Sal de Gusano (México)
Do *not* let your guard down when you’re ordering food in Mexico. You may not be physically or mentally prepared for what you may get there. Even if you’re about to do some shots of homebrew tequila you’ll salt, because that’s how you drink it. So, if you hear the natives call the salt “sal de gusano”, you may want to either pass or double down on that booze, as this “spice” is made up of ground gusano worms, rock salt, and chiles. You’ve been warned!
Balut (Philippines, China)
Do you like boiled eggs? Duck eggs, specifically? Well, then I have bad news for you, friend. Balut, also known as the El Dorado of weird food, is basically 11-day-old duck egg, boiled to perfection. It’s a half-formed duck embryo with feathers, internal organs and even bones. Yumm!
Snake wine, South-east Asia
This wine is pretty tame, compared to the WTF factor of the previous 2 items, but still weird enough for me. This popular Asian beverage is believed to have nearly supernatural restorative properties in Chinese and Vietnamese culture. The recipe is pretty straightforward: you either steep a snake in rice wine, or mix its bodily fluids, such as blood, with the alcohol. Bottoms up!
Century eggs (China)
Have you ever tasted a rotten egg with moldy bread and a slice of really bad cheese? Apparently that’s how people describe the taste of this delicacy. Don’t worry, these eggs aren’t actually 100 years old (they sure could have fooled me); they’re preserved for just a few months, and that’s all it takes to turn the yolk dark green and the white brown. No seconds for me, I’m full.
Fried spiders (Cambodia)
I know some people really dislike spiders and want to set them on fire every time they see the wall-crawlers, but this Cambodian delicacy takes that to a whole new level. These little arachnids are tarantulas, and are usually served with a lime and black pepper dip in the Phnom Penh restaurant in Romdeng. When “kill it with fire” just isn’t brutal enough, you can always eat those bastards afterwards!
Speaking of creatures with 8 limbs, would you like to try a live octopus? Sannakji is a traditional Korean dish where the octopus is cut into small pieces and served while the tentacles are still squirming. Just don’t forget those suction cups can be the end of you!
Tong zi dan (China)
Just when you think Chinese cuisine couldn’t possibly get any weirder, this fabulous delicacy pops up. Tong zi dan, or “virgin boy eggs” are eggs boiled in the urine of young schoolboys. Yup. I’m not judging, China, I’m just very concerned about your mental health.
Rocky mountain oysters (US)
Who doesn’t like oysters, am I right? Especially deep-fried, ooh, yummy!… What do you mean those aren’t actually oysters? They’re deep-fried bull testicles? I’d rather try my luck with the Escamoles, thanks!
Crispy Chicken Nails (Philippines)
Yes, chicken nails (or claws), you know, those sharp things that the birds inherited from their dinosaur cousins? Apparently when cleaned and prepared properly they make for a fantastic beer snack.
Don’t you just hate it when ants steal your picnic basket with all the good food? Yeah, never happened to me either, but I heard bears suffer from those ant raids constantly. So, anyway, this was my attempt to segway into ant larvae, also known as, insect caviar. These ant babies are harvested from the maguey plant and are sold at a huge price, hence the whole “caviar” thing. After that they can be added to pretty much anything wrapped in a tortilla, so keep your eyes open next time you order your tacos. Those white things in the picture are not beans, just so you know.