Saturday, February 25, 2012

Odd Foods From Around The World


I once had roommate who liked reality shows. Not the dating ones like The Bachelor or The Bachelorette where the contest is more about looks than anything else, but ones The Amazing Race where people got to go to exotic settings as part of the game. Once I walked into the room when she was watching Fear Factor and saw people eating all kinds of disgusting things. Sheep's eyes, bull testicles, alligator tails, you name it. I remember walking away thinking, 'no one ever eats stuff like that'.

Boy, was I wrong.

Apparently cultures from around the world have long eaten things that most Americans wouldn't consider food. I won't go into the more, um, scary foods (fried tarantula, anyone?), but here are some of the unusual foods you can see in restaurants, street festivals and kitchens around the world.

  • French fries from a vending machine. This isn't 'weird food' so much as a 'weird food source'.
  • 'Billabong burger'-A McDonald's hamburger with tinned beetroot between the patties. Ewww.
North America-
  • Ore-ida Cocoa Crispers- chocolate french fries
  • Poutine- French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy. It started as a fast food dish in Quebec, but is also available in other parts of Canada. My friend actually tried this and said it was good, but it sounds revolting to me.
  • Prairie Oysters-bull testicles in Alberta, Canada
  • Seal Flipper pie-Newfoundland, Canada
  • Xinchin-a fermented fish sauce using chiles and citrus juice. Found in Mexico.
  • Criadillas- barbecued bull testicles in Spain
  • Jellied eels, served in England
  • Fermented shark, served in Iceland
  • Squid sandwiches, served in Spain
  • Big Rösti- hamburger with bacon, cheese, cheese sauce and a crispy potato pancake called rösti served in a bacon-and-cheese bun. Found in McDonald's restaurants in Germany.
  • Seaweed-flavored fries in Japan
  • McSpaghetti-basically spaghetti dipped in sugar. Sold in Mcdonald's restaurants in the Phillipines.
  • Tuna pie, also in the Phillipines
  • Kim chee- a Korean delicacy made from fermented cabbage. It's usually soaked in a tub of salt and red pepper for several weeks, but sometimes it's stored underground for months in clay pots. Double Ewww.
  • Some restaurants in China offer food cooked in human breast milk.
  • Fugu-A Japanese dish using blowfish. Since blowfish have organs that are extremely poisonous, fugu can only be prepared by specially-trained chefs.
  • It's not uncommon for fermented mare's milk or yak butter to be used in parts of Mongolia and India.
  • Animals such as cats, dogs and horses that we see as 'companion animals' are used for food. My sister was once at a birthday party in Guam (a US territory near the Phillipines, where I was born) where they served dog. I don't think she ate any, but this is nothing unusual for them.
Latin America-
  • Some movie theaters in Columbia serve a snack made of fried or roasted ants. Big ants.
  • Cuy Chactao- Fried guinea pig in Peru.
  • Raw sea turtle eggs are often eaten in Nicaragua with a dash of hot sauce.
  • I'm not sure if anyone actually ate this, but here's a replica of the Machu Picchu ruin in Peru. Even if no one ate it, it just looks cool!

  • Borewors- Pig, sheep and cattle intestines stuffed with meat and spiced with herbs. South Africans cook it over an open flame and have it as a snack or a meal.
  • In many East African countries, people eat pretty much every part of an animal. This includes organs like the intestines and pancreas, which many people here would consider inedible. Flying termites are also eaten from time to time.
  • Mopane caterpillars are large caterpillars found in the savannahs of Namibia, Botswana and other surrounding countries. They are usually fried with tomatoes, onions and garlic, then served with a sauce.

The list of strange foods from around the world is nearly endless, so I'll end the article here. If you want to see some of the stranger foods people have found around the world, check out Bon appetit!

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