Growing up, I was an extremely picky eater. My lovely (yet struggling) mom tried everything up her sleeve, and the only thing that worked was cutting cheese into fun shapes to get me to eat them. I know, it sounds a bit much, though it’s one of the things I am thankful for regarding my mother. I was that child that sat at the table for quite a long time after being told, “You’re not leaving this table until you finish your dinner!” And so I sat there, sometimes she haggled with me, other days (though few) I went without dinner out of pure stubbornness.
Luckily, I’ve outgrown my childhood food fears. (Okay fine, to an extent–still won’t touch onions). While I enjoy experiencing the local cuisine, I can’t manage to step outside of my comfort zone. For this reason, I asked several BRAVE ladies to share the weirdest food they’ve tried while traveling.
Really, these ladies are my heros.
Lauren from Northern Lauren
“In the grand scheme of weird Mexican foods, eating the humble chapulín (grasshopper) is pretty tame. However, I still think it’s the weirdest thing I’ve eaten during my time in Mexico, simply because I’m a total British scaredy cat and absolutely won’t eat anything weirder. There are plenty of stranger things to tuck into, from ant larvae to cow brain tacos. See what I mean? So, yeah, I’ll stick to my salty, crunchy, delicious grasshoppers if you don’t mind. (However, I’d like to give an honourary mention to the viscous nightmare that is pulque though, a weird as hell but super nutritious Mexican favourite.)”
Lien from Get Lost Abroad
“In Belgium, we are not used to eating with our hands so it was quite challenging to eat injera in Ethiopa without spilling. However, I immediately loved the sour ‘injera pancake’ which is served with a variety of vegetarian or meat stews. I carefully had to observe my neighbors to learn the technique. You rip off a piece of injera, and use this as utensil to pick up veggies or pieces of meat. The difficult part is when the dish has a lot of sauce 😉 “
Candiss from Lost Not Found
“I am from the USA, and I was traveling in Kyushu Japan which is known for its dishes of horse. I had no plans of eating any until I was seated at a Kaiseki meal at the inn I was staying at, and the menu had horse sashimi (ie. raw horse slices) on it. I knew I would have no choice but to eat it to not be rude. Surprisingly, it didn’t taste all that much different than if steak was mixed with tuna sashimi, but the “I am eating raw horse” factor didn’t exactly wear off.”
Kaila from Nylon Pink
“My name is Kaila and I am based in Los Angeles, California. The most delicious, weirdest dish from my visits to Taiwan is what is called an “oyster” pancake or Oamisoir. If you’ve never had it before, it’s definitely quite weird. It features a potato starch and flour mixture which mixes into a gelatinous texture and is stuffed with fresh oysters and veggies. It’s all topped off with a sweet tomato based sauce. So weird, but so so delicious! I absolutely love it and wish that I could have it now!”
Tendelle from Travel à la Tendelle
“The weirdest and most revolting dining experience I ever had was at the Alcatraz E.R. Restaurant in Tokyo. The restaurant juxtaposes three themes: prison, hospital, and sex. We were shut in [dark] prison cells and the servers were dressed as nurses. The sex theme came in the form of food: Duck arranged in the shape of vagina lips, drinks with anal bead stirrer, masturbation cocktails… I could not stomach the food at all! It was an odd psychological experiment, as with my eyes closed the food actually tasted normal. I just couldn’t get past the associations. Only in Japan!”
Author of This Big Wild World
“There we were, sitting on the floor of this woman’s house in Paje Village, Zanzibar, learning to cook Swahili food. We didn’t speak Swahili and she didn’t speak English. Our task was to make chapati, which is a naan-like bread. On the far side of the room was what appeared to be a dirty jar with a yellowish substance in it. I asked my cousin what she thought it was. Next thing we know, she is serving us some rice with chicken and snails… and the yellow stuff. She sensed my hesitation, paused, and grabbed the ingredients used to make it: lemon rind, hot peppers, garlic, shallot, and ginger. She showed us that you put it on top of the rice. I followed her lead, took a bite, and then my mouth was on fire. In all honesty, it was pretty delicious if used sparingly and I was glad I gave it a try!”
Becky from Becky the Traveller
“One of the weirdest food I’ve tried is not going to be that popular with everyone. Whilst in Peru, after hiking the Inca trail, I tried guinea-pig. These animals are not kept as pets in Peru but are bred for their meat. Our hiking group all wanted to try it so we chipped together to pay for one guinea-pig dinner. If I am honest, the appearance really put me off, but I still tried some. The taste was nice, but I couldn’t get the cute guinea-pig picture out of my head so unlikely I would try it again.”
I’ll admit there are a few of these foods that I miiiight just try…a tiny little bite. Depending on the day. Maybe. (and if I had a buddy to do it with). I think it’s worth reiterating that these ladies are 100x braver than me! Have you ever tried any weird food while traveling? Would you try any of these?