with onion, oatmeal, spices and stock before being stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and simmered. Once cooked, as expected, this Scottish dish is usually enjoyed with Scotch whiskey.
3. Fugu – The Deadly Puffer Fish
Did you ever link ‘Adventure’ with ‘Food’? Most of us would say an obvious ‘No’; unless you have tried this famous (rather infamous) Japanese delicacy.
To be honest, this bizarre cuisine is more than being just adventurous, it’s freaking DANGEROUS!!
For many Fugu connoisseurs, it became their last meal!
Fugu, also called a blow fish or a puffer fish, is a poisonous fish that has enough poison to kill 30 people. Its poison is 1,200 times deadlier than cyanide. Therefore, while preparing Fugu, the most critical step is to completely get rid of the poison from the fish. Chefs undergo a rigorous training of 2-3 years to become licensed to prepare Fugu. Domestic preparation of Fugu has claimed a lot of lives and is banned in many countries.
4. Rocky Mountain Oysters – The Scrotum of Bulls
Have you got the ‘balls’ to try this crazy cuisine? Don’t confuse this with oysters or any other sea food, you’re in for something much crazier than that!
Rocky Mountain Oysters, also called Prairie Oysters in North America, are mammal testicles which usually come from bulls, pigs, bison and sheep. It is prepared in different ways and can be sautéed, braised, broiled, or poached after being peeled, pounded flat and coated in flour, salt and pepper. It may look as bad as it sounds but it’s actually a sought-out delicacy, in fact a Denver-based brewery has derived beer from it. Yes, it’s called Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, which is brewed from bull testicles.
5. San-nakji – The Dead Yet Alive Octopus
One dish you can never dress to perfection! Because every time you arrange its ingredients in a desired manner, they play a spoil sport and move around at their own whims and fancies!
San-nakji is a traditional Korean cuisine whose name loosely translates to baby-octopus. It is mostly served with chopped and seasoned tentacles of small but long-armed octopuses called Nakji. The real differentiating factor of this weird delicacy is that you’ll find the octopus tentacles squirming alongside a variety of dipping sauces. Just a word of caution – don’t forget to chew as soon as you manage to put it in your mouth, as there have been cases in which the octopus has used its powerful suckers to grasp onto the diner’s esophagus, thus choking them to death.
6. Century Egg – The Chinese Rotten Egg
Century Egg, also known as the Hundred-Year Egg or a Pidan, is preserved (rather rotten) for as long as an entire century. In lieu of such a long time of preparation, one thing is almost certain:
One who prepares it, won’t get to consume it in one’s lifetime!
Okay wait, before you get bamboozled, that’s not entirely true!
Century Egg is a traditional Chinese food, primarily a preserved egg, which is prepared in a mixture of quicklime and salt and kept covered with clay and ash for several weeks or months before it’s ready to be eaten when its yolk turns dark green or even black while the white turns into a dark brown translucent jelly.
7. Shirako – A Notch Above Traditional Caviar
If Caviar freaks you out, you should give Shirako a skip! Yes, the white paste may look like mayonnaise at a glance, but a connoisseur would know, it’s actually fish semen.
Shirako is referred to as the sperm sacs of cod, angler fish or puffer fish. The sperm or semen of a fish is also referred to as fish milt. Milt is often harvested by hand, but an easier way to retrieve it is directly from the genitals of a dead fish. Shirako is served on top of rice, or served fried in tempura batter, or even garnished on top of custard. It is mostly admired for its rich, velvety texture and mild sea-like taste.
8. Hákarl – The Rancid and Toxic Shark
Inspired by preparation of spirits, the process of preparing Hákarl is a time consuming affair, too.
“The single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing”Anthony Bourdain – American Celebrity Chef
Hákarl is a national dish of Iceland consisting of Greenland sharks or other sleeper sharks. Firstly, the shark needs to be gutted and beheaded before it’s buried in a shallow grave and covered with sand and stones for 2-3 months. It is apparently given this special treatment to do away with the poisonous fluids it has to survive in cold waters. Once taken out, it’s then hung upside-down for several more months to get dried before being cut into strips and served.
9. CasuMarzu – The Trampoline of Maggots
This strange Italian delicacy might not look as disgusting or dangerous as it is. It roughly translates to “rotten cheese” and is
banned in Italy for its health implications.
CasuMarzu takes months to make. Firstly, sheep’s milk is heated to make pecorino cheese that is then left out to cure for about three weeks. The cheese is then cut to invite “cheese flies” to lay their eggs inside. After a few months in a dark hut, the eggs hatch into larvae that eat, digest, and excrete the cheese, giving the cheese its pungent odor of fly poop. And, the ‘fresh’ CasuMarzu is ready to eat! Yes, along with the live maggots.
These live maggots can jump up to 6 inches or 15 centimeters!
So, when you savour one of the most expensive cheese delicacies, there are high chances that these larvae might end up launching themselves at your face, or even worse, into your eyes.
10. Bird’s Nest Soup – The Saliva Soup
Again, the name might mislead you into believing that your soup is made up of some magical dried leaves and herbal twigs of the nest. But, hold on, this bird is a little different. It keeps SPITTING along a branch of a tree to build its real estate.
Bird’s Nest Soup is a traditional Asian cuisine prepared using a bird’s nest that is made out of bird saliva, which has dried and hardened over time. That’s right, so when you’re eating a bowl of Bird’s Nest Soup, you’re basically having a bowl of spit. These nests of spittle are created by Swiftlets, the little birds indigenous to Southeast Asia that dwell in caves.