It’s rare to find food that people will unanimously find disgusting throughout the world: one person’s poison is another person’s gold. However, there are definitely a lot of foods considered to be the worst of the worst options, if not outright horrifying. So, here is the list of the Top 10 Worst Foods Ever!
10. Brussels sprouts
If you asked every kid in the world what food they hated the most, you can be sure that Brussels sprouts will come up more than once. Although widely hated, Brussels sprouts aren’t the worst in terms of nutrients and are full of Omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and Vitamin C. So, for health nuts, it’s hard to be too dismissive about them. But, there are plenty of other vegetables that are both healthy and don’t taste like a crowded bus – essentially, the flavor of Brussels sprouts. Most people will either love or hate the sprouts – there seems to be no in-between. Maybe it has to do with the funky, earthen taste and the stench they give off when they are steamed or boiled. Nothing is worse than sitting in a kitchen infused full of Brussels sprouts boiling water smell. It could also be the fact that there are few ways to hide them with other foods or prepare them in any way that isn’t gross. Basically, Brussels sprouts mainly remind people of an unwanted dinner invitation that does not scream inviting. However – they definitely score big points on the health scale, and you could do worse than eating a batch of these – but get real. People will eat them because they have to, or because they’re put in front of them, or they want to pretend to be healthy, but good luck finding a truly ardent fan. You probably won’t.
Durian fruit is widely considered to be one of the foulest, worst-smelling foods on earth. The spiky Durian is found mostly around Southeast Asia and has been described as smelling like turpentine, rotten eggs, onions, gym socks, and dirty bedding. However, the smell is something distinct from the taste, which is actually rather mellow and sweet. So, there is a big difference between what you might imagine it tastes like after catching a whiff and the experience of actually putting the thing in your mouth. It is so notoriously stinky that the authorities in Singapore have banned the fruit on buses, trains, and other forms of mass transit. So, think twice before buying one of these and carrying it around anywhere, or you might risk the wrath of the people around you. The actual Durian flesh, when peeled away from the spiked exterior, is described as tasting like custard, sweet and rich. This fruit is a big part of many Southeast Asian cuisines, particularly desserts, which can be succulent, especially once the innards are properly prepared. So, while it is one of the worst, it can be an interesting snack, and it is also surprisingly healthy, containing more nutrients overall than most other fruit. So it’s not something anybody should really be afraid of as long – as you can overcome the stench.
8. Rocky Mountain Oysters
Rocky Mountain Oysters or prairie oysters, as they’re known in Canada, can be battered and deep-fried and called whatever anybody wants, but at the end of the day, they’re still balls. The ‘oyster’ name might be a trick somebody decided on a long time ago so that customers didn’t realize they were actually eating bull testicles. But the truth is, that is exactly what you’re eating, and no fancy name will ultimately be able to shield you from it. Preparing Rocky Mountain Oysters is a delicate process in which a butcher has to first skin the testicles and remove them – a completely baffling procedure to most people. Then, there isn’t really much you can do with them to mask what you’re actually eating. They are often served and ‘enjoyed’ deep-fried or pounded flat and simply cooked, but even then, most people would still probably rather eat the hoof or the tongue of an animal before they go for the testticles. Still, these “oysters” can be a fairly good source of nutrition and protein, and it is considered a sign of respect in many cultures to not discard any part of the animal that you’ve slaughtered to eat. And, there is always a hardcore fanbase that exists for these treats, especially in Spain, South and Central America, and in the Midwest and Southern US.
Spam is seen as one of the most disgusting meat byproducts and is so infamous; they turned it into a word for unsolicited junk mail that nobody wants. Nobody really wants the real Spam either. It is canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods that became popular throughout the world during World War II when food rationing became necessary for basic survival. Now, we live in a different time, and somehow, Spam still exists. Prying open a can of the stuff can remind you of the smell of a crowded train car, but it’s the taste that’s the kicker. Random processed salty pork full of preservatives and fake ‘binder’ starch that grows natural gelatin, all from a tin can, is about as disgusting as meat can get. This tinned meat is not even reliable as a cheap protein source since any potential health benefits are negated by Spam’s high sodium and fat content. So, in other words, it’s gross in more ways than one. Spam was even viewed as suspicious during the war, with soldiers calling it ‘pork that didn’t pass the health test’ along with other veiled insults directed at their required rations. These poor soldiers, glumly eating the stuff on the front lines, wishing they were anywhere else, eating just about anything else. But war and Spam it was. Sorry fellas.
Tripe is just what you might expect from eating the stomach lining of an animal. It’s an unpleasant, tough, roughly textured experience from start to finish, but somehow this meat product is widely consumed and beloved around the world. It has enjoyed a long history and has a significant place in world cuisine, given that it is very cheap. People have pretty much been eating it since we’ve been eating cattle. But that doesn’t make it a pleasant thing to munch on. Less popular now in affluent countries, tripe went out of fashion for a while, but its popularity has been resurgent among world-famous chefs who prefer to use the whole animal rather than simple popular cuts of meat. This might be a noble goal, but tripe is still tripe, and it is a pain to deal with in the kitchen and it’s really tricky to make it taste or feel good in the mouth. Tripe needs to be cleaned and dressed properly to make it edible, since you all know what runs through the intestines and stomach of a cow. This is already a huge job in itself. Then, you need to try and actually make it taste okay and not like leather boots. In the southern US, a kind of tripe known as chitterlings is famous and popular. Chitterlings are made from the intestines of a hog, and it’s something people often eat, either deep-fried or stewed – but even admirers of the food will admit that it is an acquired taste.
5. Bull Pizzle
Bull pizzle is a cutesy name to cover for the fact that what the restaurant is serving you is actually a gigantic bull penis. Thankfully, few restaurants offer this up as a dish anymore and it’s mostly used as meat for dogs chew toys these days. That’s right, dog owners, your dog might well have been eating bull penis the last four hours. But, there are cuisines throughout the world that feature this delicate organ of the bull, including Jamaica, where the pizzle is referred to as ‘cow cods’ and is enjoyed stewed into a soup. In China, it continues to be eaten and revered as a medicinal product used to improve stamina and as an aphrodisiac. There are probably not many other places in the world where chomping on a dried bull private part will attract a member of the opposite sex, but hey, to each his own. If it works for some people, it works! The best thing that can be said for it is that bull pizzle is certainly exotic and strange – however, it likely provides no extra benefits than what you would get from eating the other parts of the animal.
The Baltic herring is one of the most abundant fish in the world, which makes you question why the Swedish, in this day and age, feel a need to preserve and ferment this fish into a disturbingly sour canned meal known as Surströmming. The fermenting process requires about six months of these small fish fillets to be soaked in salt in order to create its characteristic rotten smell, apparently a stench that whets the appetite of some people of the world. Most would run from the sulfuric fumes, as Surströmming is routinely considered one of the foulest, putrid-smelling foods ever. Perhaps it is tradition: the preserved herring has been known to be part of the northern Swedish diet since the 16th century. This was back in the day when people actually really needed to ferment and preserve food in strange ways to survive. Now, it’s hard to argue that this method is required for survivaltoday , except in some really harsh and remote parts of the world, but that doesn’t matter to the fans of Surströmming. They love and admire the questionable smell of this fish, even if it would make the common eater retch before even having a first taste. Fans of the fish will argue for its health benefits, but for most people, there are plenty of other healthy options. The fact is, this food stinks. And it not only belongs, but deserves to be on the list of worst foods in the world.
Everybody likes street food, but Balut is one of the foods most people feel strongly about never wanting to try. Balut is the name for a fertilized, developing egg embryo that is then boiled and eaten from the shell. It’s mostly consumed within China, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and luckily, that is about it. You’re basically chowing down on a veiny undeveloped body of a baby chicken or fowl that has developed from the yolk but hasn’t yet become a bird. So, it’s kinda like half egg, half-bird, cooked and slimy, staring at you as you unwrap it. Ewww. Most people would probably find this food among the most disgusting things to eat, but then again, people throughout the world eat eggs or chicken every day and don’t really think much beyond that anyway. So, what’s wrong with eating it while it’s halfway between both? The embryonic stage in any egg is a gooey, strange mess to begin with, so there’s a fair argument to be made to let the thing grow into a chicken or just eat it as a regular unfertilized egg instead. Overall, Balut still ranks among the most disgusting foods and is definitely an acquired taste and is not recommended for the faint-hearted – or anyone really. In fact, most people would recommend you run far, far away if you encounter a Balut.
2. Casu Marzu
Italy is renowned for its culinary history and is considered to have some of the best food in the world. To contrast that heritage, Sardinians have long been attracted to what many people would consider the foulest food in the world. Casu Marzu cheese is literally rotting from the inside when it’s consumed. The interior of this sheep’s cheese is full of maggots that have been deliberately introduced to promote constant fermentation, which transforms the ordinarily hard Pecorino-like cheese into something soft and tender. Funnily enough, it’s considered a delicacy locally. The Casu Marzu needs to contain thousands of maggots before it is ready to eat, and people sit at the lunch table and dip into it, eating the cheese and maggots together in some kind of symphony of delight – or horror, depending on what part of the world you are from. It’s a controversial cheese even in Sardinia, which has officially outlawed the product for consumption. However, it’s still regularly eaten there even if you can’t walk into a shop and buy it. Since it’s a food that balances the tightrope of rotting and edible, the only way to know if it’s okay to eat is if the maggots are still alive. If you open the cheese and see the maggots have died, you know it’s probably not edible anymore. Most would say this weird, disgusting food was never ever edible to begin with.
Typical among some of the awful foods found around the world is the fact that they have gone through a process of fermentation. This can bring a beautiful dimension to certain foods and make others taste and smell completely rotten. Hakarl, or fermented shark, is widely considered to be one of the stinkiest and nastiest tasting foods of all time. It makes even the most adventurous epicureans retch when trying it for the first time. But, it has a history as an important protein source for the fisherman in Iceland and Greenland who needed to preserve meat to last throughout the year. The age people needing to survive in harsh climates alone is mostly over, but for whatever reason, the good people of Iceland continue to consume this dish, mostly as tradition during their midwinter festival known as Þorrablót. Apparently, the smell is so foul and intense that when a package of Hakarl is opened, it simply reeks of ammonia, industrial chemicals and cleaning detergent. Then, there’s the taste, which doesn’t really mellow it out, even if it supposedly tastes better than it smells. Pinching your nose will only get you so far when you try and eat it since you’re still eating an old, rotten shark that smells like something you’d clean your bathroom with. This is a food that has the distinction of being the most disgusting food ever.