When we think about delicacies, we instantly think about foods with an amazing texture, a tantalizing aroma and a taste to die for. There are, however, some delicacies that are far from that and some of them can be quite dangerous, too.
We made a list of ten of these weird, yet very popular foods from around the world. How many have you tried?
Balut, the Philippines
Eggs are a very good source of protein and a common food all around the world. In the Philippines, the local delicacy goes beyond the boring fried/boiled/scrambled eggs. Balut is actually a fertilized duck egg with a partly developed embryo inside.
The egg is boiled (that can be done with a food steamer as well) and then eaten straight from the shell with a little seasoning of chili, garlic and vinegar. All you have to do is tap a hole in the shell, drink all the savory liquid and then eat the entire content of the egg, including the embryo’s feathers, beak and bones.
This delicacy is more dangerous than weird and by dangerous we mean possibly deadly. Approximately 20 people suffer from Fugu poisoning every year and a few of them die. Fugu is actually a Japanese pufferfish that contains enough poison to kill 30 people.
This expensive dish is served in stews, grilled or as paper-thin sashimi and the chefs cooking it have to undergo years of training. Any small mistake in preparation could lead to the poisoning or even death of the consumer – in between 2002 and 2006, 14 people died after eating Fugu.
Crispy Tarantulas, Cambodia
A rather sad story, the people of Cambodia discovered spiders are edible while starving during the fanatically communist Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s.
Nowadays, they’re a delicacy and although fried spiders can be found all around Cambodia, the place to go for the best crispy tarantulas is the town of Skuon. The spiders are deep fried in garlic oil until crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside and are often sold to brave tourists as a snack. Apparently they don’t taste like chicken, but more like crab.
Sannakji, South Korea
Sannakji is a type of raw dish made with a small octopus species called nakji in Korean. The octopus is eaten either whole or cut in pieces, depending on how big the specimen is. It’s usually served with only a splash of sesame oil, and it’s so fresh that the tentacles are still moving.
Having tentacles wrapping around the diner’s face while they’re trying to swallow them might look like a scene from a horror movie, but that is not all. This uncooked dish can be dangerous too, as the suckers from the octopus can attach themselves on the consumer’s throat causing choking or even death.
Shirako in Japanese means “white children” and it’s a pretty suitable name for this delicacy as it’s made of the sperm sacs of male fish. The type of fish preferred is usually cod, anglerfish, or pufferfish.
These sacs look like white blobs of goo or small brains and are commonly served in Japanese restaurants. There, they are poached with a citrusy type of soy sauce known as ponzu, or fried as tempura, or grilled and served on top of sushi. They are said to have a delicate and custardy flavor, almost like tofu.
Not all weird foods come from Asia, and this dish made of ant larvae from Mexico proves it. The larvae come from an ant species that lay their eggs in the roots of agave or maguey plants and have been a delicacy since the Aztecs.
Harvesting the escamoles isn’t a very easy task considering this species of ants is venomous. Once harvested, they are deep fried and eaten as a taco filling or in an omelette or on their own. They appear to have a texture similar to cottage cheese and a nutty taste.
This is Scotland’s national dish and it dates back to the 1400s, although nowadays it is conveniently found readily available in grocery stores and supermarkets.
Haggis is made of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, oatmeal, spices, stock, and onion, the mixture being then stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and simmered. It’s normally eaten with mashed potatoes and turnips (or tatties and neeps, like the locals say). Today is served as the main course at supper on Robert Burns Day.
Cooking this dish doesn’t involve a food processor, nor any other cooking appliances. After all, we are talking about rotten shark here. The Greenland shark must be allowed to ferment and decay, otherwise it could be poisonous.
In order to prepare this delicacy, the shark must be beheaded, placed in a shallow grave and covered with sand and stones. Although those trying to eat it for the first time might find it hard not to gag, Icelanders like their Hakarl so much they vacuum-pack it and sell it at the supermarket.
Casu Marzu, Italy
Also known as “rotten cheese”, this Sardinian delicacy is made by allowing flies to lay eggs on Pecorino cheese. When the eggs hatch, the larvae start burrowing around and breaking down the fats. This process transforms the usually hard middle, making it soft and creamy.
This pungent cheese can be eaten with maggots for extra protein or without them in the case of less adventurous eaters. Casu Marzu is a tongue-burning delicacy, with a strong and rich taste and an aftertaste that can last for hours.
Prairie Oysters, Canada
Oysters are not really oysters when it comes to this Canadian food also known as Rocky Mountain Oysters. This dish is actually made of cattle testicles and it’s mostly served as an appetizer. Bull testicles can be a new food for most people, but others consider it a delicious delicacy.
Prairie Oysters can be found anywhere in Canada where cattle ranching is common and where castrations of young male animals is a popular practice. They can be prepared sautéed, fried or stuffed, and served accompanied by herbs, spices, and dips.