The diet of the average American is rather – well, horrible at times. We eat breaded and deep fried processed pink chicken goo that may or may not have once been part of a real chicken, but it looks all the same when it’s cooked to a golden crisp. Many of our meals consist of fast food, processed and high sugar foods which are probably giving us cancer as we speak. While some of our food choices might be awful, it’s nothing compared to what some people choose (or have to) eat on a daily basis. Our food might be weird, but check out some of the things on this list! At least all of this stuff is natural and not made in a factory. Here are ten of the strangest foods in the world.
10 Fried Brain Sandwich
Let’s just start this list off with a wondrous treat that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds – a fried brain sandwich. You won’t find too many of these in the United States, but in parts of Central and South America they are more popular. What’s that, you say you don’t want to eat brain? Well the United States made it illegal to serve brain from a cow that’s over 30 months old because of the threat of Mad Cow Disease. So that’s some good news – you’re sure to know it’s in good shape. Which begs the question….who the hell eats any part of an animal that’s over 30 months old, let alone the brain? We think we’ll pass on this one.
9 Ying Yang Fish
It’s called dead and alive fish. It’s now illegal to prepare it in Taiwan, where it originated, which probably isn’t a good sign to being with. If you’re still determined enough to try it we suggest you get over to China where chefs have figured out a precise way to keep the fish alive when they deep fry it. The good news is you just know your food is fresh – you know because it’s blinking and still half-alive on your plate! If you can get past the fact that your dinner is going to watch you eat it then you get to enjoy the crispy deep fried exterior and whatever a half-cooked fish tastes like on the inside.
8 Kopi Luwak
What’s worse than eating brain? How about drinking some expensive poop coffee? Also called Civet Coffee, Kopi Luwak is very expensive coffee that might run you upwards of $150 a pound. So why is this pricy beverage so strange? Glad you asked. It’s because the coffee beans are actually coffee berry beans. The berry beans are eaten by Civets, small mammals found in Southwest Asia. These wonderful little guys then process the beans and poop them out where they are collected and processed into coffee. Apparently the Civets' process of digesting the beans actually makes them better for coffee – go figure. Thirsty?
7 Tuna Eyeball
It’s just getting better. In Japan you can pick these beauties up at the grocery store. Tuna eyes look rather disgusting to us, but the good news is that they are relatively cheap. Apparently they taste like squid and you should boil them before eating. Since they are readily available we must assume they are somewhat popular. Personally we dislike it when our food can look at us while we’re eating it, but to each their own. We can’t decide what’s worse: eating brain, poop coffee, tuna eyeball, or whatever’s coming next.
Nakji is an octopus you use to make sannakji. How do you make it? Simple. You cut up the live creature, sprinkle some sesame seeds and sesame oil on it and then serve it to your diners. Doesn’t sound so bad? Well most of the time the tentacles are still squirming around on the plate, after all that’s part of the charm. In some places you actually serve the nakji squid whole and alive without cutting it up first! That just sounds…great.
What’s haggis, you ask? Nothing more than a savory delicacy consisting of a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs chopped up and minced with onion, salt, suet, oatmeal, stock and a some other ingredients stuffed into a sheep stomach and cooked in a pot of boiling water for three hours. Apparently the pudding-like interior is rather tasty. There are several commercial varieties available and some are made with sausage casing or stuffed with additional ingredients. We have to admit it doesn’t sound all that appealing to us – but it’s better than some of the other things we’ve found.
4 Puffin Heart
Aw, the poor puffin. It’s a cute little creature, like a cross between a clumsy tucan and an awkward penguin. It’s actually an Auk and it lives in Iceland – a place where people eat this poor creature’s heart! Actually, puffin heart is considered a delicacy and people eat them raw. It’s not just that they eat the heart raw – that would be bad enough. No, they break the poor creature’s neck, skin it, then carve out the heart and eat it while it’s warm. Apparently the heart must be warm when you consume it or it just isn’t very good. The rest of the bird is eaten as well and tastes like chicken, or so we hear.
Head toward Southeast Asia, say the Philippines, and you might find a delicacy called Balut. It’s a simple dish really. From the exterior they might look like nothing more than a regular duck egg, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Balut are fertilized eggs which are boiled just before they hatch. In case you’re not following, that means there’s a bird inside that’s close to breaking free and swimming around in a pond. They are extremely popular and sold on the streets like we might sell hot dogs. To eat one of these tasty snacks you just break them open, suck out the juice, then consume the interior. That sounds just awful.
2 Fried Tarantulas
In Skuon, Cambodia they deep fry and eat tarantulas. Not for the faint of heart, or people with arachnophobia, they are very cheap and taste exceptionally good for those able to crawl past the frightening exterior. Who knew that a hairy, fang-filled spider the size of your hand would be so good? The dish has its roots in a dark time when Cambodians were forced to eat them during the reign of the Khmer Rouge, but today they are something of a delicacy for visitors and a primary form of sustenance for Cambodians living in the Skuon region.
1 Yak Penis
Served in China in a famous restaurant is a dish called “Dragon in the Flame of Desire.” Or as we like to call it, a giant, cooked yak penis. That’s right, in the Guolizhuang Restaurant in Beijing, a place famous for serving a lot of penis and testicle dishes, you can order up this monstrosity for you and your friends to enjoy. While we think that’s rather revolting, the dish is extremely popular because it’s supposed to be good for your skin. You know what, we think we’ll live with the bad skin and skip the penis meal.