Hello food lovers! In this article, we are going to travel around the globe and share some of the world’s most exotic delicacies.
Some of the dishes listed here will blow your mind. It is hard to believe that people seek out and enjoy these special foods. What would you do if someone put one of these plates in front of you? Would you dare try these delicacies?
Perhaps it is best to just keep reading and let your mind imagine the taste of these exotic delicacies from around the world!
1. Cat Food Or Cat As Food?
Some people who live in Korea, Vietnam, and China are eating cats. Yep, you read this right, CATS. The meat is often prepared alone or as a side dish to other foods.
People believe that cat fat and meat have medicinal benefits. However, some describe cat meat as “greasy,” “stringy,” and “hard to digest.” We can only assume those benefits outweigh the taste.
Bushmeat is minimally processed meat that is consumed in various parts of Africa. These meats comes from bats, rats, snakes, monkeys, and other wild animals. People in Africa eat bushmeat because it is an abundant source of protein. It is illegal to bring bushmeat to the US.
Shark fin soup is literally a soup made from shark fin. The cartilage of the shark fin is shredded, boiled, and mixed with spices. This soup is a real delicacy in some parts of China and is very popular in Hong Kong. Shark fin soup is a pricey luxury, coveted for its purported health benefits and healing properties.
In Korea, people eat raw, live octopus and it is called Sannakji. Sannakji translates into “wriggling octopus.” Sannakji is a baby octopus, sliced live, and served immediately. Some people eat the live baby octopus whole.
The appeal of this dish is that the octopus is still moving when you eat it. It can be a dangerous delicacy eaten by only the bravest foodies. Six people die each year from choking on Sannakji.
This delicacy is very popular in China. The dish consists of live freshwater shrimps which are drenched in a liquor-based sauce. It is called drunken shrimp because of its sauce but also because of how the live shrimps jump inside the bowl – as if intoxicated.
This Sardinian cheese is not for the faint hearted. Casu marzu is a rare sheep’s milk cheese infested with maggots. The maggots are important for the cheese to get its signature taste. The maggots eat the milk’s protein, turning it into a soft and creamy cheese.
Casu marzu is considered one of the world’s greatest delicacies but some people believe it is highly dangerous. It is actually illegal to produce or sell casu marzu and fines for doing so are quite high.
But in Sardinia, you can find people eating casu marzu. Although technically illegal, the maggot-infested cheese is protected as a traditional food of Sardinia. Locals claim it is an aphrodisiac with a taste unlike any other cheese in the world.
Cobra heart is a true delicacy in Vietnam. When you order snake in Vietnam, the entire snake often gets killed, skinned, and cooked right in front of you.
You get the option to eat the heart. If you choose to indulge, the heart is often swallowed whole (like a shot) and the blood and bile get mixed with rice wine you can drink with your meal. In Vietnam, snake is considered the ultimate aphrodisiac for men, in particular. The heart is almost never given to the woman to eat.
If you ever visit the Philippines, Balut is a must-try. It has historically been one of the most exotic delicacies in the world but is now widely available nearly everywhere in the Philippines. It is now a common street food often served with a cold beer.
So, what is it? Balut is a duck embryo which is left in an incubator for up to18 days. It is about a week away from hatching at this point – complete with beak, feathers, eyes, and limbs.
Balut is usually served warm after the egg is steamed for about 20 minutes. It is often seasoned with vinegar, salt, or soy sauce. The version of balut that is popular in Vietnam is usually topped with salt, pepper and cilantro (Vietnamese coriander).
The Japanese love to eat shirako which is often described as buttery fish sperm! Shirako is actually the sperm sac of a fish that is filled with seminal fluid. It usually comes from cod, salmon or pufferfish.
It can be served cooked – often boiled or steamed – or raw. For the beginners, shirako is best served fried in a tempura batter. More experienced Japanese foodies love shirako because of the delicate, smooth, and creamy texture it has when served raw or cooked gently.
If you think about it, is it that weird? After all, we eat caviar and roe which are fish eggs. Shirako, also called milt, is just the male version of caviar!
Who says Americans don’t eat exotic food? Americans have their own exotic delicacy: Rocky Mountain oysters.
Contrary to their name, Rocky Mountain oysters are not oysters. They aren’t even made from oysters. Instead, this delicacy is made from the testicles of mammals like pigs, bulls, bison, or sheep. They are rich in vitamins, protein, and minerals.
Fun fact – rocky mountain oysters are also referred to as, “cowboy caviar,” “tender-groin,” “dusted nuts,” and “lamb/pig/bull fry.”
The Guinea pig, long a staple in many home kitchens in Peru, is gaining popularity in its high-end restaurants. Chefs in Ecuador and Columbia are also starting to serve this traditional Peruvian delicacy in their restaurants.
These furry creatures (and American house pets) are delicious! The ones served in restaurants are produced on farms and are usually twice the size, providing twice the meat, as the domesticated family pets. They are rich in protein and healthier than traditional red meat.
Guinea pigs in Peru are often served curried, roasted, and sweetened.
Kangaroo meat has become a good alternative to typical red meat as it contains more protein. Also, farming kangaroo produces less methane than farming cows, making it more-friendly to the environment.
This Australian delicacy is now becoming popular across the globe .
Do you know what fine restaurants in France and some Southeast Asian street-food vendors have in common? Well, it is frog legs! Frog legs have long been a delicacy that have made its way to all sorts of eateries around the globe.
Some people claim that frog legs “taste just like chicken.”
The killer food! Fugu is a notorious delicacy in Japan. Eating fugu has been part of Japanese culture for centuries and was banned for hundreds of years because of the number of people who died eating it. Today, it is legal to eat fugu but it still claims lives from time to time.
Fugu is a Japanese pufferfish. The fish is highly poisonous, containing tetrodotoxin in its organs. The poison must be avoided when the fish is prepared or it can kill the person eating it. Only licensed, expert chefs with years of experience prepare this dish and only the bravest foodies taste it. It is illegal to prepare fugu in the home and the royal family of Japan is forbidden from eating it.
The mopane worm is a delicacy throughout the rural areas of Southern Africa as well as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia. You can also find mopane worms the menu at some very high-end restaurants around the world.
Worms and other bugs are highly nutritious good sources of protein that are an essential part of many diets in various parts of the world. Mopane worms can be dried for future consumption or fried into a crispy snack. This delicacy is also sometimes served with tomato, chili, onion, or peanut sauce.
The mopane worm is actually a caterpillar, often as thick as a cigar and as long as your finger, that, if not harvested for food, would become an Emperor moth.
Edible sago grubs, or locally known in Borneo and Sabah as butod are the larvae of Sago Palm Weevil, a beetle that eats the leaves of the sago palm in its earliest days.
This grub is local delicacy is a popular one that is extremely pricey, even though it looks like a maggot the size of your finger.
They may look bad, but sago grubs are quite good for you. Like most bugs, butod are rich in protein.
The caviar of the insect world is called Escamoles. Escamoles are ant larvae which is an extremely popular and expensive delicacy in Mexico. It is known locally as Mexican Caviar.
Escamoles were first eaten during the time of the Aztecs and is a dish native to central Mexico. Today, you can find escamoles prepared various ways- they have a nutty, taste and a texture of poppy seeds when fried. The ant larvae are usually served alone maybe pan fried with butter and herbs or as part of another dish like tacos or omelets.
In Cambodia, a deep-fried tarantula is a delicacy! These giant, hairy spiders are eaten by the handful by locals and adventurous tourists. The spiders are fried and then coated with sugar or garlic (sweet or savory!)
Eating tarantulas in Cambodia may go back hundreds of years but as recently as the late 1970’s, eating tarantulas may have saved the lives of many Cambodians when the Khmer Rouge regime forced Phnom Penh’s 2.5 million people out of their homes. Forced to find ways to survive, Cambodians relied on tarantulas which were nutritious and plentiful.
The century egg might look like it has been sitting around forever but is not 100 years old.
It is, however, a true delicacy to many foodies. Century eggs are made by putting duck, chicken, or quail eggs in a solution that might include a combination of saline, clay, salt, ash, quicklime, and rice hulls.
The preservation process transforms the egg into something with a creamy yolk center, and black gelatinous egg white. Sources say that the Thai word for century eggs translates into “horse urine eggs,” which is thought to have originated because of their very strong odor.
Speaking of smelly food – have you ever tried Surströmming? These stinky canned fish are made from small Baltic herring which are leisurely fermented before being packed in a tin container.
Its smell is very pungent but it is still a very popular delicacy for Swedes and adventurous visitors. Some say the best way to eat it is to open it over a bin of water (to catch the smelly brine), wash and gut the herring, and eat it with potatoes, onions and sweet flatbread. And wash it down with cold beer, of course!
Hakarl is the national dish of Iceland. It is essentially Greenland shark meat that has been buried, rotted, and fermented. Some people say it is the very worst thing they ever tasted and that it is tough, smelly, and fibrous. Others say it smells like urine but tastes like strong cheese. Yet, people take the time to make it and eat it.
If eaten fresh, the meat of the Greenland shark is poisonous. Someone a long time ago, Vikings learned that by burying the meat for several weeks neutralized the dangerous toxins in the meat. Hakarl has been an Icelandic treasure ever since, enjoyed by natives and adventurous foodies alike.
Filipinos have turned blood into a delicacy called Dinuguan. This savory stew is made from pig’s blood, meat, intestines, onions, vinegar, and long green chilies and is often served over rice. There is a similar dish quite popular in Mexico.
It is believed this delicacy evolved because of the need to use every part of the pig for food. No refrigerators meant no leftovers!
“Isaw” is a Filipino word that when translated to English means “intestine.” Isaw is a popular street food in the Philippines usually made from the intestines of chickens or pigs. The intestines are boiled, marinated, then likely grilled.
Isaw generally has a chewy texture and a bland taste. What makes isaw such a special delicacy is its marinade and the delicious sauces that accompany it.
This delicacy, also from the Philippines, is sort of the older brother of balut. Instead of an immature chick embryo, this treat is a newborn chick, a day-old chick, or an “almost born” chick.
To make this dish, the cook takes a fertilized chick egg that is usually a day or two away from hatching, and cracks the egg open. The baby chick is thrown into the fryer until it is nice and crisp, and reaches a deep brown or reddish color.
Khash or Pacha is an Armenian delicacy made from the hooves and other parts of the cow like the stomach. In fact, it is the national dish of Armenia.
This dish is made by soaking and boiling the cow hooves and other parts overnight so they develop a gelatinous broth. Usually the dish includes garlic, salt, onions, vinegar, and lemon.
There is something similar called p’cha or p’tcha which is a traditional dish of Ashkenazi Jewish origin. This “calves foot jelly,” is also made from cow’s feet, vegetables and herbs but also includes hard boiled eggs which settle into the gelatinous stew for a uniquely interesting look and taste.