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Disgusting Foods That Some Cultures Actually Love

Updated June 14, 2019 2.9k votes 638 voters 187.4k views9 items

It's amazing how the human palate varies so widely across the world. What may seem like the grossest dish ever for Americans can be another country's delicacy. Every country and culture around the world eats foods that are completely repulsive to others. Did you know most people in China think cheese is disgusting? That creamy, cultured, sometimes aged and smelly pasteurized lump of cow's milk is absolute heaven for most people in the U.S. and Europe.

This is a list of foods that are appalling to Americans but are loved by others. Check out this list, open your mind (and your mouth) and go try some new foods! You may thank me later. 
  • Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY


    A small bird in China is to thank for this dish. The swiftlet makes its nest from small twigs and branches and uses its rubbery saliva to glue the next together. The nests are then gathered, cleaned, and simmered in chicken broth. Apparently, the very expensive delicacy has a very rubbery texture and is well-known for being an acquired taste.
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  • 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.
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    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain


    Sometimes, 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.

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    While 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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