Eating is not just about filling up a hungry stomach. It’s also about savouring the food. Every place on this earth has its own unique cuisine that draws travellers from all over the world. But if you want to challenge your palate, there’s an entire world of bizarre, pungent, or just plain scary foods out there to taste. Towards that end, we have prepared a list of some weird foods that people eat in various parts of the world. Up for some gastronomic adventure?
1. Bird’s nest soup
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It may sound as a fancy name for some kind of fowl soup, but it wouldn’t have featured on our list if it was so. The bird’s nest soup is one of most unusual Chinese foods, and gets its name from the nests of the swiftlet, a bird from that country. The swiftlet uses its own saliva, which hardens when it comes in contact with air, to make the nest. These nests are then harvested and mixed with chicken broth to prepare the soup.
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This one is hugely popular in several Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines. Balut is the fertilized egg of a chicken or a duck which, when the chick is almost fully developed, is boiled and seasoned before consumption. Even though it appears on our list of weird foods, its taste is not entirely alien to us. Many say that balut tastes like egg and duck (or chicken). Locals love balut. The best way to eat balut, they say, is to break the top of the egg and suck the inside fluid.
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Among the most weird foods people eat, we have one that is not quite dead. Eating sannakji, a well-loved Korean delicacy, may prove to be a challenge as well as an adventure. It is prepared by chopping live baby octopuses, and serving, after seasoning them with sesame oil. The tentacles still squirm after they are cut up, and their tiny suction cups may often get stuck in your mouth and throat if you are not careful enough while eating it.
4. Casu marzu
If you are a cheese connoisseur, you may have heard of this strange variety. Casu marzu literally translates to ‘putrid cheese’ in Italian. It is found in Sardinia. The preparation of this cheese is unique. Live insect larvae are added to the cheese, forging a level of fermentation that borders on decomposition. The fat of the cheese, at that stage, begins to break down. Be careful while eating the cheese though; those worms can jump up to half a foot if disturbed.
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The poisonous puffer fish is known as Fugu in Japan. This fish has enough of a poison called tetrodotoxin which is lethal to humans. Chefs have to undergo training for two to three years and pass an official test before they can prepare the fish. As the taste of fugu by itself is very bland, chefs prefer to leave a small amount of poison in this delicacy, which results in a slight tingling of the lip and tongue when eaten. What makes it one of the top weird foods in the world, is that most seek to survive the experience rather than taste the poisonous seafood.