One of the most interesting aspects of travelling is getting the opportunity to try the cuisines from around the world. Sometimes, not all foods that we come across appeal to our taste, but they definitely appeal to the taste buds of people who eat them. That is why some of them may be considered by some people as bizarre foods that are hard to swallow. To give you a taste of what is considered as bizarre foods by westerners, we have compiled a short list of the most unusual foods that you may come across when travelling.
Considered as pests in most parts of the world, these speedy insects are a steady part of the diet in many Asian countries. There are even farms in China that are breeding millions of cockroaches a year for human consumption. It is the first time in human history that insects have been bred at such a large scale in a confined indoor space. Deep fried in oil, cockroaches are one of the most popular snacks in Asia. Their popularity is so great that they even have their own slot game, Las Cucas Locas.
Bird’s Nest Soup
Another bizarre dish which is particularly prized in China due to the rarity of the nests and exquisite flavour. The nests are created by edible-nest swiftlets using solidified saliva. These edible nests are listed as one of the most expensive animal products consumed by people. Depending on the grading of the nests, their price can go up to about $2,000 per kilogram. When dissolved in water, the nests have a gelatinous texture which is used for a soup or a sweet soup. This delicacy is prepared by placing the nest in a ceramic container with minimal addition of water and sugar or salt and double steamed.
Roasted Guinea Pig
One of the dishes that you must try when in Peru is the cuy (pronounced “kwee”), which is a roasted guinea pig. Better known as a domesticated pet in the West, this rodent mammal has been a staple in the Andean diet for almost 5,000 years. It is so popular that it even has its own national holiday which is celebrated on the second Friday of October. They require little space for breeding and a simple diet of vegetable scraps, which makes them ideal to farm. The most common way of cooking is by roasting them whole, with their head, ears, teeth and other parts left intact. They are doused in garlic and salt to make the skin crispier.
San-nakji is a variety of raw dish made with long arm octopus usually found in Korea. The small octopus species is called nakji in Korean which is sometimes translated as baby octopus due to the relatively small size compared to the giant octopus. The octopus is killed before being cut in small pieces, but the nerve activity in the tentacles make them appear ‘live’. Although less common, you can find places where a live octopus is eaten whole.