By: Melissa Aguilar
Have you ever wondered what some of the most popular food is from around the world? Maybe some other countries are like ours or maybe they eat something that you could never imagine. Well take a seat, grab some tea and a snack because we have come up with a list of some of the most outrages foods from around the world. Do you think you would try any of these?
Our number 5 spot is cuy also know as cobayo or conejillo de india but in English it is known as guinea pig. Cuy originated in the Andes and they are a popular meat for grilling, frying, and roasting. The traditional dish for Peru is Cuy and it has been a delicacy for over 5,000 years, in matter of fact it is said that cuy was first considered a food source in 5,000BC!
The name “cuy” comes from the sound the animal makes, and it’s often enjoyed by the people of Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador. The meat is usually served whole after being baked or barbecued, and the taste is said to be similar to wild fowl or rabbit. “Cuy chactado” is a deep-fried, flattened version of the meat served in the Arequipa region, and it’s typically served alongside yellow potatoes and corn on the cob. Andean people rarely buy cuy, as it’s common for a mating pair to be given as a gift to children, special guests, or newlyweds. The animals are raised in the home, but are never viewed as pets, much like the way in which chickens are raised in the United States.
With the rise of South American immigration into the United States, cuy has become available in North America. All though it might not be super easy to get. Cuy can be found being served in New York restaurants but most restaurants will keep it off the menu so it is required to call ahead of time.
Have you tried cuy or do you prefer to keep it as a pet?
The durian fruit is well known by how it looks as well as the smell. This large slightly oval fruit is about a foot wide and is covered in intimidating spikes. Durian can weigh between two to seven pounds, and this is heavy enough that in holding it in your hands by the body of the fruit, instead of the stem, it could potentially pierce the skin. However, its otherworldly appearance is dwarfed by another one of its attributes – the smell. Durians have a strong, rank smell that permeates the outer shell and lingers long after the fruit has been removed.
For many the durian fruit is not appealing but you can find the durian fruit in it’s native country where it is well-loved which is in Southeast Asia. For many it’s not easy to just pick up and go to Southeast Asia, if you are brave enough to give this exotic fruit a try and are able to handle the smell of gym socks, vomit, and onions (as explained by many) durian can be found in a number of Asian markets in North America. Many people find the smell to be off putting the fruit has such a strong smell that even when the fruit is whole it can be smelled which is why it is banned to travel with the fruit on public transit in countries like Thailand, Japan and Hong Kong. In Singapore, the fruit is banned across all types of public transportation and even taxis have signs to let you know they refuse to carry passengers transporting the smelly fruit.
If you can get past the pungent smell of the fruit some explain the flesh as tasting similar, but fans of the fruit describe it as having notes of almond and with a custard-like texture. When ripe, the flesh is uniquely tender and creamy. It is not acidic, overly sweet, or overly juicy. The odor, flavor, and coloration can vary depending on the variety of durian.
If this is a fruit how bad could it be, are people just exaggerating?
For many people they see a spider and react by screaming, killing it, or running away from it. That is not the case for the people who live in Cambodia. The city of Skuon in Cambodia is so infested with spiders that the nearly-starved locals have adapted and started consuming them in the 1970s, and the practice has continued ever since. It is no wonder that the city is known as Spider Town or Spiderville.
Eating a fried tarantula has become a popular photo opportunity for tourists in Cambodia. However, this delicacy is in danger of disappearing, thanks to deforestation and over-harvesting of the spiders.
Deep-fried tarantula is considered a delicacy in Cambodia and can commonly be found being sold, usually for about US$ 1 per spider, from food carts that dot the streets.
Often on display alongside fried crickets, scorpions and grubs, the snacks are popular with terrified tourists grappling to overcome their fears.
The moment you arrive at the market square in Skuon, you see the tarantula vendors. Most are young girls, who think making tourists shiver by putting whole spiders in their mouths is tremendous fun.
“Spider, sir? One for 2,000 riels!”
That’s about 50 cents (42 euro cents) for what is considered a delicacy in Cambodia, and particularly in Skuon.
Cashew and rubber plantations are fast replacing Cambodia’s forests, which are also under threat from a massive illegal timber industry. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the county has lost 20 percent of its forest — which is where the tarantulas live.
What does a tarantula taste like? Typically, the legs are super crispy and really don’t taste of anything other than deep fried. The fangs and head, mostly the same. The abdomen can be the strange bit, a bit less crispy, the innards are sort of poached inside. Not horrendous, but certainly not a gourmet choice. Maybe more of an acquired taste.
Do you think that you could acquire the taste for this exotic snake or will you run far far away from it?
Casu marzu comes from the charming Italian island of Sardinia, located in the Mediterranian Sea. The cheese is made from sheep’s milk. Casu marzu takes some time to make (What kind of quality cheese doesn’t?), but the process itself is easy. When it’s finished, a casu marzu cheese should roughly contain thousands of maggots. It is made up from sheep milk and belongs to the Pecorino family. After fermentation, the cheese is left to decompose with the help of the digestive action of the cheese fly larvae which are introduced in the cheese solely for this purpose. Due to the action of the larvae, the cheese becomes very soft and liquid. A different variety of this cheese is also available on the island of Corsica. It is a traditional food of the region and is mostly consumed at weddings and celebrations.
This cheese is the most dangerous cheese in the world and is now illegal and has been illegal since 1962. Even though this cheese is illegal to sell or serve in restaurants and the European Union states that this cheese is not safe to eat, if you ask a long-living Sardinian they will say other wise. If you like strong cheese like gorgonzola, Stilton or camembert, you will like the taste of casu marzu. People say that when eating the cheese you actually can’t feel the very alive maggots in your mouth. As long as you can chew without thinking too hard about it, it’ll be fine.
What was the reason that the casu marzu was banned you might ask. Well if you couldn’t guess why, it was because of insects. Larvae, to be exact the phiophila casei fly, is the minute artisan. The fly transforms a good traditional cheese like the Sardinian Pecorino in the extraordinary Casu Marzu. Wondering how? By eating and digesting it. And the larvae STAY in the cheese and get to be eaten with it. ALIVE!
Would you like to have some cheese with your wine?
The winner on our list for the absolute most disgusting food is bull penis or also know as “pizzle”. You might ask why would anyone want to eat bull penis? It is said that bull penis has many health benefits any where from virility to clearer skin. This is a common dish in eastern cultures like China and Beijing. There is a restaurant in Beijing that is known for serving all types of penis from goat and buffalo to seal and snake. The most common types to be eaten are bull, ox, yak and buffalo. Those that enjoy this delicacy say that penis tends to taste tough and sinewy, and benefits from being braised or slow cooked. Now for those that are not used to eating all parts of the animal state that the taste is like alligator tail: chewy, tough meat with a bland and somewhat grimy flavor. Typically, the first bite won’t be great especially if you’re comparing it to other types of meat that you’re used to eating but it does grow on you once you notice the crispy edges mitigated the rubbery texture and a sprinkle of seasoning redeemed the flavor.
What do you think about trying a different type of meat? Please let us know if you have tried any of these exotic foods or would be daring enough to try it.