There’s adventurous food, and then there’s this…
If you thought goat curry from your local take out was a bit out there, your mind is about to be well and truly blown. Food is a grand culmination of history, belief, tradition and nutrition, and the more you travel, the stranger you’ll find the traditions get. As the saying goes, one mans junk is another mans treasure, and it just may take an entire treasure chest to convince you to try one of these utterly obscure local delicacies. We hereby dare you…
Waste not, want not. You can find these peering treats in many Japanese stores and bars, that is – if they don’t see you first! These gulp worthy treats have become increasingly popular thanks to their high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, but somehow we’re not sure the trend will make it worldwide…
Balut – Philippines
Enjoy a developing bird embryo, where you can 100% spot the body parts before digging in. This so called delicacy is common street food in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. The egg is boiled, eaten from its shell and often comes with a beer. And thank goodness, because you’ll definitely need something to wash it down.
If you have arachnophobia you may want to skip this one. A species of tarantula is fried in oil and served as a hairy, speciality snack. It’s a classic delicacy in the Cambodian town of Skuon; but fear not, you can also find it in other parts of Cambodia as well. Enjoy.
Caviar, anyone? The edible larvae and pupae of ants is harvested from the agave roots of tequila or mescal plants, and is known throughout jet set circles in Mexico as insect caviar. The Mexican delicacy makes for a yummy, buttery tasting taco filling, if you can get over what you’re eating.
The hearts, liver and lungs of a sheep, minced with onion, suet, oatmeal and spices and then traditionally cooked inside the animals stomach. This is more of a “must” in Scotland than a delicacy, so if you’re planning on going full Braveheart, grab the Scotch to flush it down and get ready to celebrate Burns night.
Casu Marzu – Italy
Does rotten cheese sound tempting? That’s literally what this is, with one extra strange twist. The Sardinian tradition of Casu Marzu involves leaving pecorino cheese far beyond fermentation, into decomposition. The larvae from cheese flies break down the fats making it a soft cheese and live in the cheese as small, white maggots. Once finished, you eat it – maggots optional. Lovely…
If you have or had one as a pet, do skip this section now. Your guinea pig is in a better place. A popular part of the diet in Peru, guinea pigs are easy to farm and bring in legitimate income to many families. It can be served fried, broiled, roasted or in a casserole, depending on your highly questionable tastes.
Funazushi – Japan
Chopsticks and nose plugs, please. Most people are turned off just by the smell, and we don’t blame them. Raw fish is preserved in salt and aged for a year, then packed in rice and fermented for another 3-4 years. The overwhelming smell and sharp vinegar taste is commonly described as unbearable, but to some, it’s a “sushi” icon. It’s also expensive, which can be your excuse.
Honestly, we could do a whole separate list of truly obscure Chinese delicacies; including sheep’s penis, chicken testicles, birds nest soup, 1000 year old eggs, stinky tofu and more – but we went with the scorpions, because, why not. Or better yet, why?
Cobra Heart – Vietnam
In the words of Indiana Jones: I hate snakes. A terrifying cobra is killed right there in front of you and the heart is poured straight into a glass – still beating. You’ll need a pretty strong stomach for this one, and an even shorter memory. Down in one?