April 18, 2013

20 strange foods to try before you die

 Snake wine, South-east Asia

Next time you're complaining about the tepid chardonnay you've been served in a pub, just be grateful that you haven't been served a nice glass of snake wine. This popular beverage is believed to have important restorative properties in countries including China and Vietnam. It can either be made by steeping a snake in rice wine, or by mixing snake bodily fluids, such as blood, with the alcohol.
 Century eggs, China

Rest assured, these rather misleadingly-named eggs aren't eggs which have been stored for 100 years; they're preserved for just a few months. But that's still enough to turn the yolk dark green and the white brown...
 Fugu, Japan

There aren't many meals which involve risking your life. One of Japan's most notorious dishes is the fugu, or pufferfish, which can be lethal if its toxic parts are not correctly removed. Over 20 people have died in Japan after eating the fish since 2000.
 Fried spiders, Cambodia

The Cambodian delicacy of fried spider is something of an acquired taste. These little chaps are tarantulas, served with a lime and black pepper dip in the Phnom Penh restaurant Romdeng. According to Clive Graham-Ranger's book with Luu Meng, Cambodia's Top Tables, the restaurant serves over 200 a week.
 Witchetty grub, Australia

Probably high on the list of things not to tell your mother you did on your gap year is snacking on a witchetty grub, an Australian term for the large white larvae of several moths. They were traditionally foraged by Aboriginees.
 Shiokara, Japan

If you turned up your nose at liver as a child, you'd better look away now. Shiokara is a Japanese dish made from marine animals such as squid which are fermented in their own viscera. It's no wonder that it's often gulped down and followed by a shot of whiskey.
 Grasshoppers, worldwide

Grasshoppers are loaded with protein, and are a popular delicacy in many parts of the world. In Asia, you'll find them fried and sold in street markets, while in Mexico, a type called chapulines are often served with lime and garlic. Last month, the Mexican chain Wahaca launched a grasshopper dish at one of its London branches.
 Sannakji, Korea

Fancy trying a live octopus? Sannakji is a traditional Korean dish of octopus cut into small pieces and served while the tentacles are still squirming. Unsuprisingly, it presents something of a choking hazard.
 Puffin heart, Iceland

Gordon Ramsay found himself in hot water in 2008, when he was filmed eating a puffin heart on his Channel 4 show The F Word. Forty-two viewers complained to Ofcom about the incident, though puffin heart is a delicacy in Icelandic cuisine.
 Escamoles, Mexico

We all know that tequila is a product of the tequila plant, or blue agave. But did you know that people also enjoy ant larvae which is harvested from the plant's roots? Mexicans supposedly call this unusual snack "insect caviar".
 Beondegi , Korea

If larvae leave you hungry, why not try a few beondegi? These silkworm pupae are traditonally served as a snack in Korea.
 Tong zi dan, China

Perhaps one of the most eyebrow-raising foods the world has to offer is the Chinese deliacy tong zi dan, or "virgin boy eggs". Every spring in the city of Dongyang, eggs are boiled in the urine of young schoolboys.
 Hákarl, Iceland

When in Rome, do as the Romans. In Iceland, this means taking a nibble of hákarl – decomposed shark. The shark is buried to ferment in its own fluids for several months, then cut into strips and hung up to dry.
 Baby mice wine, China/Korea

Another drink supposed to have beneficial health properties is baby mice wine, wine filled with... well, you guessed it. Thankfully, we couldn't find a
Cockscombs, Europe

Cockscombs, the fleshy growth on the top of chickens' heads, might not strike you as an immediate supper ingredient. But in Italy, they're a crucial aspect of a famous sauce called cibreo. Combs also have a place in French gastronomic history, where they were traditionally used as garnishes.
 Surströmming, Sweden

The Swedish like nothing more than a bit of herring - preferably as sour and fermented as possible. The smell of surströmming is so strong when you open the container that it's generally eaten outdoors.
 Rocky mountain oysters, US

The name sounds rather exotic, until you discover that this American dish is actually nothing more than deep-fried bull testicles. It was reputedly a favourite of the American West's cowboys, and is often found at festivals.
 Black Ivory coffee

Last year, a coffee called Black Ivory became one of the world's most expensive brews, at $1,1000 per kilogram. For that price, you can expect a smooth, full taste.... and perhaps a slight earthy hint of elephant dung. Yes, this coffee is made from beans eaten by Thai elephants, then plucked from their droppings.
 Balut, Philippines

Bored of eggs boiled, scrambled or fried? Then try yourself a balut – a fertiliized duck embryo boiled in the shell.
Tepa ("Stinkheads")

With a nickname like that, it's little wonder this traditional Alaskan snack hasn't caught on. Eaten by the indigenous Yupik people (pictured), it involves chopping the heads off fish and burying them in the ground with their innards until they achieve the required tang.


  1. I will most defenitely pass on every one of them, thank you. Call me back when long pig burritos are legal!

  2. I've actually tried a few of these. Steak tartar should be on the list.

  3. Great list, wouldn't mind trying maybe one or two just to say that i've done it. Lutefisk from Norway should be on the list aswell