10 WTF Foods Around the World that Aren’t Weird to Locals
1. Fried Brain Sandwich
Largely a dish of the past, these used to be popular in the Central United States until mad cow disease became a concern. Although people still eat them, serving brain from a cow that is over 30 months old at slaughter is no longer legal in the United States.
Ant larvae harvested from the roots of the agave plant, these are considered to be a delicacy in Mexico. In fact, they are sometimes even referred to as “insect caviar.” It is said that they taste like butter, but slightly nutty.
A northern Swedish dish that consists of fermented Baltic herring, it is usually sold in cans. While they are being shipped, the cans sometimes bulge due to the ongoing fermentation. Recently, a study in Japan found that surstromming releases the most putrid odor of any food in the world. Somehow it makes sense that it’s usually eaten outdoors.
4. Casu Marzu
Coming to us from Sardinia, this dish is best described as a sheep milk cheese containing live insect larvae. The scariest part? Although the larvae are only about 8 mm long they can launch themselves up to 15 cm (or 6 inches) when disturbed. Bon appétit!
5. Tuna Eyeball
Fairly cheap, these can be found in most Japanese grocery stores for about 1 USD. It tastes something like squid and should be boiled prior to consumption. Once again, don’t forget to season.
The Farsi name of this dish literally translates to “head and hoof” and for good reason, as these are the central ingredients used to prepare it. While the main ingredient is cow feet, the head and stomach also contribute.
Considered a delicacy in Cambodia, it is said that fried tarantula first became popular during the food shortages under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. After Pol Pat was ousted though, the fried tarantulas stuck around and Cambodians today eat them like candy.
To make this Scottish meal all you need is a sheep. First, take out the heart, liver, and lungs. Then boil them in the stomach for about three hours. Don’t forget the salt.
9. Puffin Heart
The puffin is a species of Auk that inhabits the northern hemisphere and its heart is considered a delicacy in Iceland. The next time you see a cute little puffin on the side of the road, just try to imagine yourself snapping its neck and ripping out its innards. Heartless.
Generally found on Mopane trees (hence the name), this caterpillar is an important source of protein for millions of people in Africa. Typically they are dried out and eaten as a crispy snack.
About the Author: David Duran is a Brooklyn-based luxury, hospitality, culinary, and overall freelance travel writer who contributes to such publications as Fodor's, Travel + Leisure, Destinations Weddings & Honeymoon, and Caribbean Travel + Life, among others. When not traveling 20-25 days a month for his work, he spends his free time planning more travel! To read some of his work, check out his online portfolio, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @mrdavidduran.