World’s Most Bizarre Foods

Posted on October 7, 2011 by

Sheeps brains, bulls testicles, chicken feet…. these are just some of the most bizarre foods I’ve had. Growing up in Asia, I’ve never had problems chowing down pig’s intestines or chicken liver. Some of these foods may sound bizarre or even nasty to most Westerners, but they’re just traditional stuff I grew up eating. Suffice to say, I’ve got a tough stomach and am always game to try anything that moves. If you’re brave enough, come join me on this journey to discover the world’s most bizarre. foods.

World’s Most Bizarre Foods


It may sound obvious, but the vast majority of seafood that people eat is dead. But this isn’t the case with sannakji. This Korean dish consists of a nakji octopus cut into pieces and served straight out of the kitchen. The creature is still alive and can often be seen squirming on the plate.

Typically seasoned with sesame oil, the sannakji should be chewed thoroughly before swallowing, as the suction cups on the octopus’ arms are still active and can represent a choking hazard. This dish can be found in numerous seafood restaurants in Seoul.

worlds most bizarre foodsFlickr photo by tomcensani


Fugu is the Japanese term for pufferfish, a fish that swells up into a spherical shape as a defence mechanism, fugu can be baked or fried. However, the most popular way of serving it is sashimi – where it is sliced extremely thinly and served raw along with separate bowls of miso soup and rice.

Regardless of how you choose to eat it, it’s best to eat fugu at a restaurant as opposed to trying to prepare it at home. This is because parts of the fish contain tetrodotoxin, a toxin that can be potentially fatal, with the preparation of the dish strictly controlled by the law in Japan. Only those chefs who have undergone training are allowed to prepare it, so it’s a good idea to eat this dish at reputable establishments.

Fugu is the only food that the country’s emperor is not allowed to eat as it is thought to be too risky. But for the daredevils, it could be an exciting and thrilling experience!

Little FUGU - 河豚Flickr image by Jim

Giant bullfrog

Frogs’ legs are a well-known element of French cuisine, but have you ever considered eating the whole creature? This is certainly the case in Namibia, with the consumption of an entire giant bullfrog considered some sort of a delicacy.

Although most of its toxic organs are not eaten, the fact that giant bullfrogs have poisonous skin means that they can still be dangerous to eat. They are therefore typically not harvested until after the rainy season as the creature’s toxin levels usually mellow out at this time.

However, if you eat it before the season or inadvertently sample the wrong parts you may experience oshiketakata, a temporary kidney failure that will require immediate medical attention, so ensure that you only go to a trustworthy restaurant for this dish.

Flickr photo by avlxyz

Donkey and sheep genitalia

Alternatively, you may want to consider visiting Guo Li Zhuang for some truly bizarre cuisine. This Chinese company has several restaurants in Beijing, China, which specialise in dishes prepared from the genitalia of a range of male animals, including donkey, ox, water-buffalo and sheep.

Many of the dishes on the menu are given poetic names, such as The Essence of the Golden Buddha and Phoenix Rising. The Chinese believe that consumption of such body parts will help with a number of medical ailments.

Ox penis – Flickr photo by pinguino

Guinea pigs

In many countries, they are viewed as a humble household pet, but in Peru the guinea pig is somewhat of a national delicacy. Especially popular in the Andean region of the South American country, the animal is roasted and served in a dish known as cuy chactado.

The creatures are grown to a larger size than their household pet cousins and can form a main meal in their own right although most of the time, they’re also featured in the pachamanca. This banquet of meats, which can also include beef, pork, vegetables and herbs, is cooked underground on a bed of heated stones. Typically only prepared for festivals or to celebrate special occasions, this could prove the ideal way for you to sample some authentic cuisine!

Flickr photo by Phillie Whitehouse

Fried spiders

Spend some time in Cambodia and you’ll probably get the chance to try fried spiders. This delicacy is particularly popular in Skuon, a town that is around 50 miles north of the capital Phnom Penh, and the arachnids you eat are specially bred in underground holes before being cooked in oil.

Often served with garlic and salt, the spiders are fried until their legs are stiff. The spiders are said to taste similar to cod and chicken and have mostly a crunchy texture. The abdomen, in contrast, is soft and has a brown paste that consists of organs, eggs and excrement. While some people choose to avoid eating this part of the creature, others see it as a delicacy.

The dish is not only eaten for its taste, but locals believe it has many medicinal properties and can help to relieve asthma, back pain and other ailments.

Flickr photo by Paul Mannix

Pig’s blood cake

One popular snack you’ll find in Taiwan’s street markets is pig’s blood cake. Made from sticky rice and pig’s blood, this delicacy is served on a wooden stick and eaten in the same way as an ice cream or lollipop.

In other parts of Asia like Singapore and Malaysia, pig’s blood is often made into tofu-like cubes and cooked in soups, along with other pig’s organs like intestines and stomach. It is believed to be good for health, replenishing your body’s lack of blood.

Flickr photo by Charles Haynes 

Snake wine

If you’re seeking a drink to match the unusual food on your plate, snake wine could well tick all the boxes. This alcoholic beverage not only has snake blood dissolved into it but is also bottled with one of the creatures inside it.

Thought to have many medicinal qualities, the rice wine-based drink is often advertised as helping to cure hair loss and farsightedness, while it is reported that it can also help to improve virility.

Popular throughout south-east Asia, snake wine is especially drunk inVietnam and southern China.

Flickr photo by Paul Brockmeyer


These insects are particularly popular in Uganda and Thailand, and while they can be cooked before consumption they can also be eaten raw. Often found at local markets, you’ll find them sold with their wings and legs attached, although some do not choose to eat these parts of the body.

In the Middle East, however, grasshoppers are boiled in hot water and salted before being left in the sun to dry out. In Thailand, these creatures are usually deep-fried to crunchy richness.

Which of these have you tried? Any other suggestions? 

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

32 Responses to “World’s Most Bizarre Foods”

  1. Adam October 7, 2011 6:44 pm #


  2. Brett October 7, 2011 7:14 pm #

    I've had a couple of these, but there are a few I'm not sure I could get through. Especially the spiders I think!

  3. Josh Aggars October 7, 2011 8:30 pm #

    And there I was about to go and have a spot of lunch! I was fine until the bull frogs.

    Things that I've had that I'd add to that list and recommend as being nice are lambs brains (look like colliflower), bulls cock and bulls intestines (bit gritty though).

    Great post Nellie.

    • Nellie November 5, 2011 6:48 pm #

      ooh yes I've tried lamb brains and they're not too bad right? Taste quite abit like tofu pudding – soft, tender and quite plain tasting. Have yet to try bulls cock and intestines yikes, might be a bit too hard to stomach! Where did you try them?

  4. katy October 8, 2011 3:41 am #

    We love this post! Pig's blood cake and snake wine — never knew it existed!
    Crazy! Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Amanda October 9, 2011 2:35 am #

    I don't think I'd have the stomach for most of these things… I might try cuy and some deep-fried bugs (though probably not those spiders), but the rest of it? I think I'll pass!

  6. Nancy $ Shawn Power October 9, 2011 3:41 am #

    Yeah, don't know if we'll be having our grilled cheese sandwiches any time soon.

    Definitely could not stomach any of those dishes.

    But thanks.

    Nancy & Shawn

  7. Lash October 9, 2011 4:33 am #

    Wow, Nellie! You certainly rounded up some bizarre international foods! A few I didn't know about, like the whole giant bullfrog. I've always considered myself a pretty adventurous eater, but I don't think I could eat ANY of these! (except fugu, which I've eaten in Japan. No flavor whatsoever,w hich made it seem rather useless to eat, esp. since it's extremely expensive) Hmph- so much for my theory that I'm adventurous with cuisines! lol Lash

  8. Kieu October 9, 2011 10:38 am #

    Wow, those are some serious bizarre eats. Hoping to check the first off our list when we visit Seoul next May during our first RTW. I'll try the donkey penis before I touch any fried spiders. Lol

    Most bizarre dish I've had has got to be tiet canh vit — raw duck blood poured over cooked duck meat served with lime wedges and Vietnamese rice cracker. It's a traditional Vietnamese "bar food".

  9. Huw October 25, 2011 6:22 pm #

    The Welsh delicacy of Laverbread (made from sea weed) seems quite tame in comparison

    • Nellie Huang October 28, 2011 11:20 pm #

      Oh yes I’ve tried laverbread, it was just abit peculiar but tasted not too bad. :)

    • Nellie November 5, 2011 6:43 pm #

      ha! I've tried the laverbread and it may look a bit odd but tastes pretty good actually – but you're right, it's way too tame to be on this list.

  10. Nellie November 5, 2011 6:44 pm #

    haha Lash, maybe you'll change your mind when you see them on the road. Deep-fried grasshoppers don't taste too bad actually. Blood cakes taste exactly like tofu, while snake wine seriously have the same flavor as most Chinese liquor. In this list, I like the roasted guinea pig the most – crispy, cruncy and flavorful!

  11. Tour Guide NZ November 7, 2011 12:08 pm #

    I will go for Fried Spiders :P .. Who likes to have giant bullfrogs here? Just wondering, how many people like it? :|

  12. Tobias November 17, 2011 4:03 am #

    Haven't tried any of these. But i did try both balut (duck egg with embryo in) and betamax (pig blood on a stick) in the philippines. Oh, and we have surströmming in Sweden, which is fermented herring.
    I guess there's bizarre foods everywhere…

    • Nellie Huang November 22, 2011 2:33 am #

      Brilliant – I didn’t try the balut when I was in the Philippines, I think that was my limit. Not a fan of herring either. My favorite bizarre foods are probably the roasted guinea pig and deep-friend grasshoppers.

  13. Vicky April 4, 2012 12:38 am #

    Ewww, but they're all so slimy! Definitely couldn't go anywhere near that top one or the toads. Think the guinea pig would be my top choice – if I had to!

  14. Zara April 4, 2012 12:43 am #

    I am in Ecuador right now and see the roasted guinea pig everywhere. I am thinking I should try it as it's part of the cultural experience but I can't get past the fact that they are so cute and you see all their body shape in the place. It's so much easier when it's a steak or a "slice" of something. I know it's still the same and kinda hypocrit, but the phsycological factor counts a lot when putting something inside your mounth!..

  15. Lou Morris May 3, 2012 1:41 pm #

    Whoah! I hope this article won't cross my mind again esp. when I'm eating. lol. But that's really fun to read, I enjoyed knowing the world's most bizarre foods. They really are!

  16. House Removals May 11, 2012 8:31 pm #

    OMG..more than the half of the above shown foods made my stomach start rebelling :D haha My man is a pilot and he has told me that the weirdest meals he ever had were in the continet of Asia, as your accounted meals proves it- Korea, Japan and China are leaders in that, but there are some other freaky combinations that I could never even think of! I am still staring at the pictures! Wow

  17. секс магазин May 31, 2012 4:11 pm #

    I have a suggestion.This blood meal and fried frogs can be next combo menu in McDonalds :D

    • Nellie May 31, 2012 5:21 pm #

      Aha! It just might. ;) We\’re traveling through Asia now, and I\’ve just tried deep-friend scorpions (still wriggling before they were put in the boiling oil), worms and grasshoppers. Blood puddings are quite the norm back at home in Singapore and Spain (both countries where I\’m most familiar with) – they taste pretty good!

  18. @thecrazypollo May 31, 2012 10:43 pm #

    SO TASTY…I just avoid the giant frogs the rest ITS OK :)

  19. Mustafa June 17, 2012 4:57 am #

    Darn, who eats that, really!!

  20. Asthon September 17, 2012 7:36 pm #


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  22. vintage hermes January 11, 2013 7:21 pm #

    The creature is still alive and can often be seen squirming on the plate.

  23. Jim March 31, 2013 10:26 am #

    Yep, these are some bizarre foods. I have tried sheep genitalia, not that bad. Tried them grilled.

  24. Luke Harrelson April 5, 2013 12:35 am #

    Forget the word "bizarre". Those dishes are downright exotic. The funny thing is, I don't think they look that odd to the local people that eat them regularly.

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  26. Kelly Martin May 5, 2014 12:19 pm #

    The pigs blood cake I love, my aunt made it for me and now I'm hooked as for the rest of these crazy eats. I like weird stuff so I've got to try them all (even the spiders =P )


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