Musement takes you on a tour to discover 15 of the world’s most unusual culinary specialties!
Food is a wonder. Sometimes, it can get us in the mood for some loving while other times, it can pique our curiosity. From skewered tarantulas to cheese teeming with live maggots to one of the world’s priciest coffees, Musement takes you to every corner of the globe in search of the strangest eats, which are, at times, as beloved as they are shocking!
1. Barnacles, Portugal
Even if they look sort of like mini dinosaur feet with one protruding claw, barnacles are a juicy fleshy crustacean. Especially popular in Portugal and Spain, they’re generally caught in the high seas where they’re found clinging to an underwater rock.
2. Fried Tarantulas, Cambodia
You may find it hard to believe, but it’s said that this essential Cambodian street food tastes a little bit like chicken.
3. Shirako, Japan
So sushi, ramen, and matcha are no secrets to you? You say you really like Japanese food? Then you have to try shirako, a seminal fish liquid and culinary specialty that won’t leave you indifferent.
4. Casu Marzu, Sardinia
Do you find the aroma of Camembert or Roquefort a wee bit too strong? Wait until you catch a whiff of Casu Marzu! This Sardinian sheep cheese, whose name literally means “rotten cheese,” contains larvae weaving throughout its core that are intentionally added during the ripening process.
5. Insect Tacos, Mexico
In Mexico, you not only can stuff your tacos with beef, chicken, beans or rice but also with insects! Officially, there are 504 species of edible insects documented mostly in central and southern Mexico, so there are plenty of options!
6. Kopi Luwak, Indonesia
In Indonesia, civet cats, or “luwaks” to locals, are fond of coffee cherries. After eating the fruit, they release the intact coffee beans with their droppings which are then used to make one of the world’s most luxurious coffees: the kopi luwak. (Kopi is Indonesian for “coffee”.)
7. Haggis, Scotland
The idea of eating stuffed ewe’s stomach is not very rousing in and of itself, but if the stuffing is comprised of lungs, heart and kidney fat, which is the case for haggis, you’ll really need to muster up the courage to taste it. That said, it can’t be all that bad if it’s Scotland’s national dish.
8. Balut, Philippines
Hesitating between a chicken cutlet and an omelet for dinner? Why not go for a balut, a fertilized duck egg, steamed and garnished with a little salt?
9. Stargazy Pie, England
A stargazy pie is a fish pie that’s traditionally shared for Christmas dinner. While not too jarring in and of itself, the aesthetic can be a bit shocking as the fish heads and tails protrude from the pie.
10. Witchetty Grubs, Australia
Consumed for millennia by aborigines in the Australian outback, witchetty grubs are fat white larvae with a delicate hazelnut flavor.
11. Cuy, Ecuador
If we consider it one of the most adorable pets in the world, “cuy,” or guinea pig, is a particularly popular dish in Ecuador. After all, you can use everything but the oink in the (Guinea) pig!
12. The Senenes, Tanzania
In Tanzania, Senenes are a kind of seemingly delicious grasshopper that is consumed just like sweets. They can be gifted just like a nice box of chocolates, and they’re particularly appreciated by locals.
13. The Tamilok, Philippines
Tamilok is a woodworm, or rather a mollusk, which lives in the dead wood of stagnant marsh water in the Philippines. While its glutinous appearance and provenance may mislead you into thinking it’s unappetizing, tamilok is actually refined and prized. Eaten raw, it has a slight taste of oyster and a woody fragrance.
14. Tuna eyeballs, Japan
Consumed boiled and sometimes even raw, tuna eyes are a particularly fatty dish that you can enjoy in Japan. You can even find them in supermarkets.
15. Hormigas Culonas, Colombia
If you are traveling to the Santander region of Colombia, don’t forget to sample hormigas culonas, or “big-bottomed ants,” with chips for am aperitif. This salty snack is particularly crispy and having tasted it myself, I can tell you the flavor is similar to salted popcorn.