The cuisine is the perfect way to explore a country’s culture when travelling. Through cuisine, you can learn about many things regarding the country’s history, its climate, geographical terrain and even some of its customs and colloquialisms. Due to the diversity of ethnicities all around the world, there are many exotic dishes represented for many cultural values. Let’s dive into the top bizarre dishes in the world to have a different perspective about how creative people can be when it comes to food.
1. BIRDS NEST SOUP
Also known as the "caviar of the east", this dish is considered a rare delicacy around the world but is particularly popular in Asia. The nest is not made of sticks and leaves, but rather the bird's saliva. The soup, consisting of a nest covered in a light chicken broth, is said to be one of the priciest animal products eaten by humans in the world, ringing in at anywhere from $30 to $100 per bowl!
Sushi is pretty common and widely loved all over the world nowadays. But have you ever try live octopus? Live like, a still-moving octopus? In Korea, fresh baby octopi are cut up, quickly seasoned with sesame oil, and served while the tentacles are still moving. It will give you the slimy and chewy texture that attracts culinary daredevils. If that's not enough of a dare for you, be aware that the dish can actually be quite dangerous if the suction cups stick to your mouth or throat.
Balut is a prized dish in the Philippines and very popular in Southeast Asia countries. It is a duck egg that has been fertilised, meaning it contains the embryo of a baby duck. The whole thing is usually boiled and eaten with kumquat, salt and pepper, and some coriander. It can also be stir-fried with tamarin, butter, or garlic to make it more eater-friendly.
4. HORSE MILK - MONGO
“Airag” is fairly unusual milk that Mongolians absolutely love. To make this dish, the Mongol nomads milk a horse, then put the mixture in a leather bag and leave it out in the sun for a week or so. In the meantime, they have to keep stirring it every now and then to aid the fermentation process. The result is sour and slightly bubbly.
5. GIZZARD SOUP - JAPAN
Japan is famous for the most unique culture in Asia. They have many strange but beautiful dishes. One of the weirder ones is gizzard soup – a hotpot made from the intestines and stomach lining of things like cows, goats and sheep. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but the Japanese love it.
6. KOPI LUWAK
Also known as civet coffee, kopi luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world, ringing in at $75 per quarter-pound. What makes it so special is the distinctive processing cycle. A small tree-dwelling animal, the Common Palm Civet, eats the outer layer of the coffee cherry but does not digest the inner bean. Then, the droppings contain intact beans mixed with digestive enzymes, which locals collect and sell to vendors, who sun-dry the beans before putting them on the market. Words on the street claim that it tastes earthy and musty with hints of caramel and chocolate. So, do you dare to try it?
The ingredients in Scotland's national dish may sound disturbing, but many people who have tried it liked it! Haggis is made with a sheep's lung, stomach, heart and liver. As with many kinds of sausage, the stomach is stuffed with the organ meats, suet, oatmeal, onions and spices, then all the ingredients are boiled together for about three hours. Traditionally, Haggis is served with turnips, mashed potatoes and a small amount of whiskey.
There are plenty of people who eat insects as food, from the Thais to the Tanzanians. Insects are considered to be a nutritious source of protein. The little grasshoppers are deep-fried in oil and then eaten like a main dish. They taste kinda like chips.