If you’re the kind of person who likes to push their culinary boundaries, then 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 own 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 to be quite tasty and healthy. If you’ve got a strong stomach and a desire to experience new cultures, then here are weird and bizarre foods that you may want to try before you die.
Weirdest Foods from Around the World
Let’s get into a description of the weirdest food in the world (in no particular order).
1. Casu marzu, Italy
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, which is a cheese that’s infested with live maggots.
The maggots are what make the cheese so pungent and strong-tasting, and some people even say that it’s an acquired taste.
If you’re feeling brave, you can 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 with ease 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 that comes 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
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 then served immediately, so you’ll be eating it while it’s still wriggling on your plate.
It’s said to taste 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 a blackish-green color on the outside and has a very soft, custardy texture on the inside. They’re often eaten with rice or congee, and some people say that they have a slightly sulphuric taste.
5. Fried tarantulas, Cambodia
Just like deep-fried chicken, deep-fried tarantulas is 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, and some people say that 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 they’re removed from the spider’s body. Fried tarantulas are an acquired taste, but when in Cambodia…
6. Balut, Philippines
Balut is a Filipino dish that is 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. If you’re ever in the Philippines, balut is definitely something that you should try at least once.
7. Moose Nose, Canada
Moose nose is a traditional Canadian dish that is made from the nose of a moose. It’s often slow-cooked in a pressure cooker or crockpot until it’s tender, and then it’s served with gravy. Some people say that moose nose tastes like beef, but others find it to be too gamey.
However, the moose nose is considered to be a delicacy in some parts of Canada, and it’s often served on special occasions. If you’re ever in Canada, you should definitely try moose nose – it might just be the best thing you’ve ever eaten.
8. Huitlacoche, Mexico
Huitlacoche is a type of fungus that grows on corn, and it’s considered to be a delicacy in Mexico. It’s often used in soups or stews, or it can be fried and served as a side dish. Huitlacoche has a earthy, smoky flavor that some people compare to truffles.
This is a strange food simply due to the fact that 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, and they’re 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 be wondering about the cuy – a type of guinea pig that’s 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, so if you’re looking for something different to eat during your travels, cuy is definitely worth trying. Just don’t be surprised if it’s not exactly like chicken…
12. Khash, Armenia
Khash is a traditional Armenian dish that is made from cow’s feet and stomach. It’s usually boiled for several hours until it’s tender, and then it’s 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 it’s often served with potatoes, gravy, and sour cream. Lutefisk has a strong, fishy flavor that some people find to be off-putting.
This famous dish has made it’s 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
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 end up going to waste.
For that reason, another trend has also started: to not waste any part of the animal or vegetable that is 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 up and fry it if you prefer. Once cooked, you can then thinly slice the donkey penis and spread it out 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
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, when food began to run out around the world in historical times, people turned to the Coypu.
Also called a “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
Silkworms are a necessary component to the production of silk [hence their name], so it doesn’t make too much sense to eat them… 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 recipe 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 is very similar to 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 that the batter becomes golden brown, letting the silkworm roast in its own juices for some time. Add some sweet and sour sauce to the fried silkworms, serve over rice, and you’ve got yourself a wonderfully bizarre dinner to enjoy!
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 sort of 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, the springbok meat is quite versatile. It has a low-fat content, which makes it perfect as 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 then 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 the stomach of a sheep, wash it out thoroughly, and then roll it out like pizza dough.
From there, you can add virtually anything that you want, though traditionally onions, turnips, and potatoes would be put into the stomach. Other meat can be added as well, and today’s menus often incorporate ground mutton or lamb with the haggis.
That’s a lot better than the lungs, heart, and liver that farmers would add if they wanted additional meat in their haggis.
Once you’ve got the filling sorted out, you end up having to stitch the whole thing shut. In other words, you’re basically making a sheep stomach pot pie!
Add some 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 that is known for its strong smell. The fruit is banned from public transportation, hotels, and hospitals for its strong 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 are eating 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 be respectful of those around you who may not appreciate the aroma.
21. Blood soup
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 some salt and pepper before mixing the whole thing together 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—just make sure everyone knows what they’re in for before diving right in.
22. 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 being used as a substitute for cow’s milk in some food products. People are also incorporating it into their diets as an alternative to dairy products like cheese because it contains more nutrients than regular cow’s milk does.
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
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 that you’ll find in China.
24. Scorpion candy
Scorpion candy is a scorpion that has been dried out and then ground into a powder. The powder is then mixed with sugar and other ingredients until it takes on the texture of candy. Scorpion candy has an earthy flavor that’s reminiscent of peanut brittle or licorice but slightly sweeter.
Scorpion candy is made in different ways depending on what kind of texture you’re going for (for example, some people like their scorpion powder to be more chunky while others prefer it smooth). This candy can be found in many places, including online.
Scorpion candy has an earthy flavor that’s reminiscent of peanut brittle or licorice but slightly sweeter.
Some say it tastes similar to molasses cookies or gingerbread cookies. If you’ve ever eaten anything that’s been seasoned with cayenne pepper then 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 is what gives this confection its name). Don’t worry, though—the venom has been rendered harmless by the cooking process.
25. Frog smoothie
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 – and 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 not convinced, remember that frogs are classified as ‘cruelty free’ animals because they don’t feel pain when slaughtered. So if you want to try something new…or just weird…get yourself a frog smoothie!
26. Tuna eyeballs, Japan
If you’re looking for a truly unique culinary experience, tuna eyeballs are definitely something to add to your list. This unusual dish is popular in Japan, where it’s 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
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 can be found all year long throughout North America. In fact, they’re a great source of protein and iron—as well as vitamin B12. Their hard exoskeleton protects their nutrient-rich bodies while they travel through dry climates looking for food to eat.
28. Animal eyeball drink, China
If you’re looking to try something truly unusual, then 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
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 across the country. 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 give one of these weird foods a try? Who knows, you might just end up liking it.
30. Snake wine, China
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 then soaked in liquor.
These containers can vary in size from small jars to huge barrels—some people even believe they can confer immortality. Once the snake is absorbed by the alcohol, 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
If you’re looking for a truly unusual dining experience, sheep’s heads should be high on your list. This traditional Icelandic dish is made by boiling the head and then 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 – just 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
If you’re planning a trip to Oman, you might be wondering about the local cuisine – and in particular, 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 to try while you’re in Japan, why not try wasp crackers? These crackers are made by boiling wasps in soy sauce and then drying them.
They’re then mixed with wheat flour to create a tasty snack that’s 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 bread sticks.
Plus, the added saltiness from the soy sauce makes them surprisingly addictive. So if you’re looking for a quirky snack to share with friends, be sure to pick up some wasp crackers the next time you’re at a festival or market in Japan.
34. Camel burger, Morocco
Fez is a medieval city in Morocco that appears to be 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 purposes.
A popular food item in Morocco is camel meat; it’s high protein and low fat, making it great for those looking to lose weight or stay healthy! Camel meat represents iron and zinc as well which are essential minerals needed by our bodies. You can find camel burgers being sold all over Fez. If you’re feeling adventurous, camel meat is definitely a weird food worth trying while you’re in Morocco.
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 at first, 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 are sure to 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 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.
If you’re adventurous and looking to try something new, Morcilla is definitely worth a try. 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.
See Related: Different Types of German Food
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.
Happy (and safe) eating.
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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.