marcin jucha/ShutterstockTechnically, odori don isn’t served while still alive… but the squid’s muscles and nerves are still active when it’s brought to your table. That means that any soy sauce or salt you sprinkle on top causes the tentacles to squirm around. Apparently, that feeling of the squid moving in your mouth is what makes this such a delicacy in Japan. Check out the 9 rules you must follow while eating Japanese food.
yhleeoci/ShutterstockThese pesky insects are known for the pungent odor they give off, which doesn’t make them very appetizing. Yet in Africa, they’re eaten as a spicy snack sprinkled with salt (don’t worry, the stink glands are removed before consumption). Stinkbugs are also sometimes crushed up and added into salsa in Mexico for a little extra kick.
Jaroslav Cips/ShutterstockPeople can find a reason to fry anything; just go to any state fair to see proof of that. But there’s one thing that might even be worse than fried butter: fried calf brains. It’s something you’ll find on the menu at many Midwest restaurants—especially in St. Louis—and locals swear it’s delicious. However, no amount of grease, breading, and seasoning can cover up the squishy texture. And the knowledge that you’re, you know, eating brains. Makes even the most unappetizing fried fair foods seem tame, doesn’t it?
Fanfo/ShutterstockYour search for the perfect hangover cure is over. As long as you’re willing to eat boiled cow’s feet, that is. Khash is an Armenian soup made by simmering cow’s hooves (and sometimes the stomach as well) with onion, garlic, vinegar, and lemon juice. For centuries, it’s been enjoyed in the morning after a night of partying or over-indulgence as a way to detoxify the body. Check out some more of the weirdest hangover cures from around the world.
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Valentyn Volkov/ShutterstockTired of eating the same thing each night? Put nutria (a.k.a. a large rodent) on the menu; it’s sure to change things up! The meat of these furry beasts, which look similar to beavers, supposedly tastes like dark turkey meat, and it’s often on the menu in Louisiana where it’s common. You can cook it just like you do your favorite Thanksgiving bird and serve over veggies.
Courtesy @villa_orchidea_carloforteEven the most devoted cheese lovers may want to hesitate when it comes to a slice of casu marzu. Known as the most dangerous cheese in the world (it’s been banned by the EU European Food Safety Authority), the Italian delicacy is literally rotten and filled with live maggots. The trick is making sure you crush up the maggots prior to consuming it. Otherwise, they can survive through your digestive tract and live in your stomach—and potentially kill you.
Courtesy @michelluWalk through a Japanese fish market and you’ll likely find a pair of giant eyeballs staring back at you. The tennis ball-sized tuna eyes—which are said to taste like squid—are often braised and served over white or brown rice with a drizzle of soy sauce.
Eddy Tor Channarong/ShutterstockWhen it comes to first impressions, this fruit from Southeast Asia gives off a bad one. Also known as the smelliest fruit in the world, durian has been said to reek like old garbage and it’s even been banned in many public places. The flavor, however, is very sweet and light (similar to a creamsicle), making it a classic love-it-or-hate-it delicacy. Simply slice and eat raw.
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RYUSHI/ShutterstockFamous chef Gordon Ramsay’s thoughts after eating a still-beating cobra heart: “I think I’m going to become vegetarian.” Yet in countries like Vietnam, it’s often consumed by men hoping to improve their virility. Here’s how it works: The cobra is killed usually right on the table in the restaurant in front of diners. You then take a “shot” of rice wine mixed with the snake’s blood and its heart dropped inside. Here are some other seriously strange aphrodisiacs from all around the world.
Rafal Cichawa/ShutterstockThere are a lot of stunning places to visit in Africa with delicious local fare. But there are also areas where the food choices are, well, less desirable. Like the Congo, where bushmeat is popular. The term simply means meat from wild animals (think gorillas, crocodiles, chimpanzees, lemurs, etc.), and while it’s bad for the environment and can spread fatal diseases, it’s often people’s only choice if they don’t want to starve.
Max Khoo/ShutterstockOpen a menu at a Filipino restaurant and you might see “balut” on the menu, which is a hard-boiled duck egg. That sounds innocent enough until you realize the egg had been fertilized and developed for about 16 to 20 days before being cooked. You’re essentially eating a duck fetus, so don’t be surprised if you get a mouthful with a beak and feathers. Why would someone eat this? It’s said to be an aphrodisiac and boost libido.
Keattikorn/ShutterstockForget the peanuts and party mix when it comes to late-night bar food. In Thailand, you’re more likely to find deep fried bamboo worms (also known as rot duan) paired with your drinks. Harvested from bamboo groves, the moth larvae are packed with over 9 grams of protein and numerous vitamins, and, when fried, have a similar texture and taste to a potato chip. These are the most bizarre food combinations people have ever tried.
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Cherry blossom meat
AfriramPOE/ShutterstockDon’t be fooled by the romantic name… it’s actually horse meat. Found on dinner tables in Japan, the meat has higher hemoglobin levels than that of other animals, meaning it turns a much deeper red hue (which explains the cherry blossom name). Not only is horse meat higher in protein than beef, it’s also lower in fat and calories. It can be grilled or served sashimi style with soy sauce for dipping. Just don’t get any ideas about consuming horse meat in the U.S.: it’s one of 12 foods that are illegal in this country.