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:

Gaebul, penis fish, snack from South Korea

Gaebul

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.

Learn more about Gaebul, the genital-shaped, South Korean delicacy.

 

Shirako, male version of caviar form Japan, curious delicacy

Shirako

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.

Learn more about Shirako, Japan’s male version of caviar.

 

Percebes, goose barnacles form Galicia, Spain. Most expensive seafood in the world

Percebes

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.

Learn more about Percebes, the odd crustaceans from Spain you have probably never heard of.

 

Suri, larvae or grubs from the Peruvian Amazon, curious delicacy

Suri

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.

Learn more about Suri, the Peruvian street food straight out of the jungle.
 

 

Best traditional drinks around the world: Chicha, corn beer from Peru

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.

Learn more about Chicha, the yellowish corn beer with a rather acquired taste and human ingredient.

 

Surströmming, rotten fish in a can form Sweden, curious food

Surströmming

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!

Learn more about Surströmming, the Swedish fish delicacy with a gag factor.

 

Balut, semi-fertilized duck eggs from the Philippines, controversial delicacy

Balut

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!

Learn more about Balut, a highly controversial delicacy from the Philippines.

 

Cuisses de grenouilles, frog legs, French delicacy

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.

Learn more about Cuisses de grenouille, the curious French delicacy served in gourmet restaurants.

 

Escamoles, ant eggs from Mexico, weird food

Escamoles

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.

Learn more about Escamoles, the Mexican version of caviar.

Photos by Ryan Bodenstein, Tokyo Times

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