The only way to really explore a country is to explore their cuisine, even if it is super weird, hairy, creepy, or downright gross. I am the kind of girl that travels to a new place with a food bucket list longer than my ‘to do’ list, even if it involves things that others wouldn’t dare think of eating, including the controversial.
Before I begin I just want to say that I have eaten some controversial foods in the past, but only for the one off time and experience. I apologise in advance if anything in this list may offend you or go against your beliefs, but as stated before, I intend to experience as much as I can while I’m traveling. As they say, you do you and I do me. Now let’s get in to it!
1. Pig’s Feet – Seoul, South Korea
Probably the least ‘daring’ out of the lot, pigs feet still manages to gross out a lot of Westerners. In South Korea young people are obsessed with eating pigs feet for the collagen in them to keep them looking youthful. The flavour is just like pork, however it is a combination of chewy and crunchy. It was actually delicious, three of us finished this bowl!
2. Crickets – Chiang Mai, Thailand
Insects and creepy crawlers are a huge no no for a lot of travellers, but they are a must try for the adventurous! Crunchy, salty, and flavoursome, crickets are a side snack with beer in many parts of Thailand and are surprisingly delicious (if you can get past the legs getting stuck in your teeth).
3. Frog’s Legs – Paris, France
A typical thing on most European travellers list’s, alongside snails, is frog’s legs. They taste like fish with the texture of chicken and are quite yummy, although you do not get much meat on the bones. Plus it is a little creepy when the legs and ligaments are still attached and moving about!
4. Jellyfish – Kyoto, Japan
Super chewy and with not much flavour, jellyfish is a weird and different thing to eat, but once is enough – I like flavour!
5. Cobra Venom – Luang Prabang, Laos
Controversial, cobra venom is a common alcohol in Laos supposedly used to build your strength. Super potent with a crazy after burn, it is definitely an experience, and free entertainment for the locals as they love to gather around and watch your reaction!
6. Rocky Mountain Oysters – Keystone, South Dakota, USA
So if you know your geography of the United States, you would know that South Dakota is a long long long way away from the ocean, so ‘oysters’ is just a euphemism and sound a lot nicer than ‘buffalo testicles’. Deep fried and pretty tasty, it just tastes like deep fried pork!
7. Rat – Mekong Delta, Vietnam
On a homestay in Vietnam our family served us a plate of grilled rat… I was skeptical at first (as Vietnamese rats aren’t exactly the most hygienic of the world) but I just jumped right in and ate it! It was pretty much the same as eating chicken wings, but hey I can tick it off the ‘food bucket list’.
8. Puffer Fish – Tokyo, Japan
One of the most daring things I have eaten (as there is a small chance that you may die from eating it) is puffer fish, and it is a winter delicacy in Japan. In order to be able to serve puffer fish in Japan, the chefs must go through years of qualifications, however sometimes there could be something wrong with the fish and, well, bad things happen. ‘Yolo’ right?
9. Live Squid – Seoul, South Korea
And by live, I mean put in front of you minutes after it has been chopped up that the tentacles are still moving and the suction is still functional (and for a good 15 minutes later). It feels as if you are eating worms, and they suction on to the chopsticks and your teeth! It was definitely a different experience.
10. Tarantula – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
8 big hairy legs and super crunchy, it tastes just like pork crackling. You can find tarantula pretty much anywhere in South East Asia for you to try, and its definitely a conversation starter!
11. Snake – Mekong Delta, Vietnam
To be perfectly honest, I don’t see the point in eating snake. It tastes similar to fish, but there is barely any meat – only thousands of bones! Although the broth and side dishes it comes with are delicious!
12. Scorpion – Bangkok, Thailand
Although other weird things are pictured in this ‘snack box’, I’ll only talk about the scorpion. This is the only photo I had the chance to take when I ate it, as about 5 minutes after eating it I went in to anaphylactic shock and discovered that I am allergic to them… But hey, I can still say I’ve eaten one! Obviously I will never do it again, but it wasn’t too bad. Pretty crunchy!
13. Sheep’s Testicles – Beijing, China
Deep fried Rocky Mountain Oysters is one thing, but full blown testicles is another. The Beijing night markets are a treasure chest of weird foods you can try, but this takes the cake of the things I ate that night. To be honest, they were chewy but super tasty that I actually ate the three of them.
So that’s a few of the weirdest things I have ever eaten! There are definitely some more that could make the list, and some more in the future that I am ready to experience. But until then, what is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?