14 Feb

Weird Dishes from Around the World

Here in Australia, we usually find ourselves enjoying fairly typical meals comprised of meats such as lamb and chicken, and they’re mixed with common salads and vegetables.

Outside of Australia, however, there are certain cultural delicacies that could come off as being particularly bizarre in our eyes. Then again, other countries can’t get their head around why we like Vegemite.

In today’s blog, we’re going to look at some odd dishes or delicacies that are popular in countries from around the world.

Fugu – Japan

Fugu is one of those dishes that the intrepid would try but those who don’t want to die from a botched serving would never go near. Fugu (puffer fish) is an extremely popular dish in Japan, but the fish itself is so poisonous that the fugu can only be prepared by licensed chefs that have been extensively taught in fugu preparation.

To give you an idea of how poisonous fugu is, think about poisonous people claim cyanide to be and times that by 1,250. If fugu is incorrectly prepared, death is basically a certainty for anyone unfortunate to consume a botched piece. It happens along the lines of total paralysis and eventual asphyxiation.

Fried tarantulas – Cambodia

Chances are you’re well-versed in what a tarantula looks like, even if you’ve been able to avoid encountering on yourself. Needless to say, they’re large, less-than-pleasant spiders that almost anyone would do their best to run away from or kill. But in Cambodia, tarantulas are considered a bit of a delicacy. Fry them up and they become a delicious meal. Of course, that’s their opinion.

Balut – Philippines

Probably one of the entries in this blog we found notably jarring, balut is said to be a delicious delicacy found throughout the Philippines, but for anyone who didn’t grow up on the stuff they’d be forgiven for never wanting to try it themselves.

To keep it simple, balut are fertilised eggs which are boiled just before they’re due to hatch. So not only will you have a consumable yolk, but also the foetus of the chicken or duck, depending on which balut you choose. It is seasoned with the likes of lemon juice, black pepper and coriander. But yes, you eat the foetus as well.

Snake wine – Vietnam, Southeast Asia, Southern China

There’s nothing quite like a good bottle of wine. Then again, you can always liven things up by having a snake in there. Now, it’s important to note that the snake in snake wine isn’t alive, but its body is left in the wine. Often times there can be more than one snake in there.

With snake wine, it’s important that the snake be venomous. While the venom is cancelled out in the wine, making it fine to consume, a small amount of snake blood also accompanies the wine, giving it a rose-like colour. Apparently, though, it doesn’t taste all that weird.

The reason snake wine exists is because the Vietnamese believe snakes to offer substantial medicinal benefits, including that of virility and improvements in the sex department.

Live octopus – Korea

Whether or not you enjoy live octopus depends on two main factors: (1) That you’re okay eating something while it’s still alive, and (2) you don’t mind having to fight your food.

With live octopus, the person serving this purported delicacy cuts up its legs and divides it among those willing to give it a go. While the legs have been severed, they still remain alive for some time. So while trying to consume it, you’ll have to fight to eat as the leg will stick to your lips, teeth, tongue, etc. in an attempt to survive. If its tentacles get caught on the roof of your mouth or in your throat, it can present a serious choking hazard.

While many people don’t mind eating octopus once it has been properly killed, a lot of people outside of cultures that enjoy live octopus see it as inhumane given the fact you play a role in killing it by eating it as it fights to remain alive.

What other weird dishes are there that you’ve either tried or would never try? Share them with us in the comments below.

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