Dining

10 of the Wackiest Foods to Try From Around the World

No don’t be fooled, we’re not talking about donuts, ice cream, and rainbows here. Although these donuts were delicious and we might have had one… or two… okay three each.

Being from the United States, I would say that our cuisine is typically pretty tame. About the “craziest” we have here is a raw spicy tuna roll and even then some people are squeamish at the thought of that.

I guess you could also count those ghost peppers that some try to destroy themselves with too. But I’ll leave that for you to find on YouTube.
Trust me, it’s not pretty.

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Sorry ghost pepper, I’ll pass.

In this duo, I am usually the one that is set to experiment with food, whereas Logan leans more towards the safe choices (I blame his bad experience with eating Thai Chicken during the Bula festival in Fiji).

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Fijian Market we visited during the Bula Festival

Sometimes trying new delicacies has been an awesome experience… I can still recall the first time I tried squid and eel (that sauce though…).

Other times, it was downright terrible… Cue the time I had food poisoning from some bad airline curry (yeah, it smelled a little funky) only 3 hours in on our flight to Osaka. Did I mention I was next to the guy who was 12 beers in and puking every 8.3 minutes? (No, it wasn’t Logan. Yes, I did try to get him water. No, he didn’t want it and kept drinking beer. A mystery I’ll never solve.)

And can we all take a moment of silence for the time that I ordered TWO of what I thought was Yakitori but ended up being what can only be best explained as “cheese on a stick?” R.I.P. 2400¥, sorry Logan. 

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The most expensive slice of cheese ever.

Exotic, strange, acceptable or not; we all live through a series of cultural customs and boundaries when it comes to the foods we eat. We’ve asked some of our fellow traveling friends to share some of the weirdest, craziest, yet at times, tempting foods that they have tried around the world. Here’s what they have served up for you!


1. Tako Tamago

Location: Nishiki Market – Kyoto, Japan

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Photo by Logan & Kallsy, Pages of Travel

Street vendors are often known for their interesting local cuisine, while walking through the Nishiki Market in Kyoto we couldn’t help but be intrigued. These Tako Tamago are quite literally a glazed tiny octopus with a cooked quail egg shoved in the head. Upon reluctantly biting in you are surrounded with a chewy yet slightly sweet and salty flavor. It was definitely worth the experience but we didn’t find ourselves pigging out on them.

 -Logan & Kallsy, Pages of Travel


2. Grilled Sun-dried Sting Ray Fins

Location: Imanishi Japanese Kitchen – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Photo by Raymond, The Travelling Foodie

“This reminded me of the typical Asian dried seafood snacks. The sting ray fins were crunchy and the flavor enhanced with the grill. I really enjoyed this as an appetizer as it’s really just like eating chips, and pairs well with beer. Imanishi was No 4 in Toronto Life’s best new restaurants in 2016.”

-Raymond, The Travelling Foodie 

Get more food inspiration at Raymond’s Instagram here!


3. Tofu with Egg of a Thousand Years

Location: Paris, France (but it is traditionally a Chinese dish)

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Photo by Victoria Yore, Follow Me Away

“We ate this dish at a Chinese restaurant in Paris. When we saw it arrive at our table, we really weren’t sure what to think. It looked really strange and we crossed our fingers as to the taste. Turns out, it was delicious! It was yummy soft tofu topped with egg that had been marinated for 3+ months. We would totally eat it again!”

-Victoria, Follow Me Away

Follow Terrence & Victoria’s gorgeous photography and their travels here!


4. Deep Fried Scorpions

Location: Beijing, China

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Photo by Thomas & Sheena, Chasing a Plate

“Seahorses, star-fish, hairy spiders the size of your palm, baby sharks, centipedes, snakes- every type of creepy crawly imaginable is available on a stick for your eating pleasure at Donghuamen night market in Beijing. We scanned each stall to look for the smallest, most benign looking morsel to eat. The baby scorpions looked pretty harmless compared to the rest! What were they like? Crunchy, buttery and actually damn delicious- they tasted a bit like KFC! It’s been 10 years since we poked these little suckers into our mouths and nowadays when we travel, we eat everything, but when it comes to weird, deep fried baby scorpions top our list.”

Thomas & Sheena, chasing a plate

Follow Thomas & Sheena’s epic food and travel adventures around the world here!


5. Kopi Luwak (also known as Cat Poop Coffee)

Location: Speicherstadt Kaffeerösterei, Hamburg, Germany

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Photo by Colleen, Travel Meets Happy

“You may have heard of Kopi Luwak coffee from the movie The Bucket List. Jack Nicholson buys and drinks this coffee, because it’s the most expensive in the world, until he finds out how it’s made… A civet (a small wild cat in Asia) eats the coffee cherries for the fleshy fruit around the coffee bean. This actually upsets the civet’s stomach and they pass the bean rather quickly. People will painstakingly hunt for the remains left by cat. They clean the beans and roast them to make the delicacy known as Kopi Luwak coffee.

The coffee was about 11 Euros for a full press, which I shared with a friend. I thought it tasted like normal coffee, a little acidic for my taste, but still a decent cuppa. Would I try it again? Probably not, but I think it was worth the experience. Plus, I like being able to say that I tried Cat Poop Coffee!”

-Colleen, Travel Meets Happy

Colleen is a digital nomad who quit her corporate job a year ago to pursue an unconventional lifestyle. You can read more about Kopi Luwak and her time in Hamburg on her blog here.


6. Hong Kong Style Lobster Mountain

Location: Fishman Lobster Clubhouse – Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

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Photo by Raymond, The Travelling Foodie

“This is the BEST lobster I’ve had! That’s why this place is very popular, and they also have so many other seafood dishes like crab, oysters, eel, and more. Their lobsters are always flavourful and do not stick to the shell, which is very important! They have other sauces for the mountain but this is my favorite because it also has the anchovies, which goes so well with the lobster roe fried rice.”

Raymond, The Travelling Foodie 

Tempted by this dish? I know we were. Take a look at Raymond’s food blog here!


7. Live Octopus or Nakji (낙지)

Location: South Korean staff dinners

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Photo by Hayley, Four Dirty Feet

“Nakji is a small octopus sliced up while alive and served immediately. Although the octopus is technically dead, nerve reactions cause the tentacles to squirm, making it appear to be alive. We have actually only had this dish during school staff dinners as it is considered a delicacy and isn’t really something we wish to have everyday. The octopus is served with sesame seeds and a spicy sauce. It doesn’t have a particularly strong flavour and is rather chewy. The strangest part of the whole experience is having to chew rather quickly as the suction cups on the tentacles grasp onto your tongue or the inside of your cheek while you eat it (Eeek)!”

Hayley, Four Dirty Feet

Want to learn more about South Korea and the amazing street food and dishes to get there? Check out Steven and Hayley’s vlogs on YouTube here!  


8.Uni (Sea Urchin Gonads)

Location: Kinosaki Onsen, Japan

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Pictured far left. Photo by Logan & Kallsy, Pages of Travel

Upon first glance uni almost looks like an orange animal tongue which, of course, will immediately put some people off. However, uni is considered a luxury in Japanese culture and has a rich, creamy texture. Unlike what you would normally expect, it’s not at all “fishy.” We were warned by many people to steer clear of it because of it’s pungent taste but were pleasantly surprised at how mellow it was upon trying it fresh at a ryokan we were staying in.

-Logan & Kallsy, Pages of Travel


9. Seasoned Flies

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

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Photo by Gemma, Two Scots Abroad

“Craig and I had just over 24 hours in Bangkok to kill with two goals. One – party on Koh San Road. Two – eat bugs! Being the go – getters that us Scots are, we accomplished both, and had a headache to prove it. There were plenty of PR staff selling giant scorpions to backpackers on Khao San Road but we bypassed them opting for the more local option.

Luckily we stumbled across a stall selling a variety of our winged friends, flies! The server scooped them in a bag and I squealed to the fascination of a little girl who was also buying some snacks too. The fly itself tasted salty (seasoning) and the texture was dry with the wings crumpling apart in my mouth. A local passerby stopped to observe and have a laugh, we offered him the rest and he munched them down like a bag of crisps (chips). I think I’ll stick to cereal bars for snacks and suggesting temple visits as one of the best things to do in Bangkok!”

-Gemma, Two Scots Abroad 

Gemma and Craig, full time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Check in at Two Scots Abroad for travel tips, quips, and pics that please. Go on, MAKE TRAVEL HAPPEN. 


10. Kibbeh Nayyeh, Sheep Balls, & Ghamme oh my!

Location: Lebanon

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Photo by Lena, Happily Ever Adventures

“Bassam and I are both GIANT foodies, but surprisingly, I’ve never eaten anything too strange. Just the usual strange foods that I think most travelers have tried like escargot and chocolate covered crickets. Bassam usually stays away from weird foods too, but when we are in Lebanon, Bassam’s home country, he will eat anything! One of his absolute favorite dishes, which I think is super weird, is called kibbeh nayyeh. It’s RAW minced lamb or beef, served with some mint leaves and olive oil. It’s prepared by being pounded, which people say makes it okay that it’s raw.

The other weird thing Bassam will eat in Lebanon are sheep balls. Those are served cooked, usually fried. Bassam’s grandma told him when he was younger that eating sheep balls will help him grow tall and strong. Well, Bassam is 6’2″ so I guess it worked?! Finally, Bassam used to eat this one all the time until he knew what it was made out of. It’s called ghamme. It’s sheep intestines stuffed with rice and meat and served with sheep tongue and skull in a stew. GROSS!!!!”

-Lena, Happily Ever Adventures 

Want to learn how you can find adventure in every day life? Check out Bassam & Lena’s blog here.


So, what do you think? Would you try any of these? What are some of the interesting dining experiences you’ve had?

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No we're not talking about donuts here! Check out some of the wackiest foods from around the world brought to you by fellow travelers! www.pagesoftravel.org

31 Comments

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    November 9, 2016 at 8:47 PM

    Great post! So many strange things to try. I think the sheep balls and flies would definitely be a no go for us though. URGH!!

    • Reply
      Hayley
      November 9, 2016 at 8:48 PM

      Didn’t realise I had to put my name in, ha ha ha!!

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 9, 2016 at 9:05 PM

      Thank you! I couldn’t agree more. Not sure I could stomach those myself either!

  • Reply
    mohitarts
    November 14, 2016 at 1:30 AM

    So weird dishes you tried on this trail…..the most attracting was the huge lobster’s mountain……

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 14, 2016 at 7:54 PM

      What a feast right!? That lobster mountain looked delicious to us too!

      • Reply
        mohitarts
        November 14, 2016 at 9:12 PM

        Ya that could easily feed a group of 4 or even more

  • Reply
    alicelaali
    November 14, 2016 at 5:14 AM

    Scorpions and flies…. No, thank you! But also the moving octopus’ tentacles. And the Cat Poop coffee, but that only because I’m not huge fan of coffee, with a big glass of milk probably I will try it.
    I think I would give a try for the other options, especially Tako Tamago and the Libanese dishes (maybe not the sheep’s intestine…..), that look really yummy to me 🙂

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 14, 2016 at 7:53 PM

      So interesting to hear what people would and would not try! The Tako Tamago was very strange but worth a shot. I believe we had two each and were set. 🙂

  • Reply
    makiely
    November 14, 2016 at 5:15 AM

    Oh my I can’t do crazy food – after similar experience as Logan after food in street stall in Pakistan. Love the story though!

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 14, 2016 at 7:52 PM

      Not you too! Logan and you would get along great with some “normal” foods then! 😉

  • Reply
    SpendLifeTraveling
    November 14, 2016 at 10:11 AM

    One of the things I love most when traveling is trying out local food… I don’t think I would be brave enough to try all of these though! 😉 And I am not sure how I feel about the stingray fins since many types of stingrays are on the endangered species list… 🙁

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 14, 2016 at 7:50 PM

      We love trying all of the local foods too, although I agree… some I just couldn’t handle! I couldn’t eat the sting ray fins either.

  • Reply
    nomadicfoot
    November 14, 2016 at 12:35 PM

    This foods looks delicious but need a brave heart to have. I wish will have at time of when i get a chance to have these food.

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 14, 2016 at 7:49 PM

      Completely agree! Some of these I couldn’t do, but most are very intriguing. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren
    November 14, 2016 at 7:10 PM

    Haha – I find all of these so gross! I’m never really able to try any “weird” foods from around the world because I’m vegan and they all tend to involve weird animal parts or bugs or things of that nature. I would try the tofu without the egg on it…but then it would just be plain ol’ tofu and that’s not that crazy 😉

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 14, 2016 at 7:49 PM

      Lauren, I completely understand what you’re saying. I’m not a vegan but was a vegetarian for 8 years (I now eat fish/shrimp) so I can hardly stomach the idea of most of these as well! Tofu is so delicious!

  • Reply
    mun.neha@gmail.com
    November 14, 2016 at 8:56 PM

    World is full of not just weird food but weird cuisines as well, isn’t it? BTW, did you try those scorpions or finish that lobster mountain? Just curious

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 14, 2016 at 9:33 PM

      Very true! You’d have to ask Chasing a Plate and The Travelling Foodie! They contributed these two items, but I’m not sure I could finish that lobster mountain on my own. 🙂

  • Reply
    Larry and Jaala
    November 15, 2016 at 3:36 AM

    Haha, this made my wife and I laugh. Combined we have only tried 2 out of 10 on your list… we need to step up our wacky food game!

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 15, 2016 at 7:02 PM

      Glad you two enjoyed. We need to as well! Which two have you tried? 🙂

  • Reply
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    November 16, 2016 at 9:01 PM

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  • Reply
    2traveldads
    November 17, 2016 at 1:04 AM

    Oh no, not the century eggs!!! I can’t say that I enjoyed anything about the dish and was surprised at how many say they love them… Varying tastes, I suppose.

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 17, 2016 at 7:22 PM

      Haven’t tried that either! You are so right, tastes definitely vary.

  • Reply
    Colleen
    November 17, 2016 at 3:46 PM

    So many of those foods I think: How is my life going to be in about 3 hours? LOL It’s part of the experience though right?

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 17, 2016 at 7:21 PM

      100x YES! Sometimes I overthink it so much that I have phantom stomach pains. Definitely true. 😉

  • Reply
    100cobbledroads
    November 17, 2016 at 10:17 PM

    I wouldn’t have the guts to try out these foods, but I do admire the adventurous spirit of those who do! Great compilation 🙂

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 18, 2016 at 10:51 PM

      Completely understandable! We wouldn’t be brave enough for some of these either. 😉

  • Reply
    sudiptode
    November 19, 2016 at 8:24 PM

    Whoa This is seriously awesome post. Pinning this for further use. I have tried the Sea Urchins, scorpions and tofu. Would definitely like to eat the others. But I am saddened to see not even a single Indian dish on the list??? 🙁

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      November 19, 2016 at 9:51 PM

      Thanks so much! I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it and that you’ve tried a few on here as well. We’d love to see an Indian dish on here, maybe if you have a contribution we could do a sequel sometime! 😉

  • Reply
    Greg
    December 29, 2016 at 7:55 PM

    No way could I eat gonads… the sound of it makes me want to vom. But I’d try that lobster dish no problem.

  • Reply
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