Why you should care
Because strange can be delightfully tasty.
There are some really strange foods out there — peculiar to a palate unfamiliar with the ingredients (worms, anyone?), or odd because the novelty nosh is all about the strange factor (smoking cereal balls, for example). The following curious bites from around the world have been taste-tested by OZY, and all received a thumbs-up for deliciousness, as well as a capital Q in the quirky department.
When you think of dining out in Quebec, the first food likely to come to mind? Poutine. But a tiny hamlet here is serving up something much more controversial: seal burgers. (The chef has received death threats.) Even more eyebrow-raising is the burger’s mischievous moniker, Phoque Bardot Burger (look up the English pronunciation for the French word phoque). And it’s topped with foie gras, for goodness’ sake. How does it taste? Like duck … no, veal … no, tuna … or is it steak and liver? But is it good enough to justify the hefty price tag?
If you could enjoy a sweet treat that lets you blow smoke rings, wouldn’t you? Dragon’s Breath is a liquid nitrogen-infused dessert that turns your mouth into a steam machine. Imported from South Korea, each rainbow-colored, marble-size cereal-like ball is icy to the touch. Pop them in your mouth and let the foodtainment begin. Before you know it, you’ll be exhaling through your nose to create the dragonlike resemblance for which the snack is named. Want to find out what they taste like? Head to California.
Juan José Aniceto Cueva isn’t your typical master chef. At international food conferences he dons Amazonian garb, paints his face with intricate indigenous designs and cooks up some seriously tasty smoked chontacuros. Smoked worms may not sound appealing, but one bite of these juicy, buttery gems will change your mind. Really. After nine years in the Amazon rain forest, Aniceto is serving up ancestral cuisine — like yuca soup, leaf-steamed tilapia and casave — to show that it’s not just a novelty, it’s delicious.
The thought of munching on intestines, eyeballs or other internal bits of creatures can make many squeamish. But in Norway you can savor an odd-sounding dish that, for roughly four months of the year, is the tastiest thing on local menus: the tongues of an iconic North Atlantic fish. These little fleshy pillows bursting with fine fishy flavor and served up sizzling hot help fill not only the bellies of locals but also the wallets of students who cut the tongues to make money for school. Try them fried in duck fat, with just a dusting of flour. #nomnomnom
Tequila drinkers are no strangers to the worm in the bottle. In Laos, they take plunking critters into their booze a step further, straight into an oversize glass jug filled with clear rice whiskey and a gaggle of plump Chinese beetles at the bottom. In fact, throughout Asia, you can find beetles, snakes, scorpions, geckos and all manner of creepy-crawlies embedded in alcohol — and with varying medicinal promises attached. Hair loss? Hemorrhoids? Take a swig, pass to your mate and hope for the best. Because that snake in the bottle might still have life in it yet.
More Weird Eats
Weirdest Ice Cream Flavors Ever? At this Sydney shop, you can wrap your tongue around ice cream with bizarre flavors like taro, tomato, lemon tea and tofu, black sesame and lychee. Top it off with marshmallows, popcorn or fairy floss. Yum … we think.
Best-Ever Bleeding Veggie Burger A magic ingredient makes this plant-based burger look and taste like the real thing: thick, chewy, meaty, slightly tangy.
Sexy Food in Cape Town The food in this South African café is all about awakening your “internal microbiome, where all uninhibited sexiness originates.” So what kind of naughty nosh is that exactly?
Beef and Pasta Cocktails Yes, carnivores, cocktails infused with beef broth, bacon or eggs are available to sip on, through a spaghetti straw. Delizioso!
Duck Poké No, it’s not about poking a duck. The Parisians have put their special touch — duck — on the Hawaiian raw-fish-and-rice bowl, and et voilà, poké is French. The verdict? “Goddamn delicious.”
Tell us: What’s the strangest food you’ve tried and actually liked? Share in the comments below.