If you thought that the mystery meat served up in the high school cafeteria was strange, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Check out some of the delicacies on this list. They are tasty treats in some countries, and downright nasty in others. What do you think?
10. Fried – brain sandwiches
A fried-brain sandwich is generally a sandwich with sliced calves’ brains on sliced bread. Thinly sliced fried slabs on white toast became ubiquitous on menus in St. Louis, Missouri, after the rise of the city’s stockyards in the late 1880s, although demand there has so dwindled that only a handful of restaurants still offer them. But they remain popular in the Ohio River valley, where they are served heavily battered on hamburger buns. In El Salvador and Mexico beef brains, lovingly called sesos in Spanish, are used in tacos and burritos. The brains have a mushy texture and very little flavor on their own so the addition of copious amounts of hot sauce definitely helps.
Ingredients: sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs with onions, oatmeal, and mutton fat; stuff it into a sheep’s stomach, boil in stock.
A traditional Scottish dish, haggis is made with the minced heart, liver and lung of a sheep mixed with onion, spices, oatmeal, salt and stock, and boiled in the sheep’s stomach for a few hours. Haggis is available year-round in Scottish supermarkets and sometimes made with an artificial casing rather than a sheep�s stomach (cheat!). No wonder they drink so much in Scotland!
Similar dishes can be found in other European countries with goat, pork or beef used instead of sheep.
8. Goat’s Head Soup
Sure, it’s a great album by the Rolling Stones – but it is also a real meal. Just like it sounds, get one head of a goat and boil. Add your favorite veggies and spices and there you go – voila! – Goat Head Soup for dinner.
7. Rocky Mountain Oysters
What is so strange about oysters? These are not the kind you find at the bottom of the ocean; this is the pet name to deep-fried testicles of a buffalo, bull or boar. Yes – Balls!!
Rocky Mountain oysters (also called Prairie Oysters) are well-known and regularly enjoyed, in certain parts of the United States and Canada, generally where cattle ranching is prevalent. The testicles are peeled, boiled, rolled in a flour mixture, and fried, then generally served with a nice cocktail sauce.
6. Stuffed Camel
The recipe for a whole stuffed camel kind of reads like a bad joke, with ingredients that include one whole camel, one whole lamb and 20 whole chickens. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the recipe as the largest item on any menu in the world, conveniently leaving out any concrete examples of this dish actually being eaten.
Legend has it that that a whole stuffed camel is a traditional Bedouin dish seemingly prepared like a Russian Stacking Doll, where a camel is stuffed with a whole lamb, the lamb stuffed with the chickens and the chickens stuffed with eggs and rice. The entire concoction is then barbecued until cooked and served. Fact or fiction, the shear amount of food created by this dish makes it deserving of a place on the list. Sounds like the Middle Eastern version of the Turducken – a duck in a chicken in a turkey – the latest Thanksgiving craze.
Anthony Bourdain, known for eating some of the strangest foods in the world, claims that hakarl is the most disgusting thing he has ever eaten. Made by gutting a Greenland or Basking shark and then fermenting it for two to four months, hakarl is an Icelandic food that reeks with the smell of ammonia. It is available all year round in Icelandic stores and often served in cubes on toothpicks.
Fugu is the Japanese word for the poisonous puffer fish, filled with enough of the poison tetrodotoxin to be lethal. Only specially-trained chefs, who undergo two to three years of training and have passed an official test, can prepare the fish. Some chefs will choose to leave a minute amount of poison in the fish to cause a tingling sensation on the tongue and lips as fugu can be quite bland. Perhaps the fuss of fugu is more in surviving the experience than the actual taste of the deadly fish.
3. Casu Marzu
Found in the city of Sardinia in Italy, casu marzu is a cheese that is home to live insect larvae. These larvae are deliberately added to the cheese to promote a level of fermentation that is close to decomposition, at which point the cheese�s fats are broken down. The tiny, translucent worms can jump up to half a foot if disturbed, which explains why some people prefer to brush off the insects before enjoying a spoonful of the pungent cheese.
Check you gag reflex at the door for this one. With sashimi and sushi readily available the world over, eating raw seafood is no longer considered a dining adventure. The Korean delicacy sannakji however, is something quite different, as the seafood isn’t quite dead. Live baby octopus are sliced up and seasoned with sesame oil. The tentacles are still squirming when this dish is served and, if not chewed carefully, the tiny suction cups can stick to the mouth and throat. This is not a dish for the fainthearted.
How do you like your eggs? This dish consists of� a fertilized duck or chicken egg with a nearly-developed embryo. The egg is soft boiled and eaten in the shell – yeah baby!
Balut is common in the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam and usually sold by street vendors. It is said balut tastes like egg and duck (or chicken) – hey, big surprise – that’s what it is.