With Japanese Burger King chains releasing a barmy black burger, the entire world became simultaneously excited and repulsed. There comes a time in every diner’s life when a portion of steak and chips just won’t cut it, and as we all crave a little adventure, why not start with your taste buds?
Catherine Nangle takes a look at some bizarre foods from around the world that are so weirdly intriguing, they’re just begging for you to try them.
In Mexico, the general rule of thumb seems to be that ‘if it runs or flies, it can be eaten’. You know those sweet looking shelled mammals called armadillos? Well, turns out Mexicans love them, with some even keeping them as ‘edible pets’ in case the local supermarket is closed.
Apparently, they taste of high-grained good quality pork (yum). Remember budding armadillo enthusiasts, when tucking in to your burrito, be sure to cook the meat thoroughly – as these little critters are known to carry leprosy.
If you ever find yourself in Cambodia, be sure to tuck into some juicy arachnid legs seasoned with chilli, salt , pepper and crushed garlic. Fried tarantula is actually a delicacy in the country, and these spiders have proven popular amongst tourists and locals alike. It’s said the legs taste like sweeter chicken, while the meat on the body is less flavoursome, and contains a sour brown paste with a combination of spider poo, organs and possibly eggs. We’ll steer clear of that part then.
Watch Gordon Ramsay struggling to keep down tarantula abdomen here:
The popularity of zebra has explodedrecently; and it’s something new to try for the health freaks out there. It has little fat , and is a good low-calorie protein source. All that running around in the planes of the Serengeti has the made the zebra nice and lean, and if you fancy being lean too, this is the meat to go for.
It has only a tenth of the meat that beef has, and is a great source of zinc and vitamin B12. In addition to the health benefits, you can cook it rare and feel like a mighty lion as you aggressively bite into some before the gym. Now that’s motivation.
These little unassuming-looking beans come from East Asia, and are also referred to as ‘the stink bean’. It’s not in their taste that the smell can be discovered – but in what happens after (well, you know). The smell can last post-eating for three days, so don’t burp in anybody’s face after munching these babies – or at least warn your family to adorn gas masks.
They’re not much to eat on their own, but when added to a combination of flavours in Indonesian cooking can be delicious, and they’re a good source of protein. Try them if you’re not ready for the carnivorous stuff yet.
Popular wherever they can grow, edible cacti have a soft yet crunchy texture when cooked. Everyone seems to have their own opinion on what it tastes like, but many describe the taste like green beans or green pepper when prepared. Although at a first glance it looks a little scary, it’s purchasable without the thorns and can be cooked to create range of dishes. Why not try cactus salad, pickled cactus, or make a lemonade with cactus fruit?
Give the plant a go and feel like a real desert survivor. Just don’t make the mistake of eating cactus this way:
The world’s most dangerous cheese
Moving on to dairy, Caza Marzu has been called ‘the world’s most dangerous cheese’ – and you’re going to have to hear me out on this one. Caza Marzu is a strong, spicy and creamy delicacy, aged and smoked, and is an Italian sheep’s milk variety. Sounds nice right?
Wrong. Making this cheese involves an ageing process that’s aided by maggots. Flies are allowed to land on the cheese , lay their eggs and it soon becomes infested with their larva. They live in and eat the cheese, excrete in to it, and the cheese is even consumed with the live maggots wriggling throughout. The reason this cheese is dangerous (and banned in the EU) is because if the maggots survive your stomach acids, they can cause a range of nasty problems.
Fun fact: these maggots can jump six inches out from the cheese and go straight for the eyeballs. It’s probably best to let Gordon try this one.
They’re the size of a football, dark green, spiky all over, found in South East Asia, and the first thing you will notice about them when you cut one open is the smell. Imagine an old pair of socks, in a pile of rubbish, in a smelly outhouse, and you’re kind of close. The smell is so bad in fact, that they’re prohibited (as notified with stickers) in some cars and establishments.
So why am I recommending you try this? Well, it was crowned ‘the king of fruits’ by the peoples of south eastern Asia. On the inside they are sweet and flavoursome. They are pricey, valued and make great custard. One warning however: Durian breath can last up to six hours! Don’t plan any dates.
Wait! Don’t go grabbing Fluffy from his cage to put in the oven. Head to South America instead, where you can tuck in to a delicious guinea pig roast (called cuy locally) with corn and potatoes, cooked by the experts. It’s been a traditional food in countries like Ecuador for hundreds of years.
Their meat is low in fat and has high protein levels, and fetches a high price in markets and shops. It’s usually marinated and roasted, giving it a crunchy outside and a soft, gamey taste inside. It’s been compared to rabbit, and once you get over the fact you used to own one as a kid, is apparently really delicious.