The world is full of wonders, and each community around the world has its way of doing things. The world’s weirdest foods include rotten cheese, raw horse meat, jellied moose nose, tuna eyeballs, maggot cheese, fried tarantulas, and guinea pigs. But when it comes to strange foods, America knows how to bring them.
From pizza with Provel cheese to deep-fried cactus, there are all kinds of food in America. For a genuinely unique and stomach-turning dining experience, look no further than our great nation.
Show Table of Contents
- Weirdest & Strange Foods in America to Try
- 1. Geoducks, West Coast
- 2. Chitlins, Virginia
- 3. Provel Cheese, Missouri
- 4. Scrapple, Philadelphia
- 5. Poop On a Shingle (SOS)
- 6. Eskimo Ice Cream, Alaska
- 7. The Famous Garbage Plate, New York
- 8. Deep Fried Oreos, California
- 9. Frog Legs, Michigan
- 10. Fried Rattlesnake, Oklahoma
- 11. Voodoo Donut, Oregon
- 12. Koolickle, Mississippi
- 13. Pickle Dog, Minnesota
- 14. Ambrosia Salad, Alabama
- 15. Chocolate-Covered Grasshoppers, Colorado
- 16. Clamato Juice, California
- 17. Beertini, Midwest
- 18. Crawfish Étouffée, Louisiana
- 19) Blue Claw Crabs, Maryland
- 20. Beef Tongue, Texas and Hawaii
- 21) Cactus Fries, Arizona
- 22. Potato Ice Cream, Idaho
- 23. Brain Sandwich, Indiana
- 24. Muskrat, Delmarva Peninsula
- 25. Lutefisk, North Dakota
- 26. Fried Pig Ears, South Carolina
- 27. Rocky Mountain Oysters, Colorado
- 28. Bison Tartare, Wyoming
- 29. Fried Alligator, Louisiana
- 30. Roadkill, Montana
- 31. Beer Cheese Soup, Wisconsin
- 32. Burgoo, Kentucky
- 33. Muktuk, Alaska
- 34. Blood Boudin, Louisiana
- 35. Fried Butter, Iowa
Weirdest & Strange Foods in America to Try
1. Geoducks, West Coast
Imagine an aroused clam watching too much clam porn. That’s many people’s image on seeing their first Geoduck. Pronounced “gooey duck,” this exotic shellfish has a long protrusion that’s actually a siphon. The critter, found in the Pacific Northwest, especially Puget Sound and Alaska, can weigh up to 3 pounds.
Weird food doesn’t come more ancient than the Geoduck – the oldest on record was aged 168. You can dig them up yourself if you have a license, though they’re also farmed. Geoduck makes a tasty sashimi dish served with soy sauce, while the tender body of the shellfish is good with butter.
2. Chitlins, Virginia
If you eat sausage, you’re likely eating pork intestine without knowing it. What makes Chitlins such a weird food is that a pig’s intestine is all there is to it.
Batter up those intestines, cut them into chunks, and then fry them in hot oil until they crackle. Just don’t forget the chitlin seasoning and cornbread.
Make sure to clean the pipes THOROUGHLY first, so you can eat them without issue. In the South, Chitlins – otherwise known as Chitterlings – are often considered soul food. Forget you’re eating part of the organ the pig uses to process digested food, and you’ll be A-OK.
See Related: Best Places to Live in Virginia
3. Provel Cheese, Missouri
It has a unique combination of flavors – mild cheddar, Swiss, provolone, and liquid smoke. What makes it a bizarre food is its ultra-low melting point. The velvety texture means it’s not even considered a real cheese.
See Related: Things to Do in Rolla, Missouri
4. Scrapple, Philadelphia
Pigs’ organs play a starring role in many strange American foods, and Scrapple is a top example. Nowadays, a mush of pork scraps and head meat might be one of those weird American dishes that’s a step too far.
Once, though, this German-based foodstuff was life-saving. Early settlers used every part of their livestock just to survive.
So take the leftover parts of a pig, grind them finely, mix them with buckwheat or cornmeal, and shape the mixture into a loaf. You either bake the loaf or fry thick slices till crispy.
You might find some genuine Scrapple at the Dutch Eating Place at Philly’s Reading Terminal Market. And just so non-meat-eaters don’t feel left out, there’s Mushroom Scrapple on offer at the Front Street Cafe.
See Related: Best German Food to Try | Traditional Types of Food
5. Poop On a Shingle (SOS)
Just the name will warn you there’s some weird American food coming up. And that’s not even the real title – think a much less family-friendly blogging word. This dish has regional versions, but the concept is the same: an open-faced sandwich topped with creamed meat.
Start by browning and seasoning your preferred ground meat. For high-class Poop on a Shingle, use bison or lamb.
You can also use chipped beef – and that’s the regional preference in the Philadelphia area. Add the meat to an oozy white sauce. Cream of mushroom soup does a great job here.
The whole mess is slapped onto a slice of thick toast. For Hot Browns – first created in Kentucky – use turkey and bacon with a Mornay sauce.
6. Eskimo Ice Cream, Alaska
Who screams for ice cream? If you knew what was in this weird food, you might not be screaming for Eskimo Ice Cream.
Authentic Eskimo Ice Cream can contain berries, and, as you might guess, snow. But it also has polar bear fat, fish egg membranes, or seal oil. All you do is blend the bejeezus out of this combination – by hand – until it becomes foamy ice cream.
Hunters in the Alaskan region have been enjoying this bizarre food – real name akutaq – for thousands of years. It was typically served to celebrate the first seal or polar bear catch.
7. The Famous Garbage Plate, New York
The Garbage Plate is one of those weird American dishes that sounds like the pits but tastes like heaven. Born in Rochester, New York, the Garbage Plate obeys one simple principle. Throw a bunch of separate dishes onto one plate.
Variations abound, but there are three primary ingredients: Macaroni salad, potatoes, and meat. Hot dogs, ground beef, Spam…whatever – if it’s meat, it’s neat. On top, there’s hot sauce, onions and mustard.
Despite being described as New York’s grossest food by Thrillist, the Garbage Plate spawns endless loving imitations. Check out these best restaurants in New York City – could be you’ll find a Trash Plate, a Sloppy Plate, or even a Compost Plate.
See Related: Best Parks in New York
8. Deep Fried Oreos, California
When it comes to weird foods, county fairs have a lot to answer for. Back in the early 2000s at the LA County Fair, Charlie Boghosian – the “Man who Fries Everything” – practiced his dark arts on the humble Oreo.
Since then, the Deep Fried Oreo has become a carnival staple across the country and is beloved by cookery bloggers everywhere. You’ll also find it at Dirt Dog, Los Angeles, fried in house batter and served with horchata whipped cream.
9. Frog Legs, Michigan
If there’s one thing frog legs are known for, it’s their taste. And by “taste,” we mean “slimy.”
They’ve been eaten across the globe forever. But this weird dish didn’t take off in America until the early 20th century.
When frog legs appeared on restaurant menus, people went wild, especially in Detroit. In 1910, the citizens consumed 6 million pairs.
You’ll likely find them in seafood restaurants, such as Harbor House, Detroit, which serves them beer-battered. Or just order a box to try frog legs at home. Be warned – they’re not for everyone.
10. Fried Rattlesnake, Oklahoma
Oklahoma celebrates the Rattlesnake at an annual festival. You’ll find this in Apache, about 70 miles southeast of the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum. Along with rodeo antics, you can go snake hunting and even get hands-on with a giant rattler.
An established delicacy is, of course, Rattlesnake. This might not sound super-appetizing, but on the other hand, it is a healthy low-fat meat. Too bad it’s usually served deep-fried in batter or wrapped in bacon!
See Related: Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan
11. Voodoo Donut, Oregon
Portland is known for its eccentricities, and Voodoo Doughnut is no exception. This bakery set out in 2003 to create Oregon’s very own quirky American food. The wacky doughnuts quickly caught on – there are now Voodoo Doughnut shops across six states.
The 50+ flavor options include the Dirt Doughnut (made with Oreos) and the Bacon Maple Bar (duh).
Stranger-than-fiction specialty items include the Voodoo Doll, filled with raspberry jelly and stabbed with a pretzel stake. And the Ring of Fire features a dried red chili pepper.
12. Koolickle, Mississippi
A Koolickle is one of those weird American snacks you almost wish someone hadn’t invented. You soak dill pickles in a mixture of double-strength Kool-Aid and pickle juice. The resulting liquid is said to be great for clearing sinuses or stripping varnish, I forget which.
This strange food emerged in Mississippi. People have been coloring pickles for years, but it wasn’t until the early 21st century that someone came up with the Koolickle.
Never mind that they look radioactive and taste like something from another planet. Try one!
13. Pickle Dog, Minnesota
Speaking of pickles, another of the weird snacks America is famous for is the pickle dog. Sometimes called Minnesota sushi, a pickle dog is a thing of strange beauty and a popular Minnesota dish.
Take your dill pickle, slather it with seasoned cream cheese, and wrap a slice of deli ham or pastrami around it. Now eat it like a regular hot dog or cut it into cute sushi-like discs, ready for pinkie-up entertaining. An alternative version has a pickle sliced along the middle and holding a wiener, bun-style.
14. Ambrosia Salad, Alabama
Ambrosia Salad is a popular Alabama side dish. It was so named because it tastes pretty darn heavenly.
The usual ingredients are coconuts, mandarin oranges, and pineapples. Marshmallows and whipped cream add a lush texture, and the salad is topped off with syrupy Maraschino cherries.
What makes this one of the weirdest American foods is that it doesn’t know its place. This decadent concoction often finds itself sharing a plate with turkey and Brussels sprouts. Visit Alabama over Thanksgiving or Christmas and you’ll see what I mean!
See Related: Outer Banks vs. Myrtle Beach
15. Chocolate-Covered Grasshoppers, Colorado
If you’re looking for weird foods to try in Colorado, how about chocolate-covered grasshoppers? Grasshoppers are popular in Mexican cuisine, and chocolate-covered grasshoppers are a spin on this traditional dish.
They’re popular at festivals in Colorado. And Denver’s La Diabla restaurant serves a great grasshopper and guacamole combo.
The grasshopper is not the only insect to get the chocolate treatment. You’ll also find chocolate-covered locusts and crickets. Payback, maybe? Well, insect infestations in the Rocky Mountain state are known to wreak havoc…
16. Clamato Juice, California
Clamato is a beverage made from tomato juice and clam broth. This weird combination first arrived in California in the 1960s, being seen as the perfect thirst-quencher for farmers toiling in the hot sun.
Now Clamato enjoys a party reputation. If you mix it with your favorite beer, you’ll get a Michelada.
Add vodka and Worcestershire sauce, and you’ve made a Bloody Caesar, which happens to be Canada‘s national cocktail. Of course, they only drink it for all those vitamins and minerals.
See Related: New Mexico vs. Colorado
17. Beertini, Midwest
Just order a glass of your favorite ale and drop some green olives in. A pretty sophisticated regional delicacy, huh?
But not only do you get something to munch on, there’s also entertainment – and even a science lesson – on offer. You’ll want to try this, so first, here’s a link to some olives. Now, drop the olives into a beer, and behold! An alcoholic lava lamp.
18. Crawfish Étouffée, Louisiana
For the best of the bayou, try Louisiana Crawfish Étouffée. This unique American dish is bursting with Cajun flavors. Start with a buttery sauce of onions, celery, green bell peppers, garlic, and shellfish stock. Then add the main event – crawfish tails – and simmer till cooked through. Serve over rice with a parsley garnish.
You can swap in other seafood, depending on what’s available. And don’t be put off by the fact that crawfish also go by the name of mudbugs!
19) Blue Claw Crabs, Maryland
Sure, you’ve had big meaty King Crab and Snow Crab legs, but what about smaller, difficult-to-eat blue claws from the Chesapeake Bay? In Maryland, paper-lined tables are a sign that you’re in for a true crab feast.
Don’t forget to pick up plenty of Old Bay. It’s not a crab bake if you’re not covered in the stuff by the end! Many Americans first experience a crab feast at Restaurants in Ocean City on their Maryland vacations.
While you can crack snow crab legs with your hands, you might need a hammer to get the meat from a Blue Claw Crab. Or, find a local, who can show you how to clean the crabs by hand and pick out all the meat.
Wait – clean the crab? You’ll have to clean out the crab’s “mustard”… and simply put, it’s crab poop.
See Related: Virginia Beach vs. Ocean City
20. Beef Tongue, Texas and Hawaii
Despite the fact there’s the whole prime, grass-fed cow to choose from, one of the most popular cuts in Texas is Beef Tongue. The reason is that the tongue, when slow-cooked, is mouth-wateringly (is there a pun there?) tender.
Just don’t confuse it with the Cow’s Tongue Cactus, native to central Texas – though you can turn the cactus pads into jerky!
21) Cactus Fries, Arizona
The Sonoran Desert in Arizona has more than its fair share of cacti, so it’s not surprising Arizonans decided to turn them into a tasty – if quirky – snack. Turns out all varieties of Arizonan prickly pear cactus are edible. Cactus-eating pioneers soon learned, though, to wear gloves when handling them.
A popular recipe using this weird American ingredient is Cactus Fries, served with ranch dressing or salsa. For a sweet cactus flavor, get your hands on a jar of prickly pear jelly!
22. Potato Ice Cream, Idaho
One of the weirdest American foods actually kind of makes sense. You want something tasty to whip up into a sweet treat? Of course – potatoes! And in Idaho, where potatoes are showcased whenever possible, they’re an obvious choice for ice cream.
Blend cooked potatoes, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract, and then freeze until solid. It’s the perfect way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.
The Westside Drive-In in Boise, Idaho turns the concept upside-down. This is where you’ll find the Ice Cream Potato. The ’50s-style restaurant crafts a potato out of ice cream and candy, down to cocoa-power dirt on the outside.
See Related: Things to Do in Twin Falls, Idaho
23. Brain Sandwich, Indiana
Certainly a love-it-or-hate-it bizarre American dish, Brain-in-a-Bun is much-loved in Evansville, Indiana. Working on the principle that folks eat anything if it’s between two slices of bread, the Hilltop Inn offers a range of Brain Sandwiches.
Though popular in many places around the world, eating Brain isn’t for everyone. If you want to try it, fry your Brain in a skillet. You’ll end up with something that tastes either nutty or like a fried sponge, depending on who you ask.
24. Muskrat, Delmarva Peninsula
The Muskrat is so nutritious, it’s surprising it doesn’t feature on more menus. Maryland bucks the trend, though, especially during February and March.
Look out for exotic dishes like Muskrat Tacos at Cindy’s Kitchen, Cambridge MD. And don’t miss the Muskrat Leg Eating Contest at Cambridge’s Muskrat Stew Fest.
You could take part in the muskrat-skinning competition at Dorchester’s National Outdoor Show. And for a local’s favorite Muskrat Dinner, try the Southern Grille in Ellendale, Delaware.
25. Lutefisk, North Dakota
Thanks to its Norwegian influence, North Dakota is now famous for one of the world’s weirdest foods. Lutefisk starts as regular codfish and ends up served with melted butter and bacon. It’s what happens in between that’s so bizarre.
Get some lye – alkaline liquor used for washing – and soak your fish for several days. Once the fish has turned jelly-like, rinse the lye off. The original purpose was to preserve the fish over the winter.
Now North Dakotans celebrate their links to Norway by dutifully tucking into Lutefisk. Not sure how enthusiastically, though.
26. Fried Pig Ears, South Carolina
Pigs again – and here’s a weird food to try for a taste of the Deep South. A popular snack in South Carolina, Fried Pig Ears are packed with protein. Choose your cooking oil wisely, and they’re a healthy alternative to deep-fried carb-based snacks.
Soften the ears by simmering them in stock for a few hours. Then cut them into thin slices and dip them in flour mixed with southern herb mix.
For that unadulterated porky taste, dunk them naked in the oil. Encased in a crispy coating will be succulent cartilage. Enjoy!
See Related: Best Restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina
27. Rocky Mountain Oysters, Colorado
Expecting shellfish? Sorry to disappoint. What we’ve got here are bull testicles.
Still with me? This weird American dish, also coyly named “cowboy caviar”, harks back to early ranching days. Not only was it unthinkable to waste any part of a healthy beast, but this particular cut was thought to boost manliness.
Many Colorado restaurants serve Rocky Mountain Oysters. At Buckhorn Exchange, Denver, they come with a horseradish dipping sauce; Handlebars in Silverton adds BBQ sauce.
For sure, a plate of these bad boys would be a great way to refuel after a day’s skiing at one of Colorado’s many winter resorts. But do you have the cojones?
28. Bison Tartare, Wyoming
The American Bison, the state mammal of Wyoming and a symbol of American identity, is one of the world’s great conservation heroes. Handy, seeing as it’s fabulous eating for carnivores. Lower in fat than regular beef, Bison is a good way to stock up on protein.
It’s also the star of a unique American dish, Bison Tartare. This unusual food is made from seasoned Bison meat eaten raw. It’s usually chopped fine and served alongside crackers.
You might see it on Wyoming restaurant menus as Buffalo Tartare. This is because, although Bison is the correct name, the terms are used interchangeably in the United States.
See Related: Things to Do in Cheyenne, Wyoming
29. Fried Alligator, Louisiana
“First, catch an alligator…” Luckily, if you’re after Fried Alligator – one of America’s strangest foods – filleted Gator meat can be found in many Louisiana supermarket freezer aisles.
Season your meat with Louisiana Hot Sauce and cajun herbs and spices. Then coat with a buttermilk batter before frying until golden.
For authentic Alligator dishes, head to New Orleans. Gallier’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar offers Fried Alligator Bites Poboy, while Jacques-Imo’s goes even more exotic with Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake.
See Related: Things to do in Nashville, Tennessee
30. Roadkill, Montana
Weird food…or no-cost, free-range meat? In Montana, legislators see the sense of utilizing Roadkill – the meat of animals killed by cars. It’s legal for Montana drivers to keep – and cook – any deer, elk, moose, or antelope they’ve accidentally run down.
It’s not exactly common street food. And you’ll need a certain level of know-how to make the most of it. For one thing, never take the victim home if it smells or is swollen. The Original Roadkill Cookbook gives tips and recipes (including Chili con Carnage). And any carcass should taste great if you rub it with Road Kill Grill Seasoning.
31. Beer Cheese Soup, Wisconsin
Wisconsin is famous for its cheese; it’s also a brewpub hotspot. That’s not enough for the Cheese State.
In the time-honored tradition of quirky American foods, two random ingredients are mashed up to create something unique. Enter Wisconsin’s beer cheese soup.
Along with beer and cheese, the recipe calls for stock, heavy cream, and piquant flavorings. The fun comes from trying different beer/cheese combinations. My favorite? Swiss cheese (nicely meltable) and Wisconsin Spotted Cow ale.
32. Burgoo, Kentucky
Burgoo is a slow-cooked, hearty stew popular in Kentucky. It can contain beef, pork, and chicken, and vegetables such as lima beans, corn, okra, and potatoes.
What’s unusual about Burgoo is that communities often collaborate to put the stew together. And it’s not a true Burgoo if the spoon doesn’t stand up in it!
See Related: Things to Do in Williamstown, Kentucky
33. Muktuk, Alaska
Muktuk is a weird food to try next time you’re in Alaska. Made from the skin and blubber of whales, it’s usually served raw in cubes, though you might find it deep-fried or pickled.
This rubbery snack is a great source of vitamins C and D and it will certainly give your jaw a good work-out. It’ll also help keep out the cold – but you may just opt for a thicker coat.
See Related: Best Day Trips From Anchorage, Alaska
34. Blood Boudin, Louisiana
A sausage full of blood? The weirdest food ever, surely? In fact, blood sausage is prized in many places around the world. The Louisiana version is the Blood Boudin. Made with pork, rice, and fresh pig’s blood, it’s usually served with mashed potatoes.
A proud Cajun survivor, Blood Boudin is hard to find nowadays. If you’re ever in Cottonport, check out T-Jims Grocery & Market. With luck, you’ll not only find Boudin, but you may catch the famous Boudin cook-off.
See Related: Louisiana Travel Guide: Tips for Visiting
35. Fried Butter, Iowa
This concoction was originally invented at one of Iowa’s best places to visit, the Iowa State Fair. Dip a slab of frozen butter in cinnamon batter, deep fry it, and glaze it. Healthy? Who cares! It tastes amazing.
But I guarantee you’re going to end up unbelievably messy. Enough weird foods! We hope you’ve learned something about America’s many strange snacks and dishes. Feel free to tell us what your favorite bizarre foods are!
Eating this makes it all fatty and bitter, and everyone reacts differently to the delicacy. In this article, you’ve learned about the many strange foods in America. From strange dishes to tasty snacks and everything in between, there are several different types of food out there that might catch your interest.
We hope this article is informative for you! Feel free to tell us what your favorite bizarre foods are.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own 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.