One of the truly amazing things about the world is the sheer diversity in personal and ethnic tastes. Regardless of geographical proximity, the food from different ethnic groups and cultures can be greatly different. Because of these great differences in, some the food that one group savours can come off as strange, or even sickening for others. However, this variety is part of human cultural heritage. So considering a commoner’s palate, here is a selection of the world’s craziest foods
1. Rocky Mountain Oysters
Another seemingly tame dish on the surface, this dish from the Midwest and Central Canada holds a greater food adventure than what it seems. Not counting my apprehension to eating liver, there is another part of an animal which I want no part of. That would be the testicles. Yes, Rocky Mountain oysters is fried cattle testicles. Also called more colorful names, such as swinging beef and Montana tendergroins, this dish was probably born out of a hungry urge of not wasting a castration byproduct.
Unlike the previous two dishes, Balut is not tame at all in appearance. Balut is an Asian snack food, where a nearly fully developed chicken or duck embryo is boiled in its egg and eaten. Popular in the Philippines and Southeast Asia as a street-food, Balut also has a reputation of being an aphrodisiac. Perhaps it is the difference in culture, but I honestly don’t see how someone could eat such a thing, let alone think of it as a form of aphrodisiac.
3. Black Pudding
Also known as blood pudding, black pudding is a sausage which is full of rendered blood, which congeals when cooled, giving the sausage its disincentive coloring. Typically made with either pig, cattle, sheep, or goat blood; this sausage can see a wide range of preparations and methods of service. Eaten either hot or cold, boiled or fried, it is amazing just how versatile this food is. Would I eat it? Most likely not.
Sounding more like a grooming tool used in the porn industry, or perhaps just a name that a ten-year-old boy would chuckle at, cockscombs are a staple in Italian sauce cibreo. What exactly is a cockscomb? It is the fleshy growth that some poultry have on their head. While not as gross as some of the other edibles on the list, it is something that I didn’t think people ate. However, just because I didn’t think of it doesn’t mean that someone else hadn’t.
Go ahead and try to guess what that is in the picture above. If you guessed the dried fallopian tubes of frogs, not only would you be a cheater but you would be correct. A Chinese dessert item, hama is the dried fallopian tubes of frogs and is most often used in sweet soup deserts. Also, as with many Asian foods, it has reported health benefits as well. Among these are replenishing the vital essence of the lungs and kidneys. Also, it is supposed to improve skin complexion.
6. Casu Marzu
Another Italian dish that isn’t given much through is casu marzu. Casu marzu is a cheese that is prepared a very speical way. It is intentionally filled with maggots. Meaning “rotten cheese” in Sardinlian, the maggots in the cheese consume it and break it down into a softer form and promote a quicker fermenting cycle. When served, the maggots are still present in the cheese. Some customers pick the maggots out of the cheese. However, others prefer their crunch and added flavor. Myself, I prefer non-rotten cheese.
Perhaps the world’s most famous “strange” food, Haggis is the national dish of Scotland. While it may not appear to be that strange in the picture above, the traditional haggis is a food adventure that some many not wish to take part in. It is made up of minced sheep entrails; typically the heart, liver, and lungs; mixed with onions, oatmeal, fat, and spices. All of that is placed into the sheep’s stomach and simmered in stock for about three hours. Perhaps it is just my apprehension to eating liver over all which keeps me away from this dish.
The last food I wish to look at is another bug ridden treat. Bug candy, offered by several candy shops as well as web sites, is a growing trend for extreme edibles. Trapped within their hand coating, these lollipops house everything from maggots to scorpions. If the thought of maggots in cheese was gross enough, imagine seeing the maggot encased like Han Solo in carbonite.