Our world is full of culinary adventures! But there is not only haute cuisine or beautifully arranged Eggs Benedict or Poké Bowls. There are so many things out there that you have most probably never even heard of or thought that it could be something to eat. Let alone be called a delicacy in some cultures.
You will probably call many of the following local specialties bizarre or odd. But you know: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – and so is taste! What may seem weird or even disgusting to you, is something normal and delicious to others, and vice versa. Therefore, we encourage you to broaden your horizons and maybe try some of these traditional dishes, provided that they don’t involve cruelty towards animals or other unethical issues, of course!
Be brave, you might even like some of them – or at least have a good story to tell your friends! Here are the most curious foods from around the globe:
We know what you were thinking straight away! This traditional and very popular South Korean snack – which is nicknamed ‘penis fish’ for a very good reason – is actually a species of marine spoon worm. Fresh Geabul can be found on markets and is a common dish to order at restaurants across South Korea. The typical dish is either eaten raw or as an umami enhancer in other dishes.
Even though it may seem like at at first glance, this Japanese delicacy is not little white brains – it is basically the semen from male fish such as cod, anglerfish, salmon or pufferfish. Restaurants usually serve the traditional dish in both raw and cooked form. The seminal fluid has a sweet and custardy taste but is probably not for everybody! Probably one of the most curious foods on this list.
Mainly harvested in the Spanish region of Galicia, Percebes are the most exclusive seafood in the world. The curious delicacy costs up to 200 Euros per kilo and is therefore even more expensive than caviar. The goose neck barnacles, as they are known in English, are delicate in taste and give you the proper flavor of the sea.
Suri is one of those delicacies that probably makes many people cringe straight away. The giant larvae of palm weevils from the Peruvian Amazon are often marinated and grilled on swekers and eaten as street food. What could seem like a gimmick for tourists, is actually a true favorite of the Amazonian locals who value the grubs for their taste and nutritious features.
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Chicha De Jora
Of course, there are not only traditional dishes that seem odd to other people, but also drinks – and Chicha de jora is one of them. Chicha is a corn beer form the Incas which they used for their sacrificial ceremonies. Originally, the brewing process involved human spit in order to activate fermentation. While this method has been largely replaced by using more modern forms, the real saliva drink still exists in the most remote villages of the Andes.
Already the intense, rotten smell which reaches your nostrils as you open the sealed metal can makes this traditional Swedish dish a highly controversial delicacy. The fermented herring in brine is so intense that many landlords even forbid its consumption in their apartments. Nevertheless, many Swedes like this odd delicacy and if you are brave enough, you might even enjoy it too!
Balut is a developing bird embryo, usually a duck, that is boiled and eaten from the shell. It is originally from and commonly sold as street food in the Philippines where people enjoy it with a cold beer. Balut is also popular in other Southeast Asian countries. The eggs don’t only belong in the category of curious foods but also in that of ethically controversial dishes!
Bird’s Nest Soup
This soup may not be made from twigs and moss but the main ingredient is, in fact, a bird’s nest. The housing of Southeast Asian swiflets are composed of strands of saliva. While this may sound rather unappetizing for many of you, it actually makes the traditional Chinese soup one of the most expensive dishes in the world. And if you are into super foods and have a spare penny, you might want to check it out at least for its alleged health benefits.
Cuisses De Grenouille
Cuisses de grenouille are a true specialty in French cuisine. The frog legs have a similar taste and texture to chicken. While this may be widely accepted especially in international haute cuisine, frog legs are probably still a rather odd delicacy. For many people it may be difficult not to constantly think of the slimy, ugly animals from which they stem from.
While this Mexican delicacy looks like light yellow, bean-like grains, it might surprise or shock many people what it actually is: eggs or larvae of giant venomous black ants that live in the roots of agave. Escamoles can be an ingredient in many different dishes like filling in tacos or omelettes.