Strange tastes, stranger delicacies


There is a popular saying that we Nepali eat everything except for the horns and hoofs when we eat mutton. People of different countries and cultures find it absolutely weird when they see us eating the intestines, stomachs, blood, lungs, tongue and almost everything. Talking about weird food and culture, Asia most probably comes first. In neighbouring

China, the street food

comprises especially reptiles, insects, seafood beyond our imagination which are devoured with great relish. They are also enjoyed a lot by foreigners visiting the country.

We bring you more of such strange and extreme food cultures of different countries around the world.

Chicken feet (China): Maybe not the most revolting thing, but chicken feet certainly get a few Europeans nervous. It’s available at most Yum Cha restaurants around the world. Of course, the staff clean the feet before they cook them. Try not to think about where the chickens have been walking before you devour the lanky toes.

Worms (China): Apparently Chinese people fry worms and eat them like chips. They can also make them into a dish similar to Singapore noodles.

Ox testicles (China): As delicious as this may sound, most tourists will probably give this a miss. Frying the ox balls will actually vaporise the foul smell. There is a choice of rare or well-done.

Monkey brains (China): The Chinese believe they can cure themselves of germs and bacteria by eating monkey brains. Pickled ginger, pepper and peanuts are added to the fresh monkey brains for extra flavouring.

Deer’s penis (China): The Chinese in Guangzhou eat deer’s penis to aid sexual performance along with other health needs.

Patatje Oorlog or Chips War (Holland): Fried potato chips with mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, raw onions, and Indonesian peanut-sauce. When you eat this, war breaks out in your stomach.

Sea slugs (Korea): In Korea sea slugs are kept alive in a large tub. They are sliced into pieces and served with a yellow sauce. It is crunchy, and tastes sort of like radish.

Balut or Half-hatched chicken egg (Phillipines): A balut is a 15- or 16-day

fertilised chicken egg. Open an egg and pop a

16-day-old incomplete chicken foetus into your mouth, complete with

partially formed feathers, feet, eyeballs, and

blood vessels showing through the translucent skin of the chick.

Monkey toes (Indonesia): Deep fried monkey toes, eat it off the bone.

Pig Blood (Hungary): Pigs blood with eggs. In Hungary, it is a big deal to kill the first pig of the season. After killing the pig, blood is collected in a frying pan and then added scrambled eggs.

Squirrel brain (US South): Yes, the brain of the small tree climbing rodent. You cook the head with the rest of the body, then, using your fingers and a fork, you crack the skull open and dig the brain out. Tastes kind of like mushrooms.

Sheep head (Norway): Smalahove is the head

of a sheep that is smoked for a couple of days and

is served half. You eat all

of it, including the sheep’s eyes and tongue.

Bats (Indonesia): They’re only about three inches long, like skeletal brown mice when served fried.

Turtle eggs (Nicaragua): They look like a boiled ping pong ball. You make a small rip in the soft shell, maybe add a few drops of hot sauce, and then suck the raw contents down, followed by a shot of rum.

Snake wine (China): A bottle of Chinese wine with a snake in it.

Lizards (Philippines): These tasty reptiles are about 1-2 feet long and are dried and hung up in bunches at rural roadside stalls. They are more popular among ethnic, rural people than city types.

Tarantula (Cambodia): In the town of Skuon, around 55 miles north of Phnom Phen, tarantula spiders are very commonly eaten by the locals, travellers who pass through often try them too.

Bugs (Thailand): Thailand street vendors serve up good tasty treats on Koh San road in Thailand selling maggots by the hand full, grasshoppers, king scorpion, huge cockroaches, and several others.

Water bugs (Thailand): This thing looks like a

giant black cockroach, but with harder shell. It’s highly priced for the aroma, and it’s used in cooking.

Baby octopus in Soju (Korea): You are given a bowl of live baby octopuses and a plate which is covered in soju (Korean alcohol). You pick one octopus up and wipe it in the soju which puts it to sleep and then eat it. When there is less soju on the plate or the octopus doesn’t go to sleep, it starts to fight as you’re eating it.

Bee larvae (China): They are either deep fried and

seasoned with salt and

pepper, or cooked with soy sauce and sugar. They’re crunchy and sweet and the locals eat them like popcorn, but some people just can’t get over the fact that they look like maggots.

Snake blood (Taiwan): Snake blood is believed

to enhance male potency and it’s actually used more

as a panacea than as a

food. Snake-blood masters simply cut off the snake’s head and let the blood flow in glasses.

Fried rats (Vietnam/ Thailand): Just so you know these are not the kind of

rats you see lurking around your local dumpsters;

these ones live in the fields. People eat them deep

fried and seasoned with all kinds of delicious spices.

Bird’s nest soup (Thailand): The main ingredient for this exclusive Asian dish is the Swiftlet nest. The Swiftlet is a sparrow-like bird living in the southern islands of Thailand that makes its nest out of saliva.

— Compiled by Abhilasha Subba