They say that food heals the soul, but exactly how true can that be when it’s most likely you haven’t even tried a quarter of all the food that exists in the world. Well, actually, that might be for the best. People around the world don’t all have the same definition of “appetizing,” and it shows! Here are 15 Things You Wouldn’t Believe People Actually Eat!
Even though many starfish are poisonous and could literally kill you with one touch, many Asian countries have found a way to cook them and enjoy the creamy ocean water taste. Well, at least some of them. Most people just don’t find them appealing. Or appetizing. In any way. Who can blame them? Starfish can be cooked in many different ways, but the more common – and believe it or not, usual method – is to boil them and serve them on a stick like a kebab… or a really strange lollipop. Poor Patrick. It’s advised that, unless you’re a professional chef, who actually knows how to handle these little invertebrates, you shouldn’t try to prepare starfish at home, or you might end up poisoning yourself – or worse… Starfish aren’t often thought of as food, but, hey, they are edible, so if you want, you could eat them… but the real question is, should you?
14. Guinea Pig
When you think about guinea pigs, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A cute, fluffy little rodent kept as a pet or a fancy dinner? Well, in Latin American countries, like Peru and Bolivia, these tiny animals are seen as a delicacy. Guinea pigs are usually cooked whole, sometimes grilled, or even deep-fried and apparently tastes like a cross between duck or rabbit. The most rational reason behind guinea pig farming is that the animals are easy to handle and don’t require a lot of land like cattle. If you can raise a lot more guinea pigs while using less than half of the resources it would take for beef, no wonder they switched it up!
13. Fried Tarantula
Yes, you heard that right – an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare. A hairy, fluffy tarantula, cooked, deep-fried, and put on a stick to be enjoyed in Cambodia. Chilling, I know. Contrary to what you might think, they are totally safe to eat and not particularly lousy tasting. Or so people say. The taste is described as bland, but with a little chicken-like aftertaste, varying by how they’re cooked. The way to eat them is to start with the legs, gobbling all the tiny, crunchy, hairy legs and then finishing with the body – eaten head first. But, don’t be fooled; it’s not just the tarantulas that can be fried. Many other spider types are cooked and sold the same way, but tarantulas just have that little kick, you know, that pep that drives everyone mad. Many foreigners don’t dare to try this local treat, but the more adventurous ones don’t miss a chance to see what the fuss is all about and jump on the occasion to try one.
12. Chicken Feet
You aren’t very likely to find chicken feet at your local grocery store or rotisserie. Unless you live in Asia. Then, yes, chicken feet could be part of your next dinner party. Although they come from chickens, they’re not very similar when it comes to the taste… or the texture… or the smell…Basically, they’re not what you expect even if you’re used to eating chicken. Since feet are basically just tendons and skin, there isn’t any actual meat to eat, meaning they can be very gelatinous. Like very. It’s obviously not a meal for everyone, and they might require an acquired taste.. and a developed sight. Let’s just say it’s not something you would typically look at and say: hmm feet, looks yummy! If you don’t mind the view of chicken claws on your plate, then you should totally go for it.
11. Black Pudding
Let’s just make one thing clear before anything else is said: black pudding is not like chocolate pudding. At all. Rather it’s a blood sausage. Two completely different food groups. And two completely different tastes. While it is considered a Superfood because of all the nutritional value, black pudding is still a pretty rare dish to eat. Nothing surprising there. Mostly because of what it actually is: condensed pig blood. Despite its unappealing appearance and ingredients, it is good for the body, but just not in abundance, much like most of the Superfood family. Originated first in Scotland, it made its way across the U.K. over the years and has reached overseas in many countries, but still hasn’t made its way into the general public’s heart. Little fun fact, it is banned in the USA and Taiwan for sanitary reasons. So how healthy could it really be?
10. Live Frog Sashimi
Clearly, one of the most disturbing foods on this list, it does not sit well with PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – or with anyone really. A video posted in Japan back in 2012 revealed the practice of eating living frogs as a new trendy sashimi meal. Yea, living frogs. As in, still alive. The frogs are stabbed, skinned, and gutted before they’re served on a plate, just sitting there, on a bed of lettuce – and chopped up parts of their bodies. The sashimi method is used to ensure the freshness of the food and is widely popular in Japan, but this particular video sparked many protests, which is understandable. While Japan has its own version of PETA, it only covers mammals, birds, and reptiles. Basically, frogs are left to fend for themselves. Resulting in what many people would call animal cruelty.
9. Pork Tongue
It’s hard to believe that some people would find any internal organs appetizing. Ever. Yet, pork tongue is a meal that is enjoyed worldwide, and yes, that includes here in America. The thick, chewy, dangly tongue can be boiled, grilled, poached, served cold, or in literally any meal you can think of. The unfamiliar texture can be hard to get used to at first, but if it’s cooked properly, it is said to not be rubbery at all. More and more recipes are emerging on the web, trying to encourage people to eat more tongue, or at least try it, just once, but there’s still a long way to go to make it a common component in our daily food routine. Because let’s face it. It’s still a tongue
Also known as corn mushroom, Huitlacoche is basically a plant disease. It’s a fungus. Just plain old fungus. There is no other way of saying it. It’s like eating very old, moldy bread. But, in countries like Mexico, it is considered a dainty treat and used in many tortilla-based meals. Like a lot – anything from quesadillas to soups. However, many farmers don’t like having diseased plants in their crops – which makes sense – so it’s not that common to come across in certain areas as they simply destroy the moldy crops. While it may not look to be the most appetizing, it is said to have a spongy texture and a taste of mushrooms mixed with corn. Essentially, you get what you bargained for! If you’re used to throwing away any slice of bread that starts showing a little age, this dish might not be for you.
7. Sheep’s Head
It’s safe to say that this dish is certainly not for the faint of heart. Originally from Norway, it takes a lot of courage to eat the entire head of a sheep if you’re not accustomed to it, especially since everything is still on it. The sheep’s head, also called Smalahove, is traditionally served before Christmas, and the plates are always licked clean. Meaning everything from the eyes, the ears, and the brain is shared and devoured. But not everyone is capable of eating something that seems to be actively staring at you. Locals enjoy serving their traditional dishes to daring tourists, even if most of them see it as repulsive and simply unappealing. Although it can be hard to judge whether a food is good or repulsive since we all grow up in different environments, keeping an open mind could undoubtedly go a long way when it comes to meals like these!
Ikizukuri is another sashimi delicacy from Japan and roughly translates as “prepared alive.” The most popular kind is fish, but we mostly see and associate Ikizukuri with the octopus. You know, the one that keeps swirling around on your plate when you add the soy sauce? This very expensive meal is the pride and joy of Japanese chefs, but can also be found in surrounding Asian countries. For example, in Korea, San-nakji is a very similar and popular dish. It’s basically a live octopus and it can lead to suffocation if not appropriately chewed due to its contracting tentacles. Now talk about a killer meal… In Japan, fresh food is almost an obsession to the point where they will literally eat things that are still alive… if that’s not dedication, then I don’t know what is!
5. Baby Bugs
Well, it says baby bugs, but really it’s any kind of bugs. Small, big, we don’t discriminate. But in Mexico, the larvae are particularly mouth-watering, and they’re known as Escamoles. Often sold on the side on the road in big bags, they are easily mistaken as nuts at first glance if you don’t pay enough attention. Full of vitamins and proteins, these ant eggs are considered a type of “ Mexican caviar,” but way more affordable. Because after all, they are bugs. Chapulines are another kind of edible bug sold in Mexico, but they are fully grown grasshoppers, fried, and salted. You know, a better alternative if you feel guilty for eating those little babies. Scientists say that eating bugs is the way of the future, but the thought of eating the crawling little creatures that haunt the dreams of so many people is still pretty odd to consider for some. I mean, maybe if they were covered in chocolate at least… Who knows.
4. Moose Nose
Originating from the Great White North, moose nose is considered a weird yet common delicacy in Canada and Alaska. The residents aren’t afraid to take advantage of their proximity to these great, majestic beasts and make the most out of it. The dish can be served in various ways, but more often than not, it’s simply washed, skinned, and boiled, creating a jelly-like concoction, then sliced up like bread. But don’t be fooled, it is not a substitute to spread your PB&J on. Resembling the texture and taste of paté, it is quite filling and contains a lot of nutrients. Moose Nose isn’t sold in at restaurants, but anyone with a spare moose’s nose and a recipe can try it at home.
Balut is a boiled duck embryo. There is no prettier way to say it. Basically, it’s an egg that’s very close to hatching. It may sound crazy for some to enjoy eating an almost born baby bird, still in its egg, but it’s a very common and delicious street food in the Filipino culture. Prepared similarly to the a hard-boiled egg, it is boiled from for 20 to 30 minutes and then served with a variety of seasonings, such as salt vinegar or even soy sauce. The wide range of tastes from beginning to finish is described as a very watery chicken broth at first, and then as a creamy, fluffy custard. Not necessarily the best mix at first, but they say it’s the perfect match! They are so commonly eaten that they’re basically like what hot dogs are in America, but healthier. The ultimate late-night snack, an after night treat, a hangover cure, any occasion you can think of. And get this, they even have Balut eating contests. Reminds you of anything? Let’s see Joey Chestnut down 75 of these. Even though it may sound repulsive to some, Balut is a tasty and healthy snack enjoyed by many.
2. Wasp Crackers
Who doesn’t enjoy an occasional rice cracker as a healthier alternative to chips? But, have you ever tried to add, hmm, I don’t know, let’s say Wasps in them? Well, the people in the Japanese village of Omachi already beat you to it. Yes, people actually eat crackers with bugs in them; it’s a thing. This may sound fake at first, but they are very real. The wasps are boiled and dried before they’re added to a rice cracker mix. While the wasps are said to have an odd taste of burnt raisins, you can never really get over the feeling of wings and legs touching the inside of your mouth. Like most of these unique foods, this is very much an acquired taste. You need to have an overall open-mindedness and not be clouded by “standards” for what is edible and what isn’t. The crackers aren’t as widely popular as, let’s say, regular rice crackers, but they have created a certain buzz in the Wasp lover community, and you can easily get your hands on them just by strolling down the streets of Japan.
1. Maggot Cheese
Illegal in the U.S. and the entire European Union for health and safety reasons, maggot cheese is undoubtedly the most unsettling, peculiar, and indescribable food to ever exist. The name hides no secrets; it is what it says it is, a cheese filled with maggots. To be more precise, it’s a cheese that was left to rot, inviting the flies to lay their eggs inside, and then ta-da, you have maggot cheese. Now, most people would run in the opposite direction and throw away the food if they saw any type of bugs inside. But for a few regions in Italy, Casu Marzu is devoured with pleasure. To properly eat the cheese, you have to follow three simple rules. Rule number one: only eat the cheese if the maggots are still alive. Dead maggots are an indication that the cheese has gone bad, and that’s when it no longer becomes safe to eat. Rule number two is to always close your eyes when eating it. No, it’s not because it could bother you but because it could bother them, the maggots. If they feel bothered, they will literally just jump up, and they are pretty good jumpers. And the last, but not least, third rule, if not one of the most important, always chew the maggots thoroughly before swallowing them. Because, believe it or not, they can live inside your body and rip your intestines out. Fun. They should really put that info on the packaging.