Weirdest Food Around the World

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

Weirdest Food around the world
Chapulines | © Jesus Rafael Lopez Ibarra/Flickr

“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.)”

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Lien from Get Lost Abroad

Weirdest Food around the world | Injera

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 😉 “

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Candiss from Lost Not Found

Weirdest Food around the world | Horse Sashimi

“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.”

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Kaila from Nylon Pink

Weirdest Food around the world | Oamisoir

“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!”

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Tendelle from Travel à la Tendelle

Weirdest Food around the world | Japan

“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!”

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Author of This Big Wild World

Weirdest Food around the world | 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!”

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Becky from Becky the Traveller

Weirdest Food around the world | 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.”

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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?

 

Weirdest Food Around the World

80 Comments

  1. WOW. I am still wrapping my head around some of these! We just started a trip around the world and haven’t really come across anything yet that is too obscure or weird. But we are heading to Peru in about a month and I have heard of the guinea pigs. I think if it looked less like a guinea pig I might be able to handle it better. But an entire guinea pig on a plate seems a little hard to swallow!

  2. Eve

    Yikes! This made for a very interesting read, and I was torn between “yuck!” and “hmmm, would I give any of these a go myself?”. But I suppose that’s the fun part of eating food from across the globe… And it was the fun part of this article – lovely job!

  3. I can totally relate to you! I used to be SUCH a picky eater. I still am- to an extent. I mostly don’t like the idea of having to spend money on food I may not like. I’m happy to try small samples though! Some of these are pretty brave though!

  4. Maybe I have a weird palette but some of these didn’t seem all that weird to me! I recently had horse meat but I didn’t try it raw. That one would actually give me pause. I wonder how the guinea pig tastes… I’ve heard people that have tried it that said it was good!

  5. Wow! Okay, I’m still a really picky eater, and I have a sensitive stomach, so I’m still saying no to most of this. I don’t think I could even look at the grasshoppers. Of course, I think I would mostly be laughing if I tried the dishes at Alcatraz E.R. Restaurant in Tokyo (wow!). Of this, I have to say that I have started to really enjoy Ethiopian food. The injera is still not my favorite texture-wise, but everything else I’ve had I’ve really liked.

  6. Out of this list there is only one thing that I have tried and that was the grasshoppers in Mexico (also tried some ant larvae as well) and now I’m wandering if I need to be more adventurous with my food! choices!

  7. Just like you, I used to be a very picky eater , It was probably the one thing my mum was concerned about when I started to travel, in her words “you’re picky at eating what I cook, how you gonna manage when you don’t know what you’re eating” …It did take me a while but I have opened my mind when it comes to food, some of the things on this list (the grasshoppers and guinea-pig, I’ve actually tried on my travels) – I don’t think I’d be able to stomach the snails though haha. Another great read 😀

  8. I am a picky eater still (like Lauren was growing up) and some of these make my skin crawl!! I have gotten more adventurous in the last few years, but it still takes a lot of effort on my part to actually order something that scares me. You guys are getting me motivated!

  9. I love Ethiopian food and eating with my hands, but I’m not a very adventurous eater. I don’t think I could do the crickets based on previous reactions to having accidentally eaten bugs. Maybe if I go back to eating meat someday, I would try guinea pig.

  10. Definitely never heard of an oyster pancake before… and not sure that I could eat raw horse! I was at a very beautiful restauraunt with a tasting menu last month and couldn’t even stomach eating lamb lol!

  11. It was interesting to see the nan-bread which is a popular kind of bread in India. And the lemon rind jar seems very similar to a lemon pickle which we eat in India. Would certainly not be comfortable with trying the other weird foods…but was fascinating to read all about it.

  12. Gosh! Some of these are very weird. I don’t see myself ever eating a grasshopper. I’m not a very experimental eater, although I have eaten Ethiopian food and absolutely loved it.

    I think the weirdest thing I have eaten is probably octopus tentacles, which technically isn’t weird, but seemed weird at the time as it was an entire tentacle.

    Great post!

  13. Love this article and loved reading about all the weird and wonderful treats that people have been eating. I’ve also had the experience of not being able to leave the dinner table until everything was gone from the plate. Mum’s diligence has meant that there are very few things that I won’t have a crack at but one of the weirdest and grossest things I’ve had was on a ‘hunters platter’ in a local Reykjavik restaurant in Iceland. First were cubes of pressed rams testicle (surprisingly not that bad), then lamb floss (weird texture but pretty good) but the real doozie was fermented whale blubber. This stuff was so horrendous (but apparently good for you) that they have to serve a really strong shot of alcohol on the side to purge your palate of the rancid flavour. One mouthful was all I could stomach. Thanks for sharing!

  14. This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. I haven’t heard of a ton of these foods. I think the weirdest thing I’ve ever had was lewak coffee from Indonesia, which is made from animal dung! It wasn’t bad hah.

  15. I like to try new foods but I need to see it. I’ve never tried anything that weird. I had a chance in Thailand to try grasshoppers or any other bugs but I just couldn’t do it. There all braver than me. lol

  16. Isn’t it always interesting to see how “weird” local foods and customs are compared to what we’re used to?? Last summer I went to an Ethiopian restaurant for the first time and loved it! (I do however share your disdain for onions!)

  17. Interesting post and such diverse options. Eating cuy or guinea pig in Peru was one of those experiences. It took me a long time to get past the idea of what I was eating. But once I tasted the meat, it wasn’t that bad 🙂 An experience and one I don’t care to have again!!

  18. I usually feel like I’m not a very adventurous eater, however this list made me feel pretty good about myself! I’ve had crickets, eaten Ethiopian food with my hands and tried cuy! I’ve also had escargots! It’s crazy that perspective is all it takes to see what’s considered strange!

  19. Ahh the guinea pig really threw me off. Some of these dishes actually looked pretty tasty, but i’m not sure I would try the raw horse meat and the guinea pig. Hmm actually not sure if i’d try a grasshopper either haha.

  20. All of these foods freak me out, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like rice!
    I was recently in Peru, and I do think I would have tried the guinea pig though, we just never ended up ordering it. I have yet to visit a culture who eats primarily with their hands, so this will be something to look forward to one day. 🙂

  21. I’ve tried some of these — the horse menu in Kumamoto Kyushu, which I adored. And the guineau pig in Peru, which was a bit tough and underwhelming. I’ve not tried crickets but I did enjoy mopane worms (actually caterpillars I think) in Southern Africa. Love trying local things!

  22. I can totally relate to your being a picky eater as a child, I was myself and the only things my mom could make me eat were either cheese or potato. However I’ve changed a lot now and love trying different kinds of foods myself. And although I love experimenting, I don’t think I’d have the courage to try most of the dishes in your post. I mean, a grasshopper, really? How ?

  23. Lisa

    These are all brilliant stories, and very brave bloggers too! I don’t think I could stomach the Peruvian guinea pig, or the crickets. My favorite is the oyster pancake, boring I know, but delicious!

  24. So many people I know have eaten grasshoppers in Mexico and elsewhere, but I just don’t think I could stomach it. Someone once offered me a chocolate covered grasshopper. The grasshopper had been chopped up inside the chocolate, but I couldn’t even do that. These foods are definitely interesting.

  25. Ok, some of these are definitely pretty weird haha. I don’t know what the weirdest thing I”ve had while traveling is, I tend to play it sort of safe. Actually, I had a dish with ant larvae at Pujol (a really fancy restaurant) in Mexico City – it was super good, though!

  26. I’ve certainly eaten some strange things as I’ve traveled, some of the ones mentioned above, too. Even though I would pretty much try anything once, I’m not necessarily going to go looking for the bizarre.

  27. Even though I’m a foodie, I’ve always been a picky eater. Now, I also don’t eat pork or beef, so I’m not looking to add any new meats to my diet. The only thing I’ve eaten on this list was Ethiopian food because I have a lot of Ethiopian friends. I thought I’d like the injera since anything vaguely related to bread I’ll try. Unfortunately, I didn’t care for the sour taste. The chicken stew I had with it was too spicy hot for me. I was only able to finish it because I had it with rice.
    The other stuff on this list I wouldn’t touch. I once was starving, so I ate a caviar appetizer at a party. I couldn’t get the fishy taste out of my mouth for hours. That was the last of my food experiments.

  28. This was really fun to read but really, I have such a hard time trying new foods and even a harder time eating foods that are not “normal” to me. As I kept reading and scrolling, my only thought was “Yeah, no! I’ll never try that” haha! I can’t even eat shrimp because it’s like the cockroach of the sea! Ugh, I really need to start trying new things!

  29. Megan Jerrard

    I always thought I was an adventurous eater, but then I got to the Philippines last year and had the option to try Balut and chickened out. Not for me! I’m still not sure if I would eat bugs, though I have, like Becky, gone for guinea-pig in Peru. Fun post – some crazy food!

  30. Some of these made me wince internally! I’ve realised that I can eat weird things as long as I don’t know what it’s made of. I think it’s the psychological element that gets to me the most and makes me feel nauseous!

  31. Melissa

    Haha this is a fun post. There have been some weird ones for me too but there are some on this list that are pretty crazy. The only thing I will NOT do are insects (unless my survival depends on it).

  32. Bee

    I have heard and seen the guinea pigs on sale in Peru, they also sell fried cat dipped in chocolate! some of the dishes in this post are the weirdest mix of things. I’m a picky eater so I just don;t have the guts to try!

  33. In the moment, when in a foreign country, I’ll try the local cuisine even if it seems strange to me. I might not like it or want more than a bite or two, but it’s part of the travel experience and learning about other cultures. The weirdest food I’ve eaten while traveling is cuy in Peru. Since guinea pigs are classroom pets here in the United States, it was really difficult mentally to eat even a bite. I couldn’t even describe the flavor because all I was registering at that moment was, “I’m eating a guinea pig.” I also ate octopus in ceviche and alpaca. Both I’d eat again, but are certainly not typical to my Midwest American diet.

  34. Ami

    Though I am a vegetarian and most of these dishes are not something I would even look at , I could not help check out the descriptions. They definitely are unusual . It would be an adventure to actually try some of these. Not sure if it is up everyone’s alley.

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