What one culture considers a delicacy another culture considers a nightmare. If you’ve ever traveled the world, then some of these "exotic" foods may be familiar to you. You may have even tried some of these dishes. But, personally, these foods make me think twice before I utter the words "I’ll try anything once"…
1. Fugu in Japan
Something you may not want in your sushi roll. Fugu is Japanese for poisonous puffer fish. This fish is filled with lethal amounts of the poison tetrodotoxin. Only specially-trained chefs who have passed an official test can prepare this fish. Some chefs even leave a tiny amount of poison in the fish to create a tingling sensation on the tongue and lips. In fact, without this tingling sensation (which is what, by the way, your nerves slowly dying?), Fugu is actually quite bland. Guess the wow factor behind this dish is just surviving the experience of eating this deadly fish!
2. Casu Marzu in Sardinia
Eek! Casu Marzu means "rotten cheese" and is most commonly referred to as "maggot cheese." Yup, one of Sardinia’s national delicacies is a rotten cheese infested with maggots. The cheese has to be eaten when the maggots are still alive because when they are dead, it is considered to be toxic. Apparently, the maggots become full of cheese fat and are considered rather scrumptious. It is now banned for health reasons (no kidding!) but it’s still available on the black market in Sardinia and Italy. Sounds like something straight out of Fear Factor!
3. Snake Wine in Vietnam
Snake wine is a bottle of rice wine with a venomous snake inside. Hmm there appears to be a theme here that involves eating venomous animals. The wine is said to have medicinal purposes, but it’s probably more useful for display purposes. The snake, along with a scorpion, is left to steep in the rice wine for several months to allow the poison to dissolve in the wine. The ethanol inactivates the venom so you don’t have to make your last will and testament before you take a sip. The wine has a slightly pink color because of the snake blood. Yum, crack open a bottle.
4. Balut in the Philippines
If you ever travel to the Philippines, be careful when someone hands you an egg to eat. Baluts are half-fertilized duck or chicken eggs boiled within its shell. Yes, the semi-developed duckling is already formed. In Filipino culture, Balut is nearly as popular as the hot dog here in America, sold by street vendors. It’s believed to be an aphrodisiac and considered a high-protein and hearty snack. Many people say it’s more appetizing than it looks.
5. Sannakji in Korea
This is a raw dish consisting of live octopus. The octopus is cut into pieces while still alive, lightly seasoned and served immediately. If you order a plate of this stuff, be prepared to see sticky tentacles squirming on your plate. If you can manage to get the octopus in your mouth, it will suction to your teeth, the roof of your mouth and your tongue. Gives a new meaning to "food fight."
6. Fried Tarantulas in Cambodia
I can’t even look at a spider, let alone eat one! But, in Cambodia, these eight-legged monsters are fried whole and sold. They were first discovered by starving Cambodians in the brutal days of the Khmer Rouge rule, but nowadays, busloads of tourists stop by the market town of Skuon to try this delicacy. Someone would have to pay me A LOT of money to try this one.
7. Black pudding in England
Sounds innocent enough right? Well, this is a type of sausage made by cooking blood or dried blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled. Essentially it’s boiled pig’s blood. And, it’s often eaten alongside eggs for breakfast. Not kidding.