Nasty foods around the world: disgusting, gross, or just simply different from what you know? The way we prepare our food varies greatly across the globe; while traveling, some persons will seize any opportunity to try new dishes, whereas others might simply say ‘yuck!’ and move on. Gather your courage and join us on a culinary trip of nasty foods.
You have been warned! We’ll locate the most revolting dishes to prove that one man’s waste is another man’s delight, and how innovative humans can be when food is scarce. Ready? Prepare to be disgusted!
Most Nasty Foods in the World
1. Casu Marzu (Maggot Cheese) – Italy
Casu Marzu literally means “maggot cheese,” and deserves to be known as the world’s grossest cheese.
This Sardinian delicacy was prepared with Pecorino cheese, which can be a natural maggot breeding habitat. The top of the sheep cheese block was removed as if it were a lid, allowing flies to deposit their eggs inside.
Cheese fly larvae would burrow in order to digest the lipids. This process would be so sophisticated that the cheese would have a mushy, liquid texture and would be almost completely decomposed.
It’s unclear if it was the intense smell or the terror of live maggots hopping onto the eater’s tongue that caused individuals to cry.
2. Hákarl (Decomposed Shark Carcass) – Iceland
This is a decaying shark carcass that tastes and smells like pungent cheese. The Vikings devised it during a time when they needed to store as much food as possible. They created a preservation process that is still utilized today.
Greenland shark is extremely hazardous to humans if left untreated. As a result, the villagers bury it beneath rocks and sand, which force the harmful fluids (uric acid and trimethylamine oxide) away.
The flesh is fermented for 6 to 12 weeks before being dug up and hung to dry for several months.
The first interaction with hákarl is a full-fledged assault on the nostrils from a foul odor. Tourists who dare to try it should hold their breath and try to avoid the urge to puke at the taste of one of the most rotten things on the globe.
3. Balut – Philippines & Vietnam
Balut is a partially formed chicken or duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten straight from the shell.
This Vietnamese and Filipino delicacy is produced on rare occasions and religious festivals, but it can also be obtained from street sellers – it’s a popular meal among travelers searching for something unusual to tell their friends back home.
Balut is eaten by tapping a hole in the top, slurping out the liquid (flavored with salt and vinegar), and then crunching down the bones, feathers, and whatever else is inside, if you can ignore the small duck face inside.
This traditional meal is popular among community beer drinkers and is thought to have aphrodisiac properties. Cheers?
4. Jibachi Senbei -Japan
Do you want something to eat? This new rice cracker is causing quite a stir on the streets of Japan.
A ‘Digger Wasp loving’ group (yep, it exists) collaborated with a local biscuit maker to create the wasp rice snack.
It’s not difficult to make. Wasps are boiled in water, dried, and then mixed into cookie dough.
The finished cookie has a moderate sweet-savory flavor, and the wasps can be mistaken for burnt raisins – but with a bitter, acidic note. As well as wings. Also, legs.
Swedish cuisine is known for many delicious dishes, but Surstromming is an exception.
This fermented Baltic herring is canned and allowed to ferment for several months, resulting in a dish infamous for its putrid smell. It takes a brave soul to attempt a bite of this traditional Swedish fare.
6. Virgin Boy Eggs–China
Don’t be concerned; they are not, as the name implies, roasted children. This incredibly popular Chinese spring dish, particularly popular among Dongyang residents, combines eggs with one important ingredient: the urine of a child, preferably aged 10 or younger.
Buckets of boys’ pee are gathered from local elementary school bathrooms, and the entire cooking procedure takes a full day.
Raw eggs are first steeped and boiled in golden fluid before being cracked and permitted to shimmer for a few hours.
You can buy them from street vendors, but most people make them at home. According to tradition, this unconventional way of frying eggs has health benefits such as better blood circulation, reduced danger of heat stroke, and body reinvigoration.
7. Warthog Anus – Namibia
This one pushed famed chef Anthony Bourdain to his limits, and he was known for eating anything he was dared to. Despite rising to the challenge, he pronounced it the “worst meal of my life.”
If you don’t believe in wasting odd pieces of meat and want to offer warthog anus to your guests, you’ll need to undertake some significant planning.
Pull it off from the carcass with the remaining one-foot intestine connected, then squeeze out all the excrement before putting it on the open fire.
Don’t worry about the ash and dirt; it’s a natural byproduct of the process. This is one meal that you want to be thoroughly cooked, but in order to achieve the pinnacle of gastronomic excellence, it must be al dente and served immediately.
8. Century Egg – China
Hailing from China, the Century Egg (or preserved egg) is not as old as its name suggests, but it still has a bizarre preparation process.
Chicken, duck, or quail eggs are coated in a mixture of clay, salt, quicklime, ash, and rice straw, then allowed to ferment for several weeks or months. The result is a greenish-black, jelly-like egg with a strong ammonia-like aroma that may not be appealing to everyone.
9. Haggis – Scotland
A traditional Scottish dish, Haggis is made from the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep, mixed with onions, suet, spices, and oatmeal. The mixture is then encased in the sheep’s stomach and boiled.
While haggis has its dedicated fans, the combination of ingredients and preparation process might make others hesitant to try it.
10. Cobra Heart–Vietnam
To split open a writhing live snake and try this uncommon Vietnamese delicacy, you must be callous.
Okay, enough with the heart jokes, but why on earth would you eat a beating cobra heart? It appears that man will go to any length to increase his virility. Because caged cobras are so common in Vietnam, many restaurants offer them to patrons.
If you feel they would increase your virility, go for the thicker and shorter ones with a belligerent attitude.
The heart is severed and placed in a shot glass filled with rice wine and snake blood. Bottoms up, sip your drink and feel the throbbing heart pass down your throat. The heart is severed and placed in a shot glass filled with rice wine and snake blood.
And the story is far from over. Your well-meaning Vietnamese host will continue to offer shots, but not in the way you may expect. One is prepared from cobra bile and rice wine, while the other is made entirely of venom.
But don’t be concerned about the venomous one! You can drink it as long as there are no cuts in your mouth. The cobra venom will be processed normally by the stomach, and it will only kill you if it enters the bloodstream directly.
So you can rest assured that every part of the cobra is prepared and served – nothing is wasted. And, given that cobras are an endangered species, this is perhaps some solace.
11. Escamoles – Mexico
Found in Mexico, Escamoles are ant larvae and pupae harvested from the roots of agave plants. Often referred to as “insect caviar,” these tiny creatures are sautéed with butter and spices.
While they are considered a delicacy in some regions, the thought of consuming ant larvae may be a major deterrent for most.
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12. Rocky Mountain Oysters
Contrary to what the name says, Rocky Mountain Oyster is not seafood. This dish features deep-fried bull, pig, or sheep testicles, commonly served at festivals and events in certain parts of the United States and Canada.
Despite their popularity in some regions, the idea of eating animal testicles can be quite unsettling for many.
13. Ptarmigan Shit – Greenland
If you tell somebody in Greenland that he’s eating excrement, they won’t be upset. In fact, they might ask you to join them!
The ptarmigan is a stunning white-bridled game bird. It excretes predigested willow and birch plants, which were an important source of food in certain regions of Greenland when supplies were scarce. Their feces is now considered a delicacy.
Each ptarmigan will poop up to fifty times in one area, making it easy to gather. Urumiit, the Inuit word for the droppings of birds, is gathered in the winter when it is dry as opposed to in the summer when it is gooey and stinky.
It’s fried with chunks of seal meat after being harvested and in rancid seal oil. Traditionally, the women of the home would give a personal touch to the meat by masticating it and then spitting it into the cooking kettle.
The dish was sometimes blended with blood or ptarmigan meat.
14. Tuna Eyeballs
A unique offering in Japan, Tuna Eyeballs are exactly what they sound like—large, uncooked tuna eyeballs. They are typically boiled or steamed and are considered a delicacy in some Japanese regions.
However, the idea of consuming an eyeball might be a bit too much for most.
15. Worm Pretzels – USA
You can’t call yourself a New Yorker unless you’ve had this squiggly nibble (or maybe you can). Wormzels are the latest creation of Gene Rurka, an eco-conscious exotic-food chef and former Explorers Club chairman.
He devised the recipe for the 100th annual Black Tie Gala, which became famous for the odd canapés given each year. He sizzles desiccated earthworms deformed into that specific shape to make these extraordinary pretzels, which he sells in New Jersey.
16. Fried Tarantula – Cambodia
Would you try a new snack if I told you it was high in zinc, folic acid, and protein? Fried tarantulas are said to be good and inexpensive. If you’re curious, you can find them in Cambodian food markets, particularly in Skuon.
Although the feared edible spiders are toxic when alive, they are regarded as a great delicacy when coated in sugar or garlic and deep fried in oil.
This popular tourist attraction is a relatively new occurrence, with sellers reportedly selling up to 100 each day. During the darkest political dictatorship in Cambodian history, however, residents took to eating spiders, which spared many Cambodians from famine.
What about the flavor? It’s described as a cross between crispy chicken and fish. The crispy legs and skin contrast with the gooey interior of the tummy, which not everyone appreciates.
This is most likely due to the presence of organs, eggs, and feces in the brown mixture. Fans, on the other hand, describe the insides as “delicate meat.”
17. Jellied Moose Nose – Canada
This Alaskan delicacy was created by enterprising “wilderness wives” in the 1830s who made the best of whatever their husbands came back with from the hunt.
Nothing was discarded, including the moose’s long, bulbous snout. The hair is removed before cooking, and the rest is cooked with onions and spices.
Pieces of beef are chilled in their own broth, resulting in a jellied treat that may be cut into thin slices and presented.
Although it does not appear attractive, the taste has been characterized as “exploding with interesting flavors,” and the texture ranges from the chewiness of the nasal cartilage to the tenderness of cheek meat.
18. Black Pudding – Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe
Black Pudding is a traditional British and Irish dish cooked with pork blood, pork fat or beef suet, oats or barley, and perfectly spiced with thyme, mint, marjoram, and spices.
Initially, blood from cows and sheep was also used. The nobility only ate back puddling prepared from porpoises, a dolphin-like aquatic marine creature.
In certain regions of England, boiled Black Pudding is eaten as a complete meal with bread or potatoes, while in other parts, like Ireland, a typical full breakfast includes fried or grilled slices.
Recently, unique culinary applications have been developed, such as chunks of this delicacy imitating chocolate chips on top of ice cream in sophisticated restaurants.
19. Chapulines – Mexico
Pest management raised to a gourmet delicacy, these are Mexican grasshoppers, which are frequently described as delectable.
They’re also a nutritious snack that’s far healthier than any of the fattening, calorie-dense, nutrient-deficient alternatives that are commonly consumed nowadays as part of a modern ‘Western’ diet.
Oaxaca, which is famous for the quality and variety of this delicacy, is the finest site to experience them.
Although the grasshoppers are only caught at particular periods of the year, because they are fried with salt, they have an extended shelf life and can be eaten all year.
They’ve been a staple of Mexican cuisine for thousands of years, however, the technique has altered with time. Today’s meals, for example, include lemons and garlic, as well as salt and chile.
Chapulines can be consumed as a dry snack on their own or cooked till wet yet crunchy for use as an ingredient in tacos and burritos. You may even top your huevos rancheros with them.
19. Shiokara – Japan
Just like we have peanuts with our beer, the Japanese enjoy shiokara with their sake. Shiokara is regarded as an acquired taste dating back to the 11th century when food was limited.
This classic dish requires only two ingredients and can be cooked using tuna, crab, salmon, or sweetfish. The most revolting of them is fish pickled in its own viscera and salt. As a result, the paste is a drab brown color.
Because the fermentation process only takes 7 to 10 days, it was simple to replenish. Shiokara was an excellent source of protein, fat, and vitamin D during the winter months when consumed with rice.
In modern times, it can be found at bars, where it is enjoyed for its salty flavor that complements alcohol and encourages you to drink more.
20. Bat Soup – Palau, Thailand, Indonesia
We usually eat foods that are beneficial to our immune systems. However, this Thai delicacy may pose a threat because the main ingredient, the fruit bat, contains a number of potentially fatal infections.
A live bat must be put in boiling water to begin the cooking process.
Isn’t it a piece of cake? It is then spiced with herbs and spices and cooked on low heat. If it emits an odor similar to urine, garlic, onions, chili pepper, or beer might be added to help mask the odor. The flavor is supposed to be similar to chicken.
Bats fans can select from a variety of cooking methods, including grilled, barbecued, deep fried, stews, and stir fry.
21. Witchetty Grub – Australia
Witchetty grubs are almond-flavored “bushmeat” first consumed by Australian Aborigines. When briefly cooked, the exterior crisps up like roasted chicken and the inside has a scrambled egg texture.
When picking your own witchetty grub, remember not to eat the head because they exude a nasty brown liquid as a defense mechanism.
While these 20+ nasty foods may be considered nasty or strange by some, they hold cultural significance and reflect the adventurous spirit of culinary exploration.
Remember, food preferences vary greatly, and what might be considered an irritating taste for some is a cherished delicacy for others.