15 Crazy Dishes from Around the World

Disclaimer: This is not for the squeamish

Have you ever been served a crazy dish and thought: “Heck no, I’m not eating that”? As a Lebanese, I have stumbled upon that situation many times in my life. Sheep intestines, sheep brain, tongues, frogs, snails, raw meat… No, thank you! So here we are at ChefXChange discussing some of the craziest foods we have tasted, and I realize that Lebanese eccentric food is really not, well, that eccentric! So here’s a rundown of 15 crazy, weird and controversial dishes from around the world.

1. Monkey Brains

Far East and Central Africa

Crazy dish from far east and africa: monkey brain

Monkey brain is a dish consisting of a species of monkeys or apes. It is said it tastes gooey and metallic. This controversial food is considered a delicacy in China, Malaysia and Indonesia. It would be worthy to note that eating animal brains can lead to several diseases where mental and physical abilities deteriorate and holes appear in your brain. Totally worth it, right?

2. Akutaq – Eskimo Ice Cream

Alaska

 Crazy food from Alaska: Akutaq - Eskimo Ice Cream

Eskimo ice cream might sound cute and enjoyable, but in fact that snack is a mixture of weird and fruity. It includes berries, snow and Whitefish/Reindeer/Moose/Walrus/Caribou/Seal Oil, mixed in whipped fat. Yummy!

3. Haggis

Scotland

Haggis is rumored to have originated from Scotland. It’s a sheep’s stomach packed with its heart, liver, and lungs and flavored with salt, pepper, onion, suet (beef or mutton fat) and oatmeal.

4. Turtle soup

China, Singapore and United States

 Crazy dish from China, Singapore and US: Turtle Soup

This particular dish is considered a delicacy. It is a soup or stew made from turtle flesh. However, preferences for the breed of turtles differ; the U.S. and Singapore prefer green turtles, but Chinese use soft-shelled turtles. In addition, in traditional Chinese gastronomy, turtle soup is often consumed after pregnancy.

5. Balut – Duck Embryo

Philippines

Crazy dish from the Philippines: Balut - duck eggs

Balut is a boiled fertilized duck egg or a duck embryo. The street food is said to taste like regular boiled eggs but with more liquid and crunch due to the duckling’s bones.

6. Baby Mice Wine

China and Korea

Crazy food from China and Korea: Baby Mice Wine

This “special” wine is a traditional drink in China and Korea. The baby mice wine is considered to be a health tonic for all its nutrients and health benefits. However, this drink is infamous for its raw-gasoline like taste and its controversial preparation. Baby mice are stolen from their mother and placed in rice wine alive. Finally, anyone drinking this is expected to top it off with eating the mice.

7. Shirako – Milt

Japan 

For caviar lovers, this dish might not seem weird, but still, I’m sure many do. Shirako, meaning white children, is the milt or the seminal fluid of male fish. It is eaten raw or cooked and considered a Japanese delicacy. Normally, male cod is used for this dish, but you can find Shirako of anglerfish, salmon, squid and puffer fish.

8. Soup No. 5

Philippines

Crazy dish from the Philippines: Soup No. 5 with bull’s testicles and penis

Photo credit: ** RCB ** via Foter.com / CC BY

Following the trend of male reproductive organs usage in gastronomy, the Philippines came up with Soup No. 5, a stock made of a bull’s testicles and penis. Now that’s a crazy dish!

9. Dragon in the Flame of Desire

China

Crazy dish from China: Dragon in the Flame of Desire with Yak’s penis

Photo credit: kennymatic via Foter.com /CC BY

And if you’re not into bulls, there’s always a Yak’s penis ready to be served in China. This delicacy is praised for its skin benefits. So here you go, your new beauty secret!

10. Fruit Bat Soup

Guam and West Africa

Crazy dish from Guam and Africa: Fruit Bat Soup

Photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar viaFoter.com / CC BY-ND

Fruit bats are boiled as is with ginger and onion and served as a soup or stew. The bats are eaten whole, except for their bones.

Fruit bats are Ebola virus hosts and believed to have sparked the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Additionally, eating fruit bats has been associated with a neurological disease called lytico-bodig disease, a paralyzing or Parkinson inducing disease. Again, totally worth it, right?

11. Tuna Eyeball

Japan and China

Crazy food from Japan and China: Tuna Eyeball 

Tuna Eye can be found in local supermarkets in Japan. However, I’m certain the dish is an acquired taste! The eyeballs are fried and flavored with garlic and soy sauce or simply boiled and seasoned to your own preference.

 

12. Tong Zi Dan – Virgin Boy Eggs

China

Crazy dish from China: Tong Zi Dan - Virgin Boy Eggs

Tong zi dan is a traditional Chinese delicacy in Dongyang, considered as a “local intangible cultural heritage” in 2008. The catch? The eggs are boiled in the urine of boys, hence the name Virgin Boy Eggs. Crazy stuff, no?

 

13. Puffin Heart

Iceland

Crazy dish from Iceland: Puffin Heart

Another creepy delicacy is the Puffin heart. The puffin, a specie of birds, is skinned and its heart is removed and eaten raw.

14. Tiet Canh – Raw Blood Soup

Vietnam

Originating from Northern Vietnam, the soup is made of goose, duck, or pig blood and their meat. Fish sauce is added to prevent coagulation. The dish is served with herbs and peanuts. Dracula, anyone?

 

15. Cobra heart

Vietnam

Crazy dish from Vietnam: Cobra Heart

Photo credit: RussBowling via Foter.com /CC BY

The cobra is cut open alive and the heart is removed then placed in a shot full of its own blood. While downing the shot, you will feel the heart pumping. Yay, right?

So here you go, we’ve shared 15 crazy dishes (some may consider delicacies) with you, but this was just a small sample from the world of crazy gastronomy. To try something new and exciting (but milder than the above) in Beirut, book one of our passionate cooks, private Chef Elia.

Don’t forget to let us know what you think and sound off your thoughts in the comments section below!