Weird foods around the world: disgusting, gross or just simply different from what you know? The different ways we put our food together varies tremendously around the world; while travelling, some of us will seize any opportunity to try new tastes, whereas others might simply say 'yuck!' and move on. This article will help you decide for yourself which camp you're in...
There's certainly nothing weird when it comes to our intrigue with strange food. In Sweden, the city of Malmö has its very own Disgusting Food Museum, which explores our fascination with all things edible (and arguably inedible...).
Or are you convinced that you've got a strong stomach? Well, there are loads of weird foods to try – or for want of a better word, unusual food – around the world. Whether you prove yourself right or wrong, there's only one way to find out! From cheese maggots to rotten eggs, these are some of the world's weirdest foods.
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As euphemisms go, this one’s a corker: Japanese shirako means “white children”. The delicacy it refers to are the sperm sacs of either cod, angler fish or puffer fish. It's a weird-looking food: looking like white blobs of goo or miniature brains, they are said to have a sweet custardy taste. Those who enjoy eating this unusual snack argue that shirako boasts a number of health benefits... tempted yet?
Japan is also home to a number of
It’s "waste" not "want" not when it comes to tuna in Japan.Even the eyes are plucked out and served up cheap in supermarkets. They are pretty large, after all! If you dare to try this nasty food, you can find them on menus in izakayas and restaurants throughout the country.
There are various tuna eyeball recipes – as you do – but the simplest way of cooking them it to simply boil or steam, and season with garlic or soy sauce. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they taste a little like squid.
If you want to see more fish, join Tokyo's famous fish market and tuna auction at Tsukishi and Toyosu Fish Markets with a guide.
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You’re supposed to tap a hole in the top of the shell, sup the savoury liquid and then crunch down the rest of what’s inside – feathers, bones and all. It's unsurprising that Filipino balut might not sound overly appealing, but it is a duck egg delicacy for a reason...
Few people would look at a tarantula and think “lunch”, so it’s perhaps no surprise that these spiders were first eaten by Cambodians starving under the Khmer Rouge regime. Bizarrely, fried spiders in
Want to give eating tarantulas in Cambodia
Wondering when's the best time to go (tarantula-munching optional)? Read our guide to
One of the world’s more unusual soups,
Want to try cooking some Laotian delicacies yourself? Take a tour from
Ahead of your trip, read our
Just the name of this snack is a strong contender for 'weirdest food in the world'. Nose isn’t exactly a choice cut, but that hasn’t stopped some adventurous Canadians from experimenting with nasal gastronomy by boiling them up with onions and spices, removing the hair, boiling again, then slicing and covering with a broth that sets into a jelly. It certainly looks as bad as it sounds.
For the less adventurous foodies who find themselves in
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This supposedly health-giving Korean soup is made with spring onions, dandelions, a host of spices and one infamous ingredient: dog meat. Though you will struggle to find it on menus in
There's certainly better parts to the Korean cuisine and drinks culture, like the traditional liquors and Hanok style restaurants. Discover more about
Corn smut is a fungus that turns normal corn kernels into tumour-like growths covered in blue-black spores. It may look (and certainly sound) like a disgusting food – something like a diseased corncob that needs to be thrown out – but many find it to be a delectable delight. In
If you'd rather have a more traditional foodie tour, join an authentic tour from
Glass of fermented horse milk, anyone? In Mongolia, this isn’t an unusual offer at all. They make a kind of beer called airag (or ayrag) by taking a mare’s milk and letting it ferment into a fizzy, sour and slightly alcoholic liquid. It’s traditionally served chilled in a bowl-shaped cup; dregs are supposed to be poured back into the main container.
Mongolians have been drinking airag for centuries and is similar to kumis which is found throughout Central Asia.
If imbiding fermented horse milk isn't your cup of tea, be amazed by
Known as “rotten cheese”,
If prefer a more luxurious dinner, consider wining and dining in one of Rome's most luxurious restaurants, and read our guide to
A traditional Inuit meal of frozen whale skin and blubber, muktuk is normally served either raw or pickled. It looks a little bit like liquorice all-sorts and has several layers: the skin (which apparently tastes like hazelnuts), the fat (chewy) and the protective layer in between (even more chewy).
While you might be quick to pass on this snack, muktuk is a good source of vitamins C and D. But perhaps don’t eat if wearing dentures...
How anyone conceived hakarl is a mystery, but today it's an Icelandic national dish. To prepare: first gut and behead a Greenland shark, place in a shallow grave and cover with sand and stones. Leave for two to three months, then cut into strips and dry for several more months before serving: first-time tasters are advised to hold their nose and try not to gag.
Smoked puffin, lamb soup, Skyr dessert -
If you discovered a rotten egg, would you eat it? Someone in ancient
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Many advocate keeping the fat on meat, but Ukraine decided to go one step further and just eat the fat on its own. Usually it’s made into slabs, smoked and left in a cool cellar for a year before being eaten sliced thinly with rye bread. You can either eat it raw or cooked, and Ukrainians love it so much they even have a festival of lard to celebrate it.
A pie with fish that stare at the sky: Stargazey originates from the Cornish village of Mousehole in
Now you're clued up about England's food scene, book your own
For the less adventurous,
Israel has of late been suffering from a plague of locusts, but fortunately this is the only insect to be considered Kosher, so Israelis have been eradicating the pests in a unique way: by eating them. Deep-fried and chocolate-covered locusts are apparently going down a storm (no pun intended).
Many people used to think that insects and bugs were some of the weirdest foods around the world, but they've seen something of a resurgence in recent years – don't be surprised to find them popping up on an increasing number of menus worldwide.
Besides locusts, there's plenty of Bureka, Hummus, and Malabi to taste (just to name a few). You can find them all over Israel or join one of the foodie tours like the Local Food Experience from Tel Aviv.
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Top image: Century egg, China © YANGYANG FANG/Shutterstock
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