Have you ever turned up at a restaurant whose cuisine you are not familiar with, looked at one of the dishes, and thought, “Are you kidding, this is some weird food?” They eat that! Well, as they say in the UK, it’s horses for courses. And no, that expression has nothing to do with the French people’s penchant for eating horse meat, but a term that comes from horse racing. It holds true, though, what is strange to you might not be so strange for another, and vice versa.
A Fool’s Gold Loaf | Weird Food
Elvis Presley may have thought a bacon, peanut butter, and grape jelly sandwich was a culinary treat to admire, but in other nations, it would sound disgusting. People have also eaten some strange things in times of famine, scavenging for anything remotely edible.
Scotland has some weird late-night flavors | Weird Food
If you think Elvis’s calorific concoction is strange, head over to Scotland and you’ll find things you won’t believe people sometimes eat. A Scot after a night out and a few pints at the pub might make his or her way to the chippy, aka the fish and chip shop, but forgo the usual dish and order a deep-fried pizza, or perhaps go for the deep-fried Mars Bar or another deep-fried chocolate bar.
Black Pudding – traditional English breakfast dish
Head over to England and try one of their traditional English breakfasts and you’ll find a black patty on your plate with white dots on it. That’s called black pudding, which is a mix of congealed pig blood, lard, and oatmeal. In the north of England, a dish that is dying out but is still eaten these days is tripe. It’s basically the insides of a cow’s stomach, and in the north of England.
It was, and still is in some places, just pickled in vinegar, and so looks, and has a texture, that you can only imagine. One English chef trying to bring it back told The Guardian in 2011, “When you kill a cow, its guts probably weigh 75 to 100 kilos. It’s wrong that it all goes into dog food.”
Pig’s trotters | Weird Food
Across the channel in France, we know a specialty dish is snails, but horse meat is also common. Another favorite in France is “Pieds de porc”, or pig’s trotters. They are common in many countries but apparently, the French love chowing down on these feet. The French are also partial to a bit of “Tête de veau” which is basically a cooked cow’s head. It’s the brain that is the best part, and in France, some people say it’s really good for your skin and bones. Over in Spain, the cow brain is also considered quite the treat.
Italian’s love some mice | Weird Food
Like France, Italy is known as a culinary country, where it is doubtful a deep-fried Mars Bar would go down well with the locals. Our favorite dish we found in Italy is dormouse. Apparently, dormouse was such a specialty that a word developed for dormouse hunters (agglzjiraru). While we found some sources that stated that dormouse is still eaten today in a village near the Southern Italian region of Calabria, other sources say the only country that still enjoys a bit of mouse is Slovenia, although it’s very rare. The image above is actually from Dalmatia, Croatia.
Rotten Cheese | Weird Food
But the winner in Italy is a dish that was actually banned for a while, and you might not be surprised why. This is called “Casu Marzu” or rotten cheese. This is a cheese that was left outside to allow flies to lay eggs in it, after which the larvae broke down the fats and fermented them. Apparently, some people left the maggots in when they consumed it, but others would take the worms out. One American blogger that tasted what she called “maggot cheese,” said, “I raised my slice, only to see that it was actually writhing with squirmy little worms.” She also said it wasn’t too bad.
Norwegians love sheep’s head | Weird Food
Moving across to Scandinavia, one of the strangest, and for some people stomach-churning, delicacies is the Norwegian dish of Smalahove. This is popular at Christmas time and nothing gets left, so if you miss out on the eyeballs, nose or ears, you can always scoop out the brain. As one Norwegian put it on TripAdvisor, “Does not look delicate perhaps, but taste is fine.” We must mention that some Norwegians don’t eat the whole head.
Smells like a rotten corpse | Weird Food
In Sweden they have a specialty which is basically rotten herring. The BBC explains, “It is herring that has been fermented for six months then crammed into a can that bulges dangerously with putrid gases.” It apparently smells like a rotten corpse. The Japanese, according to the BBC, classified it as the very worst food smell in the world.
Just dress it with mayo | Weird Food
Sticking with herring, the Russian’s have a popular dish called “Seledka pod shuboy” which translates as herring under a fur coat. It doesn’t look that bad actually and is just herring under a bunch of vegetables and mayo that looks a bit like a coat.
A Deep-fried Guinea pig | Weird Food
Let’s leave Europe for now and go over to South America. One thing that was once seen as weird in Peru has actually recently taken off in the USA, too. That’s a deep-fried Guinea pig.
Brazil takes the weird foods even further
Nearby in Brazil, they have something very similar to the Scottish delicacy called haggis. This is called “Buchada” and consists of a goat’s stomach opened up and then filled with all sorts of things we usually don’t eat, such as heart, lungs, and intestines. It’s all sewn back up and cooked, and like haggis, may sound a tad weird but it is supposed to be supremely tasteful.
Does Mexico take the spot for the weirdest food
Up in Mexico, they have a dish that looks like a nutty piece of chocolate, but it’s actually what is called “Escamoles”. This is actually ant larvae and is apparently really good.
Nope, Mexico got even more
Another dish in Mexico is “Huitlacoche”, which is basically rotten corn cobs covered in fungus. The name translated is “sleeping excrement”.
If you thought USA didn’t have weird food
In the USA, they also have strange eating habits in some places, and we are not talking about deep-fried Twinkies or corn dogs, which are stomach-churning to most folks around the world. More natural strange foods still eaten in the US are Alligator and Rattlesnake. Apparently, the rattlesnake at Tim Love’s Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, TX, is particularly good. Other US dishes include smoked Louisiana alligator ribs, while turtle soup is popular in Pennsylvania and Louisiana.
Would you try the insects as your street food weird food
No list of strange foods could be complete without mentioning Asia, but where do we start? One thing we won’t mention is the controversial consumption of cats and dogs, we already did that in another show. Vacationers in Thailand will soon find if they walk around Bangkok, fried insects are for sale in the street. This includes locusts, scorpions, giant water beetles, bamboo worms, moth chrysalis, and crickets.
How about some fried spiders? Weird Food
In Cambodia, you can perhaps go a step further and eat a deep-fried giant tarantula.
South East Asia’s duck embryo | Weird Food
Maybe one of the most revolting things you’ll ever see all across South East Asia is chicken or duck embryo, sometimes a few of them on a stick. This almost formed creature looks as you’d imagine it to look, a soft embryo with a slimy beak. Not surprisingly, locals often wash this down with whisky and beer as perhaps even to them it’s a little off-putting.
Rat’s are still eaten in some places | Weird Food
You can also find rats eaten in most Southeast Asian countries, but this is dying out and in some countries was merely survival food for the very poor.
Although, in Cameroon, the BBC reports that rats are still eaten and the reporter tried them. His verdict: “It was the most delicious meal I ever had in my life.” He also traveled to the Indian state of Bihar where he said very poor people ate rats. He said the meat was delicious, but the burning hair was a bit repugnant while cooking the rats. He also ate rats in other parts of Africa and India, and each time said it wasn’t too bad at all. So, there you go, rats are a decent meal.
Japan is no stranger to weird food
The Japanese are no slouches when it comes to strange food, either. One of the worst things to look at is the massive slimy tuna eyeball, which looks as if it’s been plucked out of the live fish and ended up on your plate. One blogger tasted one on his travels and remarked, “The wall of the eyeball was rubbery and I couldn’t even get a piece off. Gag factor was minimal unless you let it get in your head.”
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