We’re all aware of the very tasty food out there, full of spice and flavor. The world has created some of the most delicious foods ever, but there’s always the other side of the coin. Faint of heart? Then beware, as we list down the Top 10 Grossest Foods Ever!
10. Jellied Moose Nose
As you will see from our list of the grossest foods ever, some dishes’ names can be very misleading. Unfortunately, this is one of them. Jellied Moose Nose sounds like something sweet you would want to spread on a piece of toast or some kind of sweet, jelly dessert. And, alas, it’s nothing like that – at all! The ‘jellied’ part of the name is just how the food is prepared; the rest is pretty straightforward: basically, it’s moose nose. Jellied moose nose is a Northern American delicacy, served especially in places like Alaska and Northern Canada, where there’s a large population of the animals. To make it, the nose of the moose is removed and then boiled until the hair easily comes off. Then, it’s cooked in a broth of onions and spices for a while before the meat is left to cool. Once it jellifies, the concoction is thinly sliced, and well, yes, spread on a piece of toast or crackers: just not the kind of spread you were expecting. We understand that there was a time in which no food could go to waste, and every part of the animal was used, but still, Moose Nose? It’s a bit much.
9. Casu Marzu
If there is one food group that has the potential to gross people out, it has to be cheese. Many people love a good chunk of cheese and even have “the stinkier, the better” as their philosophy. But, for a lot of other people, the thought of eating congealed milk isn’t very appetizing. If you fall into the latter, then you may want to look away now as the next entry on our list will have even the most die-hard cheese fans running for the hills. Casu Marzu literally translates to rotten/putrid cheese. However, it is more affectionally referred to as Maggot cheese, which is a food from Sardinia. Yea, not much better. While the Mediterranean is known for its delicious cheeses, according to many, Casu Marzu isn’t one of them. This cheese is made from Goat’s milk, which isn’t unusual for cheese, but what gives it its edge is the other part of the process. During the early part of the fermenting process, the larvae of cheese flies are introduced into the cheese. Off to a great start so far. After a few weeks, the larvae hatch and begin to feed inside the cheese. This is supposed to advance the cheese to a higher level of fermentation by breaking down the cheese’s fats. Then the cheese is ready to eat – larvae and all. If the thought of maggot-filled cheese doesn’t excite you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In recent years, health authorities have put their foot down on this cheese as it doesn’t meet modern sanitation requirements, and it is now actually illegal to make in many countries. Phew!
We have mentioned that sometimes a name can be deceiving. Sometimes a name can make something disgusting sound quite tasty. Well, not only can a name do that, but so can the look of the food. If you were to find yourself in the Philippines or Vietnam and you fancied some street food, you may well be tempted to order Balut. At first glance, Balut looks just like a hard-boiled egg, and if you are not used to the sight of Asian street food, then a hard-boiled egg might seem like a safe and good choice. However, if you’re not the adventurous type, you would be very wrong. Balut is actually a fully intact duck embryo inside an eggshell. While the eggs we are used to eating are unfertilized, this egg is prepared in such a way that the embryo is not only fertilized but actually growing. The egg is placed in the warm for about a week until the embryo is ready. Then the egg is cooked and served with salt. When you peel back the shell, the regular boiled egg forms around the small duck body, with feathers, beak, the whole 9 yards.
7. Stink Heads
Throughout history, many cultures and countries have built their food habits based on what is local to them. This makes sense, of course, as it wasn’t always easy to transport food from one country to another. Up in the colder regions of North America, Alaska, and certain parts of coastal Canada, to be exact, they used to rely mostly on the sea. Salmon became a staple food for the natives that inhabit those areas, as it was very common. As with a lot of other cultures, it was normal to use up every part of the animal so as none of it went to waste and no one goes hungry. But still, sometimes it just looks unnecessary. Stink Heads are, yes, the heads of Salmon that are lopped off the fish and buried in the ground to ferment. The heads are left for a few weeks as nature takes its course and the heads start to rot. Just before the heads are completely rotted away, they are dug up and then mashed into a kind of pudding or mouse and then served cold. There’s got to be a better snack option, no?
When it comes to gross foods, we all rely on our senses to tell us not to eat something. If it looks bad, sounds bad, and, more importantly, smells bad, then we shouldn’t eat it. And when food attacks all the senses before we even put it in our mouths, then we should definitely put the food down and run as far away as possible from it. However, in Iceland, there is a dish that does just that, and yet, it is still eaten by plenty of people. Hakarl is an Icelandic delicacy that is essentially decomposed shark carcass. Since it’s made using the Greenland Shark, which is very toxic to humans, the shark needs to be buried in the sand and rocks to press away the toxic acids. The flesh is then left for a few months to ferment and is hung up to dry, diced and cubed, then it’s ready to go. Not exactly the most appetizing sight, and well, the smell isn’t really much better. It is said to smell like a mix of strong urine and bad cheese. The taste is also said to resemble that of cheese and bad fish mixed with urine! Apparently, the Vikings used this technique as a way to preserve the flesh for as long as possible, but that was centuries ago. We can’t help but feel there are better and more modern ways to have a good, urine-free smeeling meal.
Whenever we think of Japanese cuisine, we all automatically think of fish. And not just any fish, but raw fish. For decades now, the benefits – and taste – of dishes such as Sushi and Sashimi have taken the world by storm as they’ve quickly become some of the most popular foods out there. However, while these delicate dishes use specific parts of the fish, what happens to the rest of it? Well, part of this question can be easily answered – it becomes Medama, a popular Japanese dish. This dish uses the eyeballs from tuna and is considered a real delicacy. The eyes can be fried, steamed, boiled, or stewed and are then seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. This dish became popular during the poverty era of Japan when everything had to be eaten. While nowadays, eating fish eyes may sound gross, the Japanese are sticking to their guns and might be onto something. Fish eyes are, after all, rich in Omega 3. These Tuna eyes contain a high concentration of fatty acid that is extremely good for you. Luckily for most of us, Omega 3 is found in many foods, so we don’t have to chew on those squishy eyeballs to get our healthy kick.
4. Cobra Heart
There are many reasons why a culture might have a taste for a particular food item. No matter how gross we might find some of them, there is always a need for food. Sometimes, it’s because it’s the only food that is available, and other times it’s because people don’t want to waste any part of the animal. All of that can be understood. However, there are some times when people just want to eat something, just for the sake of living on the side of danger. That’s what happens when you go to Vietnam and order a Cobra’s heart. While originally eating the heart of a living Cobra was done to enhance your male virility, nowadays, it has become a big tourist attraction. It’s now done solely for the kicks. It’s so popular that most Vietnamese restaurants will serve it. So, how does it work? Well, you get to pick out your own Cobra, which is still alive, and then they slice out the heart and drop it into a glass of rice wine, and you drink it all down. If that’s not enough for you, then you can follow this up with a shot made up of the snake’s bile and blood mixed with rice wine and a shot using with the venom. As long as the venom doesn’t enter your bloodstream, you’ll be safe as the stomach acid will process it. Even so, this is one gross and potentially dangerous dinner item.
3. Rocky Mountain Oysters
Who would have thought you could find Oysters in the Mountains? Ok, no, you can’t. This is another example of gross food trying to sound nicer by giving it a better name. You probably already know what Rocky Mountain Oysters are, but just in case you don’t, here’s the gist: they are battered and fried young bull testicles. They end up looking a little bit like Onion rings or Calamari – another way this food is trying to trick us! This delicacy came about in a time when ranchers needed to find a cheap and readily available meat source. They experimented with different cuts of meat but found that the testicles of the Bull were going to waste; when the Bulls had their parts removed to prevent aggressive behavior. Rather than throwing those bits in the trash, the ranchers decided to cook them and eat them, and thus, Rocky Mountain Oysters were born. Unlike the other entries on our list of gross foods, the Rocky Mountain Oysters actually have a lot of people divided. Some think they are the grossest thing ever, and others actually like them and will happily eat them often. Whatever your views on these cowboy delicacies are, they deserve a place on our list just because of what they are made of.
2. Black Pudding
We next turn our attention to the UK. At some point in history, the British Empire covered a large percentage of the globe, and with that came the discovery of many different foods; tea, spices, herbs, just to name a few. The UK brought them over to their small island and incorporated them into their heritage. However, the British people still love to eat their own gross foods. Not exactly known for their culinary delights, Bangers, Mash, and Haggis spring to mind, each could have a place on this list. Haggis, after all, is all the organs and bits we don’t want to eat, wrapped in a sheep’s bladder. As gross as that sounds, the winner of the UK’s grossest dish has to be Black Pudding. Sometimes referred to as blood pudding, this food is essentially a sausage, but instead of being made from the animal’s meat, it’s made from, you guessed it, the blood. Mainly made from pigs’ blood, but also from sheep and cows, black pudding is the result of drained blood being left to coagulate. It’s mixed with oatmeal, barley, and sometimes potato, then boiled as a skin forms around it to give it the appearance of a thick sausage. The black pudding is then fried and sliced and is traditionally eaten as part of a meal. Usually, with a traditional British breakfast which includes eggs, bacon, baked beans, toast, and the infamous black pudding. Although the breakfast doesn’t sound bad, the main star is still sliced blood. Definitely one for the gross list!
For this next entry on our list, we head back over to Japan. While we have already mentioned their love for fish – and for fish eyeballs – we have saved the weirdest and grossest for last. While many cultures have their own unique food dear to their heritage, Japan has something that is truly out there. Not content enough with eating all of the fish, they decided to go one step further and eat what’s inside too. By that, we mean the fish semen. That’s right, Shirako, also known as milt, is the seminal fluid of fish, mollusks, and certain other water-dwelling animals. Shirako is served as a white paste. It actually resembles sauces such as Mayonnaise and Horseradish and may seem quite appealing. But before you start dipping your fries into this white paste, and get shocked by the strong, fishy taste, be aware of what it is. Shirako can be served in a number of ways; as a sauce on the side, on top of rice, it can even be grilled and battered to make a nice fish semen tempura. Most Japanese restaurants do advise that if you order Shirako for the first time, trying tempura-style is the best way to go. Maybe since it’s battered and fried, you may be able to trick yourself into thinking it’s something other than what it actually is! Another popular version of this dish is made with octopus milt, which can either be ‘milked’ from a live octopus or retrieved from the sacs of dead ones.