Folks, when you eat Doritos for breakfast that’s pretty damn exotic right there, especially if you squirt some guac on top. But in this huge, vast planet that we share with billions of other people, there are plenty of weirder things that people shove into their mouths when the sun comes up and the roosters do their cock-a-doodle-doo thing. But snake eggs aren’t just for breakfast anymore; you will find that no matter the time of day, people have an appetite for all sorts of things that could scientifically be classified as “yucky.” But keep an open mind because once the world runs out of chicken nuggets and Cheetos, we might not have any choice but to subsist on the strange foods on this list.
Most people go to Iceland to experience its scenic beauty. But for you, it’s all about feasting on some delicious Hákarl, or shark carcass that is covered in sand and stones and left to sit for a few weeks until it ferments, at which point it is cut into strips and hung in a barn for a few months until it tastes nice and cleaning product-like. The late Anthony Bourdain, who wasn’t one to shy away from a peculiar dish, described Hákarl as the most disgusting thing he had ever eaten. As you eat it, you are encouraged to down a shot of Brennivín, a type of unsweetened schnapps that Icelanders really dig, and so will you.
The most expensive coffee doesn’t come from some beautiful, scenic plantation in the Kenyan mountains; rather, it’s crapped out of a catlike critter known as the civat. Native to southeast Asia, civats crave these coffee cherries, which are then collected, cleaned, and sold for as much as $350 per pound. On a personal note, a friend brought over a bag from Vietnam, and while drinking a cup my thoughts were, “Meh. Tastes like the generic stuff you’ll find at any grocery store.”
First of all, these caterpillars in southern Africa are a delight to prepare. You pluck them from a tree and then expel their green, gooey innards the same way you’d squeeze a tube of toothpaste. You can dry them out in the sun and enjoy them as a crunchy snack, or you can fry them with onions, tomatoes and spices as the locals do.
Known as escamoles in Spanish, this Mexican delicacy dates back to the days of the Aztecs. It’s described as having a nutty, buttery taste, so before you dive in, you should give your taste buds some practice by eating nuts coated in butter. Escamoles is commonly served with rice and green onions, but since you’re the type who insists on only eating things in taco form, you’ll be glad to know this is within the realm of possibility as well.
When you want to maximize the culinary experience, the freshest is the best. And in South Korea, if your meal isn’t living and breathing when it arrives on your plate, you might as well call the health inspectors and report them for serving expired food. Live, squirming baby octopuses are all the rage there. You simply wrap one around your chopsticks, dip them in a savory sauce, and it’s down the hatch. Oh, and keep in mind that the suction cups on their tentacles have been known to attach themselves inside the throat of the diner, choking them to death. So perhaps you should order pepperoni pizza instead.
When you think about luxury and decadence, gold always comes to mind. This is also true when it comes to the most expensive food in the world. For instance, the $1000 Golden Opulence Sundae served at Serendipity in New York City contains edible 23-carat gold. Likewise, when you order the $2000 pizza at New York City’s Industry Kitchen, gold is among the toppings. However, before you salivate over these possibilities, you should know that gold doesn’t actually taste like anything. Sorry.
Fried calf’s brain
Breaded, deep fried and served on toast or a bun, this dish gained popularity in the 1880s among shipyard workers in St. Louis. But just as musical and clothing tastes have changed, so too has their craving for baby cow brains. When mad cow disease reached its peak in the early 1990s, restaurants began to switch to pig brains instead. Today a handful of restaurants in Ohio and Indiana still serve this stuff, so plan your trip to Toledo and/or Muncie today!
When you’re making your famous hot dog scrambled eggs, you probably just throw away the egg shells because what other purpose do they serve other than to house the egg yokes? Turns out, there are actually nutritional benefits to eating them. They are made of calcium carbonate, a key ingredient found in antacids. But aside from balancing out the acidic levels in your stomach, the calcium helps keep your bones strong.
There are around 10 types of cheese in the world, along with thousands of sub-varieties, but few are as adventurous as casu marzu, a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese that is teaming with live fly maggots because, you know, gotta keep up with those rich, time honored traditions and stuff. You’ll probably be super sad to learn that this cheese is not available for sale due to potential health risks such as dropping dead. Your only real option is to hope that a local who makes casu marzu invites you over to give it a try.