By Erin Starr
Eating food is pretty much the most predominant characteristic of a living being. Forget emotion or maternal instinct or self-preservation or a beating heart – everyone has to eat. Food is a part of pop culture (think Lady Gaga’s meat dress), food can be political (remember when Donald Trump was strategically photographed enjoying a taco bowl?), and food can also present us with moral dilemmas (the vegans know what I’m talking about). To honour the joyous necessity that is eating, we’ve rounded up some of the most bizarre eats from around the world. Bon appetit!
100 year old egg – China
Unsurprisingly, Asian countries are going to make a frequent appearance on this list. The 100-year-old egg, otherwise known as the century egg, is considered a delicacy in China. This little guy is not exactly as old as its title claims: the chicken or duck egg is actually fermented in a mixture of ash, clay, salt and quicklime for a mere couple of months. The egg white turns brown, the yolk turns a dark green colour and its smell turns admittedly … pungent. It apparently has a strong taste of ammonia and sulphur – yum!
Mescal worm – Mexico
This is a bizarre food I have actually tried; it was dark, I was adequately inebriated, and the Spanish man handing me the shot (worm included) looked like he had been photoshopped. Forgive me. Contrary to popular belief, the worm is found at the bottom of a bottle of mescal (a generally cheaper, shoddier relative of tequila). The larva is commonly said to give the booze depth of flavour, but many claim this was simply a marketing gimmick employed by mescal producers to up foreign consumption. Either way, it makes for a great story.
Rocky Mountain oysters – United States
Despite its name, this delight does not contain any seafood, but instead makes rather spectacular use of sheep, pig or bull testes. Oh, America! The peeled testicles are deep-fried in a batter of spiced flour and served with a dipping sauce. To our male readers, I deeply apologise for having used the phrase ‘peeled testicles’.
Fugu (puffer fish) – Japan
This is the ultimate meal for the fish-loving adrenalin junkie with a penchant for living dangerously. Fugu is essentially raw slices of puffer fish. Unlike other more benign sushi dishes, if prepared incorrectly this sashimi may lead to accidental death. The puffer fish contains a potentially lethal poison called tetrodotoxin. The role of the fugu chef is not to eliminate the toxin altogether, but to reduce it to a more palatable (and less life-threatening) level. When it is correctly prepared, the diner is said to experience waves of euphoria and tingling sensations.
Cobra heart – Vietnam
This rather brutal delicacy involves slitting open a live snake, removing its beating heart, placing it in a small glass of its own blood, and downing it. The concoction is said to be rich in fatty acids, which cure skin ailments, reverse heart disease and treat asthma. Health benefits aside, this one is not for the faint … hearted.
Haggis – Scotland
We’ve all heard of it, but do you know what it actually is? Haggis is the inventive mixture of minced sheep heart, liver and lungs, traditionally thrown together with some oatmeal, onion and spices, and then cooked inside a bag made from the animal’s stomach. The multitalented dish is also used in a sport called ‘haggis-hurling’, which involves a participant throwing a haggis as far as possible. If that doesn’t make this meal more appealing, then you’re simply too hard to please.
What weird foods have you tried? Tell us in the comments!