- South East Asia
Known as the King of Fruits, Durian is certainly a force to be reckoned with. First of all, it's big, about the size of a rugby ball, and it's covered with thick, sharp spikes to ward off would-be Durian-eaters – it’s Mother Natures way of saying, "back off, sicko – you really don’t wanna taste what’s inside this thing."
But you don’t listen to Mother Nature, do you? No, instead, you take a machete to the thick, spiky rind, opening Pandora’s stinking, gelatinous box and unleashing the fury of a thousand rest-stop bathrooms on any olfactory nerve within a mile radius. What’s inside is an oozing, jelly-like fruit that has the scent of a port-o-john and the taste of port-o-john-flavored custard. Seriously, its hard to get past the smell, but if you do, you’ll be rewarded with a rich, creamy, mouthful of sick.
I don’t like durian (did I make that clear?), but for some reason this filthy fruit is a delicacy in many South East Asian Countries. A Malaysian friend of mine once described it giddily as "like eating ice cream in the toilet," as he shoveled the creamy, reeking mess into his mouth with his bare hands.
The smell and the after-taste can linger for hours, prompting Singapore to make durian illegal in public transport and hotels.
That being said, you should totally try it. See a video of me attempting to eat a durian here.
Check out how this girl went from hating it to loving it.
EscamolSometimes, in the world of strange ethnic cuisines, ignorance is bliss. Like with hot dogs – salty, delicious, mystery meat that we’re all better off knowing as little as possible about it’s questionable origins. The same goes for Mexican escamoles, which have the constancy of cottage cheese and taste (according to wikipedia) buttery and slightly nutty. But what are escamoles? Sometimes known as insect caviar, escamoles are actually the larvae of large black ants who make their home in the roots of the agave and maguey plant in Mexico.
That’s right you’re eating ant eggs. Grossed out? Well, don’t be – we eat chicken eggs all the time, and people eat fish eggs as caviar, or salmon roe on their sushi, so why not fry up some ant eggs, add a bit of cheese, and a daub of guac for a nice ant egg taco. Ole!
Here’s a Youtube video that starts with a strangely fitting photo of George W. Bush eating a cat (wtf?), and then shows a greasy chef preparing escamoles and referring to them as "a delicacy worthy of gods, like the worms of maguey." OMG, they eat worms too. And I used to love Mexican food.
StinkheadStinkhead. The name itself is enough to turn most heads away from this dish, and unfortunately, it's pretty much exactly how it sounds. Natives to Alaska’s frozen and inhospitable environment know a thing or two about sustainability – and they don’t like to waste anything.
The most distinguishing thing about stinkhead is not that they're fish heads, but that they are buried in the ground and left to rot (the preferred posh foodie term here is "ferment") for weeks on end. And what’s worse, they love letting them rot into a congealed mush of funk and slime and then eat them like a mushy fish head gruel.
- Everyone loves a good boiled egg for breakfast. Crack and peel the shell, give it a sprinkling of salt and pepper to taste, and dig in to that familiar and delicious taste and consistency. But what if it was a duck egg instead of chicken? And what if inside that creamy yellow yolk, there was a half-formed duck fetus, complete with fledgling feathers and beak?
In Vietnam or the Philippines, this freak of embryonic nature is actually a common street food known as Balut.
I grew up on a sort of hobby farm, and we had our own chickens and fresh eggs. Occasionally, an egg would sit in the coop a few days too long and when I’d crack it into the pan on a sunny Sunday morning, a small embryonic chicken would gloomp out of the shell and lie there sizzling in its own amniotic fluid. This experience was always gross, and a little bit sad, but I never, NEVER thought about eating the damn thing!
I can only imagine the same thing happening to a young Vietnamese boy on his farm, and at first sight of that sad little malformed fowl fetus, he must have jumped into the air laughing and clasping his hands together with glee. Oh, what a treat! Let's boil the rest of them and sell them on the streets!
HákarlWhile the picture may not look so terrible, just wait until you hear what it is. A food native to Iceland hakarl is either Greenland shark or sleeper shark that's been gutted and beheaded and then buried in the ground for 6-12 weeks before it's hung to dry for several months. It's served in small cubes and a toothpick.
It's also preferable to use rotten shark meat, as fresh Greenland shark meat is quite poisonous. If that's not enough to turn you away, the dish has a strong ammonia smell, like cleaning products, and first-timers are often advised to pinch their nose while eating it, as it usually induces gagging.
World traveler and host of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain claims hakarl was "the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing" he's ever eaten.
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