by Vincent I. Porter
10 International Foods That Only the Bravest Stomachs Can Handle
One of the most exciting things about travelling is being able to sample all kinds of exotic, international dishes. No doubt during your time on the road you will across some weird and wonderful food and been equally curious and gross out by it. In general, when you eat gross food you will hate it at the time, but love it in the years to come as it makes for an excellent anecdote. In fact, the grosser the food, the better the story.
Of course, there’s always the possibility you might really like this strange dish you’ve been presented with. In which case it is win-win – good food and a cool story. So, if you’re ready to toughen up your stomach and try someone of the world’s most interesting food, take a look at this list for some inspiration on what to eat.
Trust the Japanese to come up with this revolting dish. Shirako is the sperm sack or a cod, puffer fish or angler fish. It is gooey and white and looks a bit like a tiny brain.
Balut, the Philippines
Utterly stomach-churning, this dish is a fertilised duck egg containing a partially developed duck foetus. You’re supposed to crack a little hole in the shell and slurp out the juice before eating the rest of the foetus.
A-Ping is a deep fried tarantula, need I say more. These bizarre snacks are dirt cheap and pack a lot of protein if you can get past the fact that you are eating a huge spider. Eat the crispy legs first and then dig into the gooey body. Yum?
Did you ever have a guinea pig as a pet as a child? If so, you might want to look away right now. Cuy is a national delicacy in Peru and is simply a roasted whole guinea pig. There’s not a lot of meat on it and it has a very strong game-y taste and the Peruvians love it.
Sannakji, South Korea
This dish is highly controversial and requires a young, live octopus to be chopped into small pieces and served up on a plate. When the plate arrives at the table, the octopus pieces are still wriggling around and the strong suckers on the tentacles kill at least six people every year as they choke on them. Enjoy.
Hákarl is chunks of fermented shark and it is as gross as it sounds. The shark is served in cube-sized pieces and the smell it gives off is comparable to a mixture of cleaning products and urine.
Casu Marzu, Italy
A sheep’s milk cheese has its hard crust cut away after 3 weeks of curing so that flies can come and lay their eggs in it. The eggs hatch and the larvae eat the cheese and excrete it back out. We then eat the cheese, maggots and all.
Blood Soup, Thailand
Guess what the main ingredient of blood soup is. That’s right: blood! Pig’s blood to be precise. It isn’t the most sanitary dish on this list but it is definitely one of the best for anecdote fodder.
Everyone knows that the French eat snails, but has it ever occurred to you that that is really weird and gross? The snails are usually smothered with garlic and don’t taste too bad so long as you swallow them quickly.
Not to be confused with guacamole, escamoles are ant eggs. They are often pan fried and served as a topping alongside tacos and omelettes. They have a strange nutty taste and are considered a delicacy.