10 Weirdest Foods in the World
One of the greatest joys of traveling is sampling the local delicacies. But what if that delicacy isn't so...delicate? From insects to intestines, these 10 dishes are perfect for channeling your inner Andrew Zimmern. They do take a strong stomach, though -- and a strong mind.
Haggis; Biology Big Brother, flickr
Every Scottish family has their own recipe for haggis and pubs and restaurants around the country have their own variations as well. No matter where you get it, the main ingredients will be a sheep's pluck: heart, liver and lungs. After the organs are mixed with onion, oatmeal, spices, and salt, the dish is then stuffed inside the sheep's stomach and cooked for three hours.
2. Maggot Cheese
This Sardinian cheese is known locally as casu marzu and is famous for the fly larvae found inside. That's right, there are maggots. In the cheese. Usually made from sheep's milk, the cheese ferments as a result of the digestive action of the larvae. While some people clear the bugs out before eating, it is traditionally served with the larvae still inside.
3. Bird's Nest Soup
Think of this as like the Chinese version of mom's chicken soup. It is made using the nests of cave swifts -- the nests are held together by bird saliva, which gives it a unique texture. Since nests are high in nutrients, the soup is said to be the cure for what ails you. Besides boosting the immune system, it's also thought to help with digestion, sexual prowess, asthma, and concentration.
Thousand-Year Eggs; laughlin, flickr
4. Thousand-Year Eggs
It doesn't actually take a thousand years to prepare the eggs, but it can take several months. To make this Chinese dish, duck or chicken eggs are preserved in clay and ash with a mixture of salt, lime, and rice straw. When the process is complete, the yolk becomes a dark green substance with a strong sulfur and ammonia smell and the egg whites turn dark brown and jelly-like.
Muktuk is an Eskimo dish of frozen whale skin and blubber that is usually made from the bowhead whale. It is traditionally eaten raw, though it can also be served diced, breaded, and deep fried or even pickled. Muktuk can be found all over Alaska's Inuit communities during the summer and fall whaling season.
Fugu; Claudia~~~~, flickr
Otherwise known as puffer fish, fugu is one of the world's deadliest dishes. The fish contains a neurotoxin that can cause paralysis and even death. Yet it's still one of the greatest sushi delicacies in Japan. Only licensed cooks are allowed to prepare it after strict training that has to be done in Japan. The fish is carefully sliced to remove the poisonous organs and skin. If you want to take a chance on fugu, it is best eaten in the winter when the fish are caught fresh.
Fried tarantulas are a delicacy in Cambodia and women walk around with large trays and sell sacks of spiders for just a dollar. Pull the legs off and eat two at a time. Not everyone eats the sack at the end, though. It holds the web as well as the heart and eggs and can be a bit...chewy.
8. Rocky Mountain Oysters
The North American dish, sometimes called prairie oysters, is made of buffalo or bull testicles. After being flattened, the testicles are deep fried and served up hot. The best place to find them is at festivals in states heavy with ranchers or cattlemen. The "World's Largest Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed" takes place in June at Eagle Fun Days in Eagle, Idaho.
Balut; kin0be, flickr
Commonly sold in the Philippines, Balut is a fertilized duck egg with a nearly developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in its shell. The broth surrounding the embryo is sipped before the shell is peeled and the yolk and young chick are eaten. Vendors often sell balut in buckets of sand (used to retain warmth) with salt on the side.
This Korean octopus dish can be served two ways. The most adventurous dig into the whole octopus live, while others eat it freshly deceased (either way the creature will continue to squirm). Be aware that the tentacles will stick to everything, including the your throat -- choking is a major hazard. The very chewy dish is not overly flavorful, but it does give new meaning to the term fresh food.
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