Our food choices are a pretty basic part of our lives, but this doesn’t mean you have to stick with the basics you’re comfortable with. Some people are more adventurous than others and for those that are, there are plenty of weird foods around the world to tempt your taste buds. You can choose from such delicacies as fermented Herring from Sweden and an illegal maggot infested cheese from Sardinia. When you’ve had your fill you can wash down these tasty treats with a hot cup of gourmet coffee. There is a kind of coffee found in Indonesia that is made from partially digested animal droppings. It’s hard to believe people would actually seek out these kinds of foods, but as the saying goes there is no accounting for taste. This might be true, but these weird foods have to be tasted to be believed.
10. Put Another Roo on the Barbie
This looks like a delicious plate of beef cooked to perfection, except this isn’t a picture of beef – this is Kangaroo meat cooked to perfection. Native Australians have long used Kangaroo meat as a staple in their diet. This exotic Australian mammal is apparently much leaner than beef as well as high in protein. It continues to be a popular animal to raise for its meat because Australia’s climate and geography makes Kangaroos a much more efficient choice than raising cattle. For many of us who grew up watching the cartoon version of a Kangaroo pummel Sylvester the cat it seems a little wrong to make burgers and steaks out of Kangaroos. There are more Kangaroos in Australia than people so they shouldn’t have any trouble keeping the supply of meat coming as long as people are willing to eat it.
9. Hard to Stomach
Tripe is considered a tasty delicacy in many countries and can still be found in many delicatessens and butcher shops around the world. Anyone who eats hot dogs probably has no right to turn their nose up at this weird food. Tripe is actually made from the muscular stomach lining of animals such as cows and sheep. But at least hot dogs don’t still look like animal parts when they’re put in front of you. It is difficult to see what Tripe has to offer that people find appealing, although it is high in protein. This weird food used to be a popular staple across the United Kingdom. However, most Brits now think of Tripe as a food more fit for their pets than something they want to serve to their family and friends.
8. These Chickens Couldn’t Cross the Road
Chicken wings are a very popular snack food with party goers and especially with people watching sporting events. It’s hard to picture these same people wishing to trade in their chicken wings for lesser appendages – chicken feet. There is hardly enough meat on the wings so you might wonder how the feet can be worth the trouble. Regardless of this the feet are eagerly consumed as tasty morsels in countries as diverse as Peru, Thailand and South Africa. The feet can be cooked up as part of a hearty dish or used as stock for soups. Chicken feet are made mostly of collagen, which gives them their soft, but still somewhat crunchy texture. Collagen helps keep your skin healthy and aids in the production of red blood cells. This is more than the standard nachos and fries will do for you.
7. The Proof is in the Pudding
Haggis might look a lot like cat food to a lot of us, but it is actually a traditional dish in Great Britain. Although its exact origins appear to have been lost to history, the Scots insist we have them to thank for this weird food. Haggis is a popular savory pudding made from sheep organs including the heart, lungs and liver. The meat is prepared by mixing it with a variety of ingredients including oatmeal, onions and an assortment of spices. This mixture is then stuffed into an animal stomach casing or an artificial casing. This tasty dish is often served with a glass of Scotch whiskey,which would help it go down a little easier. Chefs have tried to encourage vegetarian diners to give Haggis a try with varying degrees of success. There are a number of recipes based on this weird food that replace the meat with different kinds of nuts and beans.
Grilling fish heads is weird enough, but it is probably the most appealing way to prepare the fishy treat. It is definitely not the weirdest way to prepare the fish heads. Many fishermen in Alaska aren’t satisfied with grilling and prefer to give their King Salmon heads a little extra attention. This is a traditional Alaskan dish that is made by burying the fish heads in pits for a period of time and giving them time to ferment. By the time the heads are ready to eat they are good and smelly, which of course is why they’re called stinkheads. This fermented fish is considered a tasty delicacy in Alaska, but the strong aroma of decaying fish heads might keep many visitors from wanting to sample this weird food.
5. Eat Your Vegemite
If you don’t think concentrated yeast extract sounds like a tasty treat then you’re probably not from Australia. Vegemite is a national treasure to many Australians, but this weird food comes from humble origins. Back in 1922 Cyril Percy Callister decided a sticky brown goo would make a good topping on toast and crackers and so a legend was born. The savory spread is made from leftover brewer’s yeast. This is the brown sludge that is usually discarded from the vats used for brewing beer. This weird food is similar to what the British call Marmite, which is known for enjoying a mixed reputation on the island nation. This tasty spread has divided people in Britain so much that “Marmite” is often used by them to refer to someone or something that polarizes people.
4. Mexican Caviar
Mexican food is very popular, but a particular treat might have difficulty catching on with many diners. Escamoles are simply ant larvae so you’ll likely either love or hate this Mexican delicacy. The insect larvae have been used in a number of different recipes in Mexico stretching as far back to the time of the ancient Aztecs. Some people have described Escamoles as being akin to caviar the coveted fish eggs made famous by the Russians. Like their Russian counterparts, the ant larvae are considered to be a delicacy and can be somewhat pricey. The larvae are usually fried to give them a slightly more crunchy texture. They are added to all kinds of dishes including tacos and omelets. Escamoles are described as having a slightly nutty flavor and are sometimes eaten by the handful as a tasty, but weird snack.
3. It’s a Bit Nutty
In the 1999 comedy Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, the clueless international man of mystery accidentally drank a cup of coffee with poop in it. You can do it on purpose in exotic places like Indonesia if you are willing to try the famous Luwak coffee. A small Indonesian mammal called a Civet cat apparently is discriminating enough to eat only the best berries. The berries are partially digested by the cats with the help of special stomach enzymes. The process helps to strip the beans of their bitter tasting skins. The result of the helpful cats’ unique contribution is supposedly a more mild tasting coffee. The animals’ droppings are cleaned and roasted and then sold as gourmet coffee beans. Some coffee drinkers have described the weird brew as having a slight nutty flavor.
2. Swedish Fish
When I think of Swedish fish I think of the sweet and chewy fish-shaped candy that comes in a variety of bright colors. The Swedes have a different idea though and they are partial to a traditional offering called surstromming. This is a kind of fermented herring caught in the cold waters of the Baltic Sea. A little bit of salt has to be added at the start of the fermentation process so the raw fish doesn’t simply rot. After fermenting for about six months the fish has, not surprisingly, developed a powerful odor. Those who actually eat the sour fish often describe the taste as acidic. A team of Japanese researchers actually studied the fermented herring and concluded that this weird food produces one of the most foul odors in the world. Did we really need a study to decide this?
1. Say Maggots!
Casu Marzu is a weird food that literally means putrid cheese because it is intentionally filled with maggots. This exotic treat is found on the Italian island of Sardinia and is illegal since it was banned by the European Union. Strangely, this maggot infested delicacy has a reputation for being less than safe to eat. This hint of danger probably only helps to boost sales as people seek out the forbidden cheese on the thriving black market. Casu Marzu has long been a traditional goat milk cheese on Sardinia, but social media has helped to make it an internationally known commodity. This product is untraditional in the sense that instead of simply undergoing the usual fermenting process, the cheese is allowed to partially decompose. The insect larvae break down the cheese’s fats, which makes the texture soft and milky.