37 Weird, Bizarre Foods from Around the World

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Man About to Eat Cricket on a Stick

If you’re the kind of person who likes to push their culinary boundaries, you’ll want to check out this list of bizarre foods from around the world. From live octopus in South Korea to bulls’ testicles in Spain, these dishes are sure to make your stomach turn – but they’re also a great way to experience new cultures and try something completely different.

When it comes to food, every culture has its preferences. What makes a food weird, however, goes beyond what would be considered culture shock.

These dishes push the boundaries of normalcy yet are considered quite tasty and healthy. If you’ve got a strong stomach and a desire to experience new cultures, here are bizarre foods you may want to try before you die.

Weirdest Foods from Around the World

Let’s describe the weirdest food in the world (in no particular order).

1. Casu marzu, Italy

Casu marzu
Image by Shardan used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic

Sardinia is a beautiful island off the coast of Italy, and it’s known for its traditional foods. One of the most famous (or infamous) dishes is casu marzu, a cheese infested with live maggots. The maggots make the cheese so pungent and strong-tasting; some even say it’s an acquired taste.

If you’re feeling brave, try this maggot cheese for yourself – just be sure to remove the maggots before you eat it! Casu marzu means “rotten cheese” or “maggoty cheese,” depending on your translation preferences. Its name comes from its main ingredient—sheep’s milk—and its distinct texture: soft enough to spread on bread easily yet firm enough not to crumble under pressure.

The best way to enjoy this type of meal would be with a glass of wine or beer; like any other delicious strange food with an airy texture, it should be eaten with something that will cleanse your palate in between bites. This has to be one of the weirdest foods in all of Europe. Bon appetit.

2. Sannakji, South Korea

Sannakji
Image by LWY used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Live octopus is a popular dish in South Korea, and sannakji is one of the most common ways to eat it. The octopus is cut into small pieces and served immediately, so you’ll eat it while it’s still wriggling on your plate.

It tastes like a combination of chicken and shrimp, and if you’re not careful, the suction cups on the octopus can stick to your throat and choke you.

3. Hákarl, Iceland

Hákarl is a traditional Icelandic dish that is made from fermented shark meat. The meat is incredibly pungent and strong-tasting, so it’s definitely an acquired taste. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try hákarl for yourself – just be sure to have a strong stomach!

4. Century eggs, China

If you’re traveling in China, you may come across century eggs – a delicious but unusual Chinese delicacy. These eggs are made by preserving duck, chicken, or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, quicklime, and salt for several weeks or months.

The resulting egg is blackish-green on the outside and has a soft, custardy texture on the inside. They’re often eaten with rice or congee; some people say they have a slightly sulphuric taste.

5. Fried tarantulas, Cambodia

Like deep-fried chicken, deep-fried tarantulas are a popular street food in Cambodia. Tarantulas that have been deep-fried in oil and served with a dipping sauce. They’re often served with a dipping sauce; some say they taste like chicken.

If you’re brave enough to try them, be sure to remove the fangs and venom glands before you eat! The fangs and venom glands are located at the front of the spider near the mouth.

Be careful when removing them, as they can still deliver a painful bite even when removed from the spider’s body. Fried tarantulas are an acquired taste, but when in Cambodia…

6. Balut, Philippines

Balut is a Filipino dish made from a fertilized duck egg that is then incubated for 14-21 days before it’s cooked. The resulting egg has a partially developed duck embryo inside, and it’s often eaten with salt or vinegar. Balut is definitely an acquired taste, and some people find it hard to stomach the fact that they’re eating a partially developed duckling.

However, balut is also seen as a delicacy in many parts of the world, and it’s even been featured on TV shows like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations.

7. Moose Nose, Canada

Moose Nose, Canada

Moose Nose is a traditional Canadian dish made from a moose’s nose. It’s often slow-cooked in a pressure cooker or crockpot until tender and served with gravy. Some say moose nose tastes like beef, but others find it too gamey. However, the moose nose is considered a delicacy in some parts of Canada and is often served on special occasions.

8. Huitlacoche, Mexico

Huitlacoche, Mexico
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Huitlacoche is a fungus that grows on corn, and it’s considered a delicacy in Mexico. It’s often used in soups or stews or can be fried and served as a side dish. Huitlacoche has an earthy, smoky flavor that some people compare to truffles.

This is a strange food simply because it’s a fungus and a little funky looking, but if you’ve enjoyed mold on sheep’s milk cheese or cow cheese, you may like this regional delicacy.

9. Frogs’ legs, France

Frogs’ legs are a popular dish in France, usually served with garlic and butter. They’re said to taste like chicken, but some people find them to be too chewy. If you’re feeling brave, you can try frogs’ legs for yourself – just be sure to remove the skin and bones before you eat them.

10. Cuy, Peru

If you’re traveling to Peru, Bolivia, or Ecuador, you may wonder about the cuy – a guinea pig commonly eaten in these countries. While it may not be the most conventional dish, cuy is actually quite delicious – many say it tastes like chicken. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not give it a try?

Just be warned, cuy is not for the faint of heart! The cuy (or cavia porcellus) is a domesticated species of rodent that originated in the Andes and are very similar to a guinea pig. They are also known as “cavies” for short and are thought to be the most social rodents on earth! The guinea pig is typically roasted or grilled before being served.

12. Khash, Armenia

Khash is a traditional Armenian dish made from cow’s feet and stomach. It’s usually boiled for several hours until tender, then served with garlic and vinegar. Some people say that khash tastes like beef, but others find it to be too gamey.

13. Lutefisk, Norway

Lutefisk is a traditional Norwegian dish that is made from dried cod that has been soaked in lye. It’s then boiled or baked and often served with potatoes, gravy, and sour cream. Lutefisk has a strong, fishy flavor that some people find off-putting.

This famous dish has made its way to America, most prevalently found in the Norwegian heritage states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

14. Sannakji, Korea

Sannakji is a Korean dish that is made from raw octopus that has been cut into small pieces. The octopus is then cooked in sesame oil and served with a dipping sauce. Sannakji is definitely an acquired taste, and some people find it hard to stomach the fact that they’re eating raw octopus.

15. Donkey Penis Sandwich

Donkey Penis Sandwich

One of the most popular trends in modern cuisine today is to bring the farm to the restaurant. The problem with that, however, is that there are a lot of components of animals and vegetables that go to waste.

Another trend has also started: not wasting any part of the animal or vegetable being served. Bull testicles, for example, can become Rocky Mountain Oysters, but what on earth do you do with a donkey penis?

Turn it into a sandwich, of course! You can either boil the donkey’s manhood, pan-fry it, or batter it and fry it. Once cooked, thinly slice the donkey’s penis and spread it on bread.

Add some horseradish, mustard, a sharp cheese if you like having cheese on your sandwich, and a thin slice of tomato. Then toast your sandwich and enjoy one of the most bizarre lunches you can have today!

16. Coypu Carpaccio

Coypu Carpaccio

The Coypu, when you look at it, seems to be the result of what you’d get if you crossed a rat, a beaver, and a groundhog together to create an animal. Often prized throughout history because of their fur, people turned to the Coypu when food began to run out around the world in historical times.

Also called “Nutria,” these animals are often turned into stews and rustic dishes with root vegetables. They live in burrows by streams and rivers and are considered a pest because they kill plants to eat their stems.

For those looking for a more unique experience, a Coypu carpaccio can make for great dining. The meat is dried out, then sliced thinly, and served with lemon juice, pink peppercorns, and some parmesan cheese. The meat reportedly pairs well with dry champagne!

17. Sweet and sour silkworms

Grilled and Fried Silkworms on a Stick

Silkworms are a necessary component to producing silk [hence their name], so eating them doesn’t make too much sense… right?

Initially, people chose to eat the baby silkworms that wouldn’t survive their harsh environment, but as people realized how tasty silkworms were, their recipes began to involve. Today, when you’re eating a silkworm dish, you’re likely eating the male silkworms after they have helped to create the silk-making process.

The traditional way to eat silkworms resembles how you’d enjoy a fried chicken dish in Asian cuisine. The silkworms are battered with a light tempura batter.

They are then lightly fried so the batter becomes golden brown, letting the silkworm roast in its juices for some time. Add some sweet and sour sauce to the fried silkworms, serve over rice, and enjoy a wonderfully bizarre dinner!

18. Springbok Brats

Eating sausage doesn’t seem so strange. Millions of people every day sit down to a wide variety of different sausages, usually with some pork or pork fat included in them, and it’s a normal part of the diet.

Hot dogs, bratwurst, bangers, and mash… even venison sausage is known as a “game sausage,” and many families enjoy these seasonally. What isn’t always enjoyed, however, is a springbok brat.

What is the springbok? It is one of the fastest creatures on Earth, able to run as fast as 62 miles per hour and leap as high as 13 feet into the air. Springboks are sometimes called a “gazelle” or an “antelope” and are native to the African continent. The meat itself is considered to be quite prized and tasty.

Out of all the options on this list, this is probably the first to take on because, just like other game meats, springbok meat is quite versatile. It has a low-fat content, which makes it perfect for a brat because just a small amount of fat can be added to it, and you’ll have a dense, flavorful sausage.

Put your springbok brat into a bun or roll and add some sauerkraut, mustard, and onions for the true experience – though ketchup might work for you too!

19. Haggis, Scotland

Haggis, a traditional Scottish dish made of sheep’s heart, lungs, and liver mixed with onion and oatmeal, is one of the world’s most bizarre foods. It has been banned from import into the United States since 1971 due to its inclusion of lung tissue (which contains a parasite), but it’s still widely enjoyed in Scotland.

Though haggis has become part of the gourmet menu tour as of late, this traditional meal of the poor Scottish farmer still isn’t a dish for the faint of heart. The first step is to take a sheep’s stomach, wash it thoroughly, and then roll it out like pizza dough.

From there, you can add virtually anything you want, though traditionally, onions, turnips, and potatoes would be put into the stomach. Other meat can also be added, and today’s menus often incorporate ground mutton or lamb with the haggis.

That’s much better than the lungs, heart, and liver that farmers would add if they wanted additional meat in their haggis. Once the filling is sorted out, you must stitch the whole thing shut. In other words, you’re making a sheep’s stomach pot pie!

Add vegetable stock to the haggis before the last stitch and any seasonings you’d prefer, traditionally salt and pepper, and then let the stitched-up stomach sit for a few minutes as the oven preheats.

Let the haggis cook for three hours. Then open it up and enjoy!

20. Durian Fruit, Southeast Asia

Durian fruit is a popular dish in Southeast Asia known for its strong smell. The fruit is banned from public transportation, hotels, and hospitals for its pungent smell, which is described as smelling like “a mix of onions, garlic, and smelly feet.”

The fruit is also banned from some airplanes because it causes allergic reactions in some passengers, while others find it offensive when they travel by plane and their fellow passengers eat durian on board their flight.

If you are traveling to Southeast Asia, be sure to try durian fruit! Just be aware of the strong smell and respect those around you who may not appreciate the aroma.

21. Blood soup

Blood soup
Image by georgeparrilla used under CC BY 2.0

Making blood soup is a bit complicated. First, you need to get your hands on a sheep or goat. Then, you’ll have to slit their neck and drain their blood into a container until it’s full. Once that’s done, add salt and pepper before mixing the whole thing into a sludge-like consistency.

Finally, serve up this delicacy with crusty bread for dipping! You can also serve it as an appetizer or main course—ensure everyone knows what they’re in for before diving right in.

22. Cockroach milk

Cockroach milk

Cockroach milk is a natural source of protein, and it’s being used in the food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries.

The creepy crawler’s milk is used as a substitute for cow’s milk in some food products. People also incorporate it into their diets as an alternative to dairy products like cheese because it contains more nutrients than regular cow’s milk.

And cockroach milk has become popular among health-conscious consumers even though many people still find it hard to believe that there’s actually such a thing as cockroach juice (or whatever you want to call this bizarre drink).

23. Cobra heart, China

Cobra heart, China

If you’re adventurous enough to try cobra heart in China, it’s definitely worth it. The experience of eating cobra heart is unlike anything else, and the dish is said to have medicinal properties that can help you live a longer life.

Of course, cobra heart is just one of the many weird foods you’ll find in China.

24. Scorpion candy

Roasted Scorpion Candy on a Stick

Scorpion candy is a scorpion that has been dried and ground into a powder. The powder is then mixed with sugar and other ingredients until it takes on the texture of the candy. Scorpion candy has an earthy flavor reminiscent of peanut brittle or licorice but is slightly sweeter.

Scorpion candy is made in different ways depending on the texture you’re going for (for example, some people like their scorpion powder to be chunky, while others prefer it smooth). This candy can be found in many places, including online.

Scorpion candy has an earthy flavor reminiscent of peanut brittle or licorice but is slightly sweeter. Some say it tastes similar to molasses cookies or gingerbread cookies. Suppose you’ve ever eaten anything that’s been seasoned with cayenne pepper. In that case, chances are you’ll find that this treat has a similar “burn” aftertaste once swallowed—it’s not necessarily unpleasant but definitely noticeable.

And if you chew carefully, you may even be able to taste a hint of the scorpion venom (which gives this confection its name). Don’t worry; the cooking process has rendered the venom harmless.

25. Frog smoothie

Glass of Frog Smoothie
image by Aleksandra Konwa is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking for a new and strange culinary experience, why not try a frog smoothie? Frogs are eaten by people in many parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, and South America.

They can be fried, stewed, boiled, or baked – although some say their meat is bland-tasting, it’s also rich in protein and low in fat. frog smoothies are becoming increasingly popular as a delicious and healthy alternative to other breakfast options.

And if you’re still unconvinced, remember that frogs are classified as ‘cruelty-free’ animals because they don’t feel pain when slaughtered.

26. Tuna eyeballs, Japan

Pack of Tuna Eyeballs
image by chloeandliah is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking for a truly unique culinary experience, tuna eyeballs are definitely something to add. This unusual dish is popular in Japan, often served as a snack at sushi bars.

The eyes of the tuna are used because they have more fat than other parts of the fish, which gives them a richer flavor. If you’re curious about what it would be like to eat an eyeball, tuna eyeballs are definitely worth trying. Just be warned – they’re not for everyone.

27. Chocolate-covered grasshoppers, Mexico

Eating Chocolate Covered Grasshopper
image by asitevolves is licensed under CC BY 2.0

chocolate-covered grasshoppers may not be something you’ve tried before, but they’re definitely worth a try if you’re up for a challenge! These crunchy snacks are available at select locations throughout the United States, and they’re common in Mexico and other countries, where they’re often used as bar snacks or served at parties.

While most people associate them with springtime, grasshoppers throughout North America can be found year-round. They’re a great source of protein, iron, and vitamin B12. Their hard exoskeleton protects their nutrient-rich bodies while they travel through dry climates for food.

28. Animal eyeball drink, China

Cocktail with Eyeball
image by Didriks is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

If you’re looking to try something truly unusual, then an animal eyeball drink is definitely for you. This traditional Chinese beverage is made from the boiled eyeballs of animals – but don’t worry, they’re cleaned thoroughly before being boiled again in water with vinegar or salt.

You can find this strange drink at many markets in China, so it’s the perfect opportunity to add a new experience to your travel itinerary.

29. Dingo meat pie and kangaroo tail stew, Australia

Plate of Kangaroo Tail Stew
image by pharwarner is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Believe it or not, dingo meat pies and kangaroo tail stews are popular dishes in Australia. The dingo is a wild canine that looks similar to a wolf or fox and can be found nationwide. Kangaroos, on the other hand, are native marsupials that resemble small deer.

Both animals are considered game meat and thus are often used in traditional dishes. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try one of these weird foods? Who knows, you might end up liking it.

30. Snake wine, China

Snake wine, China
Image by Deror Avi used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Snake wine is a bizarre beverage from China that’s said to help couples conceive children. It’s also an aphrodisiac. The recipe? Snakes, usually cobras or vipers (though both are venomous), are killed and soaked in liquor.

These containers can vary from small jars to huge barrels—some people even believe they can confer immortality. Once the alcohol absorbs the snake, it’s ready to drink. snake wine is a popular drink among tourists in China, and it’s definitely an acquired taste.

31. Sheep’s head, Iceland

Sheep's Head Dish
image by Schneelocke is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you’re looking for a truly unusual dining experience, sheep’s heads should be on your list. This traditional Icelandic dish is made by boiling the head and serving it with mashed potatoes and other vegetables.

The ears can be served whole or fried, but most Icelanders now enjoy them pickled. Sheep’s heads are great for tourists, but you can also find sheep’s heads at local grocery stores – ask your butcher.

The sheep head dish is a menu staple in some European and African countries. Boiled sheep heads are usually served with potatoes, cabbage, turnips, and carrots. Sheep’s heads can also be served with hot sauces or vinegar on the side.

32. Ox head, Oman

Cooked ox head on a tray
Ajdin Kamber / Shutterstock

If you’re planning a trip to Oman, you might be wondering about the local cuisine – particularly whether ox head is on the menu. Contrary to what some Americans believe, ox head is not an exotic dish in Oman; it’s actually a traditional dish that’s often served at weddings.

You might also find it featured in cookbooks by American chefs. If you’re curious about trying this traditional Omani dish, don’t hesitate to ask for it on your next trip!

33. Wasp crackers, Japan

If you’re looking for a unique snack while in Japan, why not try wasp crackers? These crackers are made by boiling wasps in soy sauce and drying them.

They’re then mixed with wheat flour to create a tasty snack perfect for summer picnics or any time you need something salty and crunchy on the go! While they might not sound appetizing at first, the spongy texture of these crackers is actually quite similar to breadsticks. Plus, the added saltiness from the soy sauce makes them surprisingly addictive.

34. Camel burger, Morocco

Camel Burger with Fries
image by Sakena is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Fez is a medieval city in Morocco that appears frozen in time. It is one of the major African attractions in the area and it provides travelers with an opportunity to see what life was like centuries ago. Many travelers get lost on these narrow streets, so ideally, choose a local guide for navigation.

A popular food item in Morocco is camel meat; it’s high in protein and low in fat, making it great for those looking to lose weight or stay healthy! Camel meat also represents iron and zinc, which are essential minerals our bodies need. You can find camel burgers being sold all over Fez.

35. Mopane worms, South Africa

If you’re looking to try something new and daring on your next trip to South Africa, why not mopane worms? These caterpillars have been eaten as a traditional food source in South Africa for centuries and are still a popular choice today.

While mopane worms may not sound appetizing at first, they are actually quite tasty – many compare their flavor to that of coconut. They are also endlessly versatile and can be eaten raw, fried, or roasted. Best of all, mopane worms are an inexpensive and easy way to get high-quality protein.

36. Basashi raw horse meat, Japan

When traveling to Japan, be prepared to try some unusual dishes. While some of these may be off-putting initially, you may be surprised by how delicious they can be.

Basashi, for example, is a dish made from raw horse meat. It may sound strange, but the rich flavor and tender texture will win you over.

Another unique dish that you’ll find in Japan is cod sperm. While it may not look appetizing, this dish is actually quite mild in flavor and has a slightly chewy texture.

37. Morcilla blood sausage, Spain

Morcilla blood sausage, Spain
Image by Pannet used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Morcilla is a type of blood sausage that is popular in Spain. It is made with raw pork blood and dried, which gives it its dark color. Morcilla is typically served as a tapa, or small plate, in Spanish restaurants.

Morcilla is worth a try if you’re adventurous and looking to try something new. Just be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart. Blood sausage can be an acquired taste, but if you’re up for an adventure, Morcilla is a delicious and unique dish to add to your list of things to eat in Spain.

If you’re looking for an interesting and (somewhat) educational food experience while traveling, be sure to check out some of these regional delicacies. You may find that some of them are surprisingly delicious – or at least worth a try. Who knows, you might even want to add some of these weird foods to your list of must-tries.

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See Related: Different Types of German Food

FAQs

What is the world’s grossest food?

There’s no definitive answer for the world’s grossest food, as it varies depending on individual taste. However, there are some contenders for the title. These include fermented shark, which is popular in Iceland; casu marzu, a Sardinian maggot cheese made with live maggots; hákarl, or rotten shark, also from Iceland; balut, and a Filipino dish made with fertilized duck eggs.

What is the strangest dish?

There are so many strange foods around the world. It’s hard to choose just one. But some of the weirdest dishes include grasshopper tacos from Mexico, tarantulas from Cambodia, and deep-fried guinea pigs from Peru.

What is the weirdest food in America?

There is a lot of weird food in the United States, but the winner for the weirdest food would have to be the Rocky Mountain Oysters. They are bull testicles that have been breaded and deep-fried.

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Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

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