Anyone who has done a bit of travelling will have probably come across some of the weird and wonderful cuisines from around the world. But no matter how well-travelled and cultural you are, there are some foods on this list that might shock you a little bit. All of the foods are pretty common in their native countries, so look out for them next time you are in one!
Ant Egg Soup – Laos
Now you might think you have seen your share of unusual soups in the world food aisle at Tesco, but I doubt you have ever seen anything this crazy. Gaeng Kai Mot Daeng is a soup made up from ant eggs, ant embryos and some cooked baby ants to make the dish a little bit more sour.
If the ant eggs don’t put you off and cement this soup as a genuine addition to this list of weirdest foods, they also add snakeshead fish and garlic to round it off. YUM! Thankfully, not all Laotian food is disgusting, as this cookbook proves.
Jellied Moose Nose – Canada
Although some of the weirdest foods come from the east, the west do not get away lightly without being featured on this list. Indigenous communities in Canada consider Jellied Moose Nose a rare delicacy. Canadians are not really strangers to moose meat as they eat moose sausages and steaks, so it is little wonder they also found a way to make use of the tender meat in the nose.
The cuts of both white and dark meat are trapped in a gelantized broth, and the entire thing is very similar to European head cheese, which is also disgusting. If you are going to try your hand at Canadian cuisine, you might want to start with something like Poutine which is less gross but still controversial.
Fermented Shark – Iceland
Iceland is a beautiful country. There are so many pretty and wonderful things to see and do. The Blue Lagoon. The Northern Lights. Gulfoss. But just because there are pretty things to SEE it doesn’t mean that there are pretty things to EAT. Fermented shark, or Hakarl as they call it, really is what it says on the tin.
Fermented shark has a very strong ammonia like smell which comes from the shark being fermented for four to five months. It’s so bad, first time eaters are often told they will gag. But none the less Icelandic people love this little treat and it is served on wooden sticks. I actually went to Iceland a little while back but wasn’t brave enough to try this. We were definitely brave enough to steal something super bad from the Air BnB though.
Fortunately this seems to be the worst of all of the Icelandic cuisine.
Chicken in Can – America
(Picture from https://thelaststand.fandom.com/wiki/Chicken-in-a-Can)
Again, we really can’t limit the weirdest foods to places in Asia or where it is too icy for normal food like cows to exist. Trust me, places like America and the UK also have some right shockers. Unfortunately this one really does exist and it is every bit as gross as you would think. The brand “Sweet Sue” sell chicken in a can in America.
The infamous chicken in a can has made it onto a number of blogs and Youtube channels. Some people have even been savage enough to try it and film their reactions.
Balut – Philippines
The cuisine of the Phillipines is a wonderful mish-mash of different cultures like Asian, American and Spanish. But one thing that is steadfastly Filipino is Balut. Balut is a partially fertilized duck egg which is boiled like a normal egg and eaten whole.
Balut is quite hard to cook as the embryos have to be kept warm enough for the embryo to start growing. Balut is the national food of the Philippines and is sold pretty much everywhere. You don’t even need to leave your house, as there are many street vendors who cycle around on bikes selling it. Considering the amount of time I spend in the Philippines it’s probably weird I haven’t tried it. The rest of the cuisine in the Philippines is particularly nice though. My two personal favourites are pancit and dynamite sticks.
Casu Marzu – Sardinia
(Picture from https://culturecheesemag.com/blog/cultures-believe-not-casu-marzu)
Everyone loves a bit of cheese right? Well, even the biggest cheese lover in the world might not be a fan of Cazu Marzu. This delightful sheep milk cheese from Sardinia contains live insect larvae.
Crazily, Sardinians consider it safer to eat when the maggots inside the cheese are alive. Naturally this cheese is banned by the EU and rogue maggot cheese traders face heavy fines. I should imagine you need a pretty shit hot cheese grater to grate maggot cheese.
Century Egg – China
(Picture from http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20151208-the-rotten-egg-people-love-to-eat)
Back over to our friends in the far east for this particularly delightful delicacy the century egg, or thousand year egg. Century eggs are an age old tradition which involves preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in clay, ash and salt among a couple of other things.
Like the fermented shark, century eggs have an ammonia taste/smell to them and first time eaters often gag. Not to mention they also look pretty gruesome.