D ifferent cultures have different foods, and they shouldn't be judged for their delicacies. That being said, listed below are some of the strangest dishes around the world.
If you have arachnophobia, you should maybe avoid trying to consume these furry eight-legged creatures. They're not small home spiders, they're huge tarantulas that can be purchased from street sellers from Skuon, Cambodia.
Arms, teeth, and everything, they're cooked whole. They were originally found to be delicious by famished Cambodians during the cruel, horrific times of the regime under Khmer Rouge, and have since evolved from being a lifeline for these folks to a specialty that visitors go great distances to enjoy.
The black fuzzy arachnids discovered in the forest outside Skuon's town center are a cause of wealth and fame for the area, with busloads of visitors stopping to sample these spiders on their route to other destinations. They're wonderful pulled directly from the burrows and pan sautéed with a little garlic and seasoning for just a few pennies.
Balut, a Filipino delicacy, allows you to consume both the chicken and the egg interestingly at the very same time. These fertilized eggs, Balut, are cooked right before hatching, so the yolk pours out first, followed by the chicken (or the duck) fetus. They are made when the unborn fetus is between 17 and 21 days old, depending on one's choice, however, the fetus develops a beak, bones, feathers, and even claws as the egg matures.
Balut is as prominent in Filipino society as hot dogs are in the US, and in the Philippines, street vendors cry 'Baluuuuut' as they drive their carts on the street. They're a robust, protein-rich food that's often thought to increase libido.
Balut is typically served with beer with a bit of salt, black pepper, lemon juice, and coriander, while some Balut fans like it with vinegar and chili. Balut is eaten by cracking the egg, sipping the soup, and then eating the yolk along with the fetus.
Insect larvae have infested this cheese from Sardinia. "Casu Marzu" translates to "rotten cheese," although it's more frequently known as the "maggot cheese." Although it has been outlawed for health concerns, it is nevertheless available on Sardinia's black market and in other regions of Italy too.
This is sheep's milk cheese, essentially Pecorino, but has been infected with the larvae from Piophila Casei, better known by the name cheese fly. As these larvae devour the fats in the cheese, fermentation ensues, resulting in a very mushy texture with a little liquid leaking out. This cheese must be consumed while the maggots continue to be alive since it is harmful when they are dead.
Diners must conceal their eyes because the larvae might jump if startled. There have been instances of allergic responses after consuming Casu Marzu, and the dangers of ingesting cheese that's progressed to a hazardous stage also persist. There's also the possibility of intestinal infection from the larvae.
Known as surstromming, fermented Baltic herring may be purchased on store shelves across Sweden, albeit it is unlikely to be seen next to IKEA meatballs. The Baltic herring is taken right before spawning in the spring and fermented for 1 to 2 months in barrels before being canned, where the process of fermentation continues for many months. Because of the ongoing fermentation process, the cans frequently bulge during transportation and storage.
Some airlines have outright prohibited the use of these cans on flights, citing the dangers of pressurized cans, which they compare to explosives and fireworks. When you open the can, the scent is generally the first thing that hits you, since the fermented Baltic fish has some very powerful odors. It's commonly served with boiled potatoes and a sort of crispy, flatbread. It's sometimes washed down with water or milk, but the ideal way to push it down is with beer.
Do you want to try something different with your wine? Perhaps a reptile bouquet with venomous undertones? Snake wine is a rice wine that has been bottled with the head of a poisonous snake. Because of the snake blood, it has a somewhat pink color, like a lovely rose. It's thought to have therapeutic properties, although it's probably better as a conversation starter.
The snake is steeped in rice wine for several months to allow the venom to dissipate. Ethanol neutralizes the venom, making it non-lethal. This wine originated in Vietnam, where snakes are believed to have therapeutic properties, but has since expanded throughout Southeast Asia and Southern China. This snake wine is not to be confused with snake blood wine, which is created by slashing the snake's belly to allow the blood to pour into the wine and served immediately. Snake wine can definitely be classified as one of the strangest dishes around the world, for good reason.