Exploring 21 Unconventional Foods From Around the World

Food exploration is the main advantage of visiting any country, and in absolutely every country there are disgusting foods to surprise, admire, and horrify you at the same time. Many different traditions, features, and recipes contain the history of survival for different nations, and learning the language before you travel will help you avoid ordering the wrong thing. On the other hand, those who want some adventure can go ahead and order one.

Would You Eat The Most Disgusting Foods On This List?

1. Sannakji or live octopus

In South Korea, eating raw fish or meat is no surprise for a long time, but what about food that tries to escape from the plate? In Korea, as a snack, you can try sannakji – a dish of freshly cut tentacles of a small octopus seasoned with sesame oil and still twitching. Despite the eerie appearance and the danger of choking, sannakji is popular not only among locals, but also among tourists – they say it is really tasty.

2. Tepa or salmon heads

Another traditional Eskimo dish this time from Alaska is tepa which means “stinking heads” – the name conveys its essence well. The heads of salmon fish are put in a wooden barrel (sometimes with the guts) and buried in the ground for at least a week, more often for several. Smelly heads are eaten raw and not considered a delicacy, this dish is a way to use the whole fish without shunning any nutrients that can be obtained.

3. Beondegi

In Korea, boiled or stewed silkworm pupae are a popular snack that can be found on street vendors’ stalls, as well as on store shelves or on bar menus. Beondegi are eaten with sauce and spices or used to prepare other dishes. Connoisseurs disagree about what beondegi taste like: some say wood, others lean towards rubber.

4. Blood with milk

This dish-drink literally consists of two ingredients – milk and blood, and it comes from Africa. They are mixed and drunk, and this terrible mixture allegedly saves some tribes, notably the famous Masai from hunger.

A cow in Africa is too valuable a resource to be killed for meat, but fresh blood can be obtained with little or no harm to the animal. The men and women, therefore, resort to blood extraction tricks to survive when mixed with cow’s milk, this blood gives African tribes everything they need to live during droughts and during periods when there is no way to get hold of other food.

5. Blood tofu

As you can tell from above, blood (in one form or another) is used as food in many countries of the world, but in terms of originality of cooking, Asians have no equal here. In China and Hong Kong, the so-called blood tofu is very common, in fact, pre-coagulated animal blood (most often pork or duck) boiled over low heat. The resulting jelly-like bar is cut into square-shaped pieces, which are stewed with vegetables or added to soups.

6. Blood pancakes

Next up on the blood series of the most disgusting food is a favorite from Finland.

Blood pancakes are like ordinary pancakes, only instead of milk it is made with fresh blood. Sometimes served with fried pork or venison. In fact, this dish is more unexpected than terrible, in essence and tastes very close to black pudding or European “black pudding”.

7. Drunken shrimp

In our opinion, this Chinese dish will be the most disgusting foods of all time because you need to eat the moving tentacles of an already dead shrimp since in this case the shrimp are supposed to be eaten really alive in rice wine. The acidity from the rice wine forces the shrimp to expel their wastes in the bowl and they keep doing this activity till the shrimp are anesthetized and are taken from the bowl, de-shelled, and consumed alive or raw.

In other words, the name should be understood literally: before serving, live freshwater shrimp are marinated in strong alcohol. “Drinking” them whole means you have immense resistance to one of the most disgusting foods ever.

8. Century eggs

A popular Chinese snack, the 100 year old egg is prepared quite simply: the eggs are placed in an alkaline environment (most often a mixture of lime, ash, and salt) and hermetically sealed. The Century eggs are not actually sealed for a hundred years, contrary to the name, but for a period of 15 days to 4 months. After that, there is nothing left to do other than peel the eggs and cut into slices – by this time the protein will turn into an elastic “jelly”, and the yolk will turn into a gray-green slurry. In fairness, it must be said that the terrible thing about century-old eggs is only their appearance: the texture, of course, is unusual, but the taste and smell are rather neutral, and only the yolk acquires a slight ammonia flavor.

9. Tuna eyes

In Japanese stores, you can often find strange packaging that “stares” at customers with huge fish eyes. And in many cafes that serve sushi, you will be offered a chance to taste these eyes cooked in two methods: stewed or lightly fried.

What you gain from eating Tuna eyes, which in our opinion is TOP in terms of disgusting foods, is doubtful, simply because under the “rubber” shell there is a soft fatty substance, somewhat reminiscent of the taste of squid or octopus.

10. Mopane caterpillars

In Africa, large green-blue caterpillars of the peacock-eye butterfly are valuable, and most importantly, a free source of protein for residents of many African countries. Caterpillars are harvested from trees, boiled, and dried in the sun before eating. In South Africa, where mopanes are considered a delicacy, they are grown on special farms and are often served even in restaurants.

11. Flying fox soup

This dish from Indonesia, Palau could not be distinguished from the usual Asian soup if only flying fox meat was used – a rather neutral taste. But according to the recipe, the whole fox gets into the soup – with wings, a toothy mouth, wool and claws. In some countries of Southeast Asia and the Pacific region of South America, bat meat is also eaten, but it doesn’t look so brutal anymore – the meat is pre-cleaned from the skin and other “spare parts”.

12. Royal baby gaga ice cream

And, as a bonus, it’s not scary at all. Moreover, you (yes, yes, you personally) have already tried it, albeit in a different form. In the spring of 2015, The Licktators, a London-based factory, launched a batch of ice cream made from human breast milk. This “taste of childhood” in every sense was timed to coincide with the birth of their second child with Prince William and Kate Middleton.

13. Bird’s nest soup

A “bird’s nest” sounds inedible for many, but Asian gourmet enthusiasts are ready to pay up to $2,000 per kilogram of these same nests! But there’s no need to rush to build a business plan using a family of swallows under your roof. This is because only the nests of swift-swifts living in Southeast Asia are suitable for food.

In fact, their nests have dried bird saliva, and the famous soup resembles mucus or thick jelly in consistency. We don’t know what this saliva tastes like, but you have to question if the experience is still worth the money.

14. Huitlacoche

In Mexico, the Huitlacoche or “corn truffle” is a fungus that infects corn kernels. Spores penetrate the cob, grow and change it beyond recognition. It is difficult to imagine who could have thought of trying something so ugly and inedible for the first time, but the fact remains: huitlacoche in Mexico is considered a valuable product, and numerous dishes with it are a delicacy.

15. Shiokara

Japanese cuisine and seafood are almost synonymous, so it is not surprising that most of the local “horrors” also come from the depths of the sea. Shiokara is a dish not as popular and widespread as the same sushi.

Shiokara is a Japanese cuisine dish of squid where the main ingredient is squid cooked with its own juice with all the guts. Left to marinate for a whole month in an airtight container, in its own guts, and “forgotten” for a month, we question: who would eat this?

We don’t know anything about the taste of this dish, but considering that the fresh guts or insides of marine life are still disgusting, we guess that they don’t get any better when fermented.

16. Fried spiders

In Southeast Asia, specifically Cambodia, anything that crawls, flies, or swims is fried and eaten. FriedCrickets, roasted cockroaches, fried scorpions and fried locusts can be seen all over the world, but the inhabitants of Cambodia went further and, either from hunger during the years of the bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge, or out of simple Asian curiosity, they began to fry spiders. Traders with trays full of palm-sized black tarantulas can most often be found in the Skuon area on the way from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.

17. Kui or fried guinea pigs

In Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, the inhabitants of the Andean region do not give these animals to their children as their first pet like they do in America and do not conduct experiments on them in laboratories, but breed them on farms and consumed.

Most often fried, but from time to time Kui is often stewed with vegetables. They say it’s delicious and most of all it looks like a rabbit.

18. Haukarl

Haukarl is an Icelandic dish invented not from a good life and inherited by Iceland from the Vikings. Once upon a time, the easiest way to catch in local waters was the polar shark, whose meat in its natural form was not suitable for food due to its high urea content. Therefore, the caught sharks were cut into pieces and buried in stones for a few months, during which the urea left the rotting meat along with the juices flowing from it. Then the meat was dried in the fresh air for another 2-4 months. In the same way, haukarl is prepared in modern Iceland, however, now this can only be justified by respect for traditions – whatever one may say, the taste and smell of the dish still resembles a putrified shark.

19. Maktak or whale skin and fat

The Native traditional food of the Inuit and Eskimos is the frozen skin and subcutaneous fat of the bowhead whale, narwhal, or beluga whale.

In Canada and Greenland, the Maktak is often consumed raw or once in a while, it will be fried in breadcrumbs.

Maktak is a valuable source of vitamins C and D if you see it from the view of survival in the harsh conditions of the far north, but if you see it from a taste standpoint, it does not taste like chicken at all.

20. Wasp cookies

A relatively new word in Japanese cuisine, wasp biscuits gained popularity in the 21st century. It is rice flour crackers stuffed with pre-boiled wild wasps. It differs from ordinary cookies by its record content of insect protein.

21. Escamoles

In Mexico, the basis of this traditional Mexican dish is the eggs of giant black ants which are eaten both raw and fried. They are added to tacos and guacamole or stewed with onions and chili peppers. Escamoles are not cheap, which is not surprising – eggs are mined from deep anthills, teeming with aggressive insects that bite very painfully. However, if you happen to be in Mexico, it’s still worth trying escamoles at least once – the dish is considered a delicacy and not only not dangerous to health, but, they say, tastes very good.

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