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35 Strange Foods in America You Should Try

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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. Look no further than our great nation for a genuinely unique and stomach-turning dining experience. 

Here are some of the weirdest, funkiest, and most bizarre foods from the four corners of the United States for your consideration. See how many of these weird foods you can stomach!

Weirdest & Strange Foods in America to Try

Strange American foods, including garbage plates, muskrat, and Rocky Mountain oysters

1. Geoducks, West Coast

An adult geoduck, one of the strange foods in America
Gunnhilduur / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0

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

Roasted pork Chitterlings in white plate
Traiphop Noiwimol / Shutterstock

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: Top Places to Live in Virginia

3. Provel Cheese, Missouri 

Provel Cheese set
kosheahan / Openverse, CC BY 2.0

Provel Cheese, from St. Louis, may not be the world’s weirdest food, but there’s something strange about it. Provel is a gooey dairy product that makes many Americans drool.

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.

Down in Missouri, they love this quirky American foodstuff, especially on a thin-crust pizza. Add peppers and sausage, and you’ve got a pizza you’ll either adore…or never eat again.

See Related: Things to Do in Rolla, Missouri

4. Scrapple, Philadelphia 

Scrapple Whole Serving
Image by Stu Spivack is licensed under CC 2.0

Pigs’ organs are starring 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 can either bake the loaf or fry thick slices until 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, Mushroom Scrapple is offered at the Front Street Cafe.

See Related: Best German Food to Try

5. Poop On a Shingle (SOS)

Shit On a Shingle Serving
Kurt Komoda / Flickr

Just the name will warn you that some weird American food is 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—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

Alaskan Ice Cream in a steel plate
Matyáš Havel / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0.

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 enjoyed 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 Top-Rated 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

Box of Deep Fried Oreos
Juli / Adobe Stock

County fairs have a lot to answer for when it comes to weird foods. 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 nationwide 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

Fried Frog Legs
Benreis / Wikimedia Commons, CC 2.0

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. 

People went wild when frog legs appeared on restaurant menus, 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

Serving of Fried Rattlesnake
Kimberly Vardeman / Flickr

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. It might not sound super-appetizing, but 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

Box of Voodoo Donuts
Jae Park / Unsplash

Portland is known for its eccentricities, and Voodoo Doughnut is no exception. This bakery set out in 2003 to create Oregon’s quirky American food. The wacky doughnuts quickly caught on – there are now Voodoo Doughnut shops across six states.

The 50+ flavors 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

Jar of Koolickle
Kimberly Vardeman / Flickr

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, but I forgot 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 invented the Koolickle. Never mind that they look radioactive and taste like something from another planet, so try one!

13. Pickle Dog, Minnesota

Pickled Cucumbers
grey / Adobe Stock

Speaking of pickles, another weird snack 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

Fruit salad Ambrosia serving
FomaA / Adobe Stock

Ambrosia Salad is a popular Alabama side dish. It was so named because it tastes pretty darn heavenly.

Coconuts, mandarin oranges, and pineapples are usual ingredients. Marshmallows and whipped cream add a lush texture, and the salad is topped 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 shares 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

Pack of Chocolate-Covered Grasshoppers
Chocolate-Covered Grasshoppers / Amazon

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 that gets 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

Mexican cocktail made with beer and tomato juice.
Fabián Montaño / Adobe Stock

Clamato is a beverage made from tomato juice and clam broth. This weird combination first arrived in California in the 1960s, and it was seen as the perfect thirst-quencher for farmers toiling in the hot sun.  

Now Clamato enjoys a party reputation. Mixing it with your favorite beer will give you a Michelada. Add vodka and Worcestershire sauce, and you’ve made a Bloody Caesar, 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

Beer and olives on a table
Davizro Photography / Adobe Stock

For an alcoholic drink that’s also a snack, hit a bar in Wisconsin, North Dakota, or Minnesota. In these Midwest states, you’ll find another weird American food combo—the Beertini.

Just order a glass of your favorite ale and drop some green olives. 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

Crawfish Étouffée Dish
Phil Whitehouse / CC 2.0

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 until cooked.

Serve over rice with a parsley garnish. You can swap in other seafood, depending on what’s available. And don’t be put off because crawfish also go by the name of mudbugs!

19) Blue Claw Crabs, Maryland

Pile of Cooked Bay Blue Claw Crabs
reve15 / Adobe Stock

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

Beef Tongue Dish
Apeach316 / CC BY 2.0

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.

You’ll also find this weird food in restaurants all over Hawaii. Gyu-Kaku has Japanese BBQ restaurants in five Hawaii locations, all serving Beef Tongue with scallion sauce.

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

Cactus Fries serving and a dipping sauce
G Allen Penton / Shutterstock

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. It turns out that 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

Sweet Potato Ice Cream from USA / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

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

Muskrat dish at The Southern Grill of Ellendale
bhicks1052 / TripAdvisor

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 participate 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

Lutefisk Dish
Jarvin Jarle Vines / Wikimedia Commons, CC 3.0

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

A wonderful typical Spanish tapa of grilled fried pig's ear with sauce / Adobe Stock

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.   

Simmer the ears in stock for a few hours to soften them. 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. Succulent cartilage will be encased in a crispy coating. Enjoy! 

See Related: Top-Rated Restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina

27. Rocky Mountain Oysters, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Oysters in a white plate
Margaret L Dubbin / Shutterstock

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. It was unthinkable to waste any part of a healthy beast, and this particular cut was thought to boost manliness.

Many Colorado restaurants serve Rocky Mountain Oysters. Buckhorn Exchange, Denver, comes with a horseradish dipping sauce; Handlebars in Silverton adds BBQ sauce.  

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

Exotic entree of bison tartare, herbed potato bread, deviled quail's eggs, fried ox-eyed capers and chervil essence
Rohit Seth / Shutterstock

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

Fried Alligator Dish
Image by pelican is licensed under CC 2.0 License

“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

Dead red fox, victim of a roadkill, with a car in background
MMCez / Shutterstock

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.

See Related: Top-Rated Restaurants in Gardiner, Montana

31. Beer Cheese Soup, Wisconsin

Bowl of Beer Cheese Soup
stu_spivack / Flickr, CC 2.0

Wisconsin is famous for its cheese; it’s also a brewpub hotspot. That’s not enough for the Cheese State. Two random ingredients are mashed up to create something unique in the time-honored tradition of quirky American foods. Enter Wisconsin’s beer cheese soup. 

The recipe calls for stock, heavy cream, and piquant flavorings along with beer and cheese. The fun comes from trying different beer/cheese combinations. My favorite? Swiss cheese (nicely meltable) and Wisconsin Spotted Cow ale.

32. Burgoo, Kentucky

Burgoo Dish
Mack Male / Flickr, CC 2.0

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 on a Stick
dvs / Flickr, CC 2.0

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 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: Top Day Trips From Anchorage, Alaska

34. Blood Boudin, Louisiana

Blood Boudin Dish
Roberto Verzo / CC 2.0

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

Fried Butter Dish
Collin Harvey / Flickr, CC 2.0

This concoction was originally invented at the Iowa State Fair, one of Iowa’s best places to visit. To make it, dip a slab of frozen butter in cinnamon batter, deep fry it, and glaze it. Is 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, several different types of food might catch your interest.

We hope this article is informative. Please feel free to tell us about your favorite bizarre foods.

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  1. Hans Jonas Hansen says:

    Ok cool. I will try to taste that next time I’m in the US. Maybe a good reason for going to St. Louis :D. I love cheese so I think I will like it. 😀

  2. Graeme Sandlin says:

    For many, Provel is an acquired taste. Some people love it… some just don’t! It is a pasteurized process cheese that’s actually a lot like The Laughing Cow… so much so that if you add a little liquid smoke to the cooking process with The Laughing Cow, it actually tastes almost exactly like Provel!

  3. Hans Jonas Hansen says:

    I don’t think I ever tried any of those foods when I was in the US. The provel cheese seems delicoius. Is it real cheese?

    In Denmark they use to sell something they called cheese but it turned out that it wasn’t cheese, so they are not allowed to call it that anymore. But I guess EU regulation is more strict than the US.