The range of foods you’ll get to try is one of the most amazing things about travelling in Asia. Renowned for fresh seafood and a great balance of flavours and tastes, Asian food has a lot to offer. You’ll want to try lots of different dishes. But be warned – not everything you’ll encounter will be to your taste. Even if you’re feeling brave, you might not want to try the following seven dishes:
Balut is a prized dish in the Philippines – it’s a duck egg that’s been fertilised, meaning it contains the embryo of a baby duck. The whole thing is gently cooked, seasoned with chilli, garlic and vinegar, and then eaten – all of it, beak, feathers and all. Anyone who’s actually eaten this dish has The Secret Traveller’s sincere respect, as it both sounds and looks absolutely disgusting.
2. Gizzard Soup
Japan is well-known for some strange and wonderful things – including unconventional dishes like potentially deadly puffer fish and squirming tentacles of freshly killed octopus. If you’re visiting Japan, you’ll have the opportunity to try your fair share of food challenges.
But one you should stay clear of is gizzard soup. It’s basically a hotpot made of the intestines and stomach lining of animals like cows, goats and sheep. The Japanese love it, but I don’t think many international visitors will be fighting them to try it!
3. Cambodian Tarantulas
If you’re travelling through Cambodia, you’ll see at least one person trying a tarantula – they’re considered a delicacy in some parts of the country and brave travellers regularly test them out. But most of them regret it. They’re served up skewered and fried.
According to Time Travel Turtle, who was bold enough to try one, they tasted like digested insects – not like chicken, as the waiter had promised him. You can read more about his experience at Time Travel Turtle.
4. White Ant Egg Soup
In South-east Asia, white ant eggs are commonly used in soups along with partial embryos and baby ants. The best thing we can compare the taste sensation to is caviar, as they pop in your mouth to release a sour flavour.
5. Bee Larvae
This list of weird Asian foods says legend has it that the Japanese emperor Hirohito’s favourite food was fried wasps over rice with a dash of sugar and soy sauce – so perhaps that’s why bee larvae has become so popular in Japan. It’s also full of protein, so there’s plenty of nutritional value to be gained for this strange snack. However, it has an unusual crunchy texture – so not to everyone’s tastes.
6. Bird’s Nest Soup
You’ve probably head of Bird’s Nest Soup, as it’s well-known as an expensive and hard-to-find dish. Whilst that might have led you to believe it’s tasty, we’ve got some bad news to break – it’s made of the nest of the Swiftlet bird, a bird who makes its nest almost entirely out of its own saliva.
Last up, a dish that actually caused Hungry Partier to stop his streak of eating bizarre foods. Beondegi are steamed or boiled silkworm pupae which are seasoned and eaten as a snack. It might be a popular snack all over Korea, usually sold from street vendors, but perhaps it’s best avoided.
What bizarre foods have you tried? I’ve love to know!