Have you ever had a huhu? It’s a traditional Maori grub that supposedly tastes like buttery chicken. Or how about tasty lizards from the food stalls of the Philippines?
Trying new and unique foods from all over the world is perhaps one of the most exciting experiences about travelling to new places. There’s nothing quite like diving into an authentic Indian curry or sampling some of the best sushi in Tokyo. Foreigners taking holidays to Australia are eager to try a good kangaroo steak or a piece of emu jerky – a delectable treat!
Then there are those more outrageous culinary experiences: how about fried crickets in Laos or deep fried monkey toes in Indonesia? Have we whetted your appetite? Dig into some of the most bizarre food items in the world – if you dare!
Shit Burger (Japan) – while not publicly available (for good reason), scientists in Japan have found a way to turn human excrement into a meat substitute. Scientist Mitsuyuki Ikeda calls his invention the sh*t burger, and it’s made by successfully extracting the protein from the solids found in sewage, mixing it with soya and then flavouring the patty with a steak sauce derivative. (Image Source: wurstundfleisch.wordpress.com)
Thousand Year Old Eggs (Hong Kong) – featured in the first season of Australia’s Master Chef, this common Asian food topping can be found in noodles, rice porridge or eaten whole. Duck and quail eggs are preserved (for a couple of months – not actually a thousand years) in a clay, salt and sand mixture until the egg whites turn to jelly like and the yolks turn a dark green.
Tripe (Various) – tripe is common offal extracted from the stomachs of common farm animals including cows and sheep. It is featured in many cultural cuisines, including many European nations and Asian areas. They can be steamed, grilled, spiced, poached, boiled – and served in a variety of ways. Visit your local butcher for a local sampling.
Fried Crickets and Tarantulas (Cambodia) – also common in Laos, Thailand and other South Asian countries, deep fried crickets are a common snacking item. While you won’t find it on the in-flight menu, we hear these crunchy critters taste great with a tall glass of cold beer!
Fried Rats (Thailand) – Thai and Laotians have a unique way of dealing with pests – grill ‘em up and serve ‘em! Roadside stalls in rural parts of these nations can be found dishing out grilled bandicoot rats and other rodents to customers – and they cost twice as much as a chicken or beef!
Huhu Grubs (New Zealand) – while most modern New Zealanders probably prefer to not make huhus a part of their staple diet, it has been long considered a delectable dining delight in Maori tradition.
Birds’ Nest Soup (China) – these swift birds’ nests are considered a real delicacy in China. The saliva of the birds that hold the nest together gives a unique gelatinous quality to the soup that many find quite enjoyable.
Snake Wine (Vietnam) – no you haven’t drunk too much – these unique bottles of wine made in Vietnam feature a whole snake body in the bottle. Used for medicinal purposes, snake wine is made by steeping a venomous snake in a bottle of rice wine – thereby removing the poison and leaving the snake body soaking, which is deemed to have many health benefits.
Balut – Bird Feotus (Philippines) – this common snack features a partly formed chick foetus along with the egg. The eggs are boiled when the foetuses are between 17 and 21 days old, and some older foetuses have already formed beaks and feathers. Just as a common as a hot dog in some places!
Casu Marzu – Maggot Cheese (Sardinia) – this maggot riddled cheese gives a whole new dimension to the idea of “well aged” cheese. It is now banned for health reasons, but you may still find it on the black market in parts of Sardinia or Italy.
Monkey brains (Indonesia) – monkeys, from their brains to deep fried monkey toes, originated as a Chinese delicacy although the practice is now more commonly associated with Indonesia. Over hunting has made the eating of monkeys quite controversial internationally, although it is still practiced in many native populations throughout the world.
Live Skinned Frog (China) – a delicacy in Cheng Du, these frogs are skinned alive and then served up fresh to be cooked in a hot pot. What can I say – the Chinese like their meat fresh.
What’s the most bizarre food that you’ve tried on your travels?
Here’s Dorota and I sampling a few Chinese favorites in Wangfujing, Beijing. We ate tarantula, cicadas and scorpions, but there was many more such as sheep penis, lizard, baby pigeon, star fish, sea urchins, sea horses, millipedes and snake.
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I'm Alex and started this Travel Blog to be able to share my travel photos and to write about my travels around the world. Having just moved to Sydney, this travel blog details our life in a different culture...@alexasigno
Now there are two of us in a foreign country and two of us to share our travel experiences. I am Polish, living and working in Poland, Russia, India the UK, the Netherlands and now run a digital media recruitment company nuclei.@dorotadopierala