Can You Believe People Eat This? Strange and Exotic Dishes from Around the World

People say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and you can easily use this common phrase with food, too. Just because something might not seem appetizing to you, it doesn’t mean that people won’t eat it! Here are some of the strangest exotic dishes from around the world.

Exotic Dishes

Bird’s Nests

Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. Before you go out plucking the nest out of your neighbor’s tree, however, keep in mind that these nests are unique. The nest is made by a swiftlet, or swallow, with the saliva of the male bird holding it all together. When dissolved in water, the nest becomes quite gelatinous, making it a great option for soup, desserts, and jelly. Bird’s nest soup is an Asian delicacy thought to strengthen libido. It is minimally prepared and reminiscent of chicken soup. If you are interested in trying it, be prepared to pay the price. A bowl can cost anywhere from $30 to $100.



Unofficially named the stinkiest food in the world, surstromming is a staple in Sweden. Surstromming is herring, which has been fermented for at least six months, and then placed in tin cans for another year. During that year, the fermentation process continues, and it causes the cans to bulge. Some airlines have even banned the cans, determining them to be a safety hazard. The noxious scent is due to bacteria and has the smell of rotten eggs, vinegar, and rancid butter. While the pressurized can is probably the reason for its ban on flights, can you imagine being stuck 36,000 feet in the air with that scent lingering in the air?

Now – Check out this video below. It will put a smile on your face 🙂


Sannakji is a raw octopus delicacy. It’s not just raw; it is still alive. Unlike its counterpart that is served whole, sannakji is cut into bite-sized pieces before being served. As the plate is placed at your table, you will notice some movement going on. Yes, the tentacles are still squirming trying to figure out how to get back to the ocean. Now, don’t think you can get away with just sucking this down. The pieces must be thoroughly chewed. The tentacles aren’t the only things still moving. The suctions are still hard at work, as well. Many people find this to be a fun part of the experience, as they enjoy the sensation of the suction cups at work in their mouth. This poses a severe choking hazard, however, as the suctions can attach themselves to your throat.

Source: Republic of Korea, flickr.com

Kopi Luwak

How do you like your coffee, light and sweet? Perhaps you prefer it with a hint of feces? Don’t knock it until you try it, or so some people say. This rare, gourmet coffee is made from the beans of a cat’s feces. Perfectly ripe coffee beans are eaten by the Asian palm civet cat. The cat is not able to fully digest them, so they come out partially digested which adds to the flavor profile of the bean. If you are a coffee connoisseur and are ready to add this to your list of must have coffees, be prepared to pay. The cost can be up to $700 per kilogram. Who do you think was the first person that saw these beans and dared to make their own pot of joe?

Asian Palm Civet produces Kopi luwak

Casu Marzu

Casu Marzu is also known as maggot cheese. Doesn’t that tell you something right there? It is a traditional Sardinian cheese with live maggots wiggling around inside as you eat it. That’s right; those wiggly little worms keep going to work as you pick your way around them. Why would this be a good thing? Well, the maggots ferment the cheese at a much faster rate than traditional fermenting, and they help keep the cheese soft. So, you get a soft cheese that tastes like it has been aging forever. Sounds much more appealing now, doesn’t it? Wait up just a minute. There is one little thing you need to watch out for. These little buggers jump, so be careful not to disturb them if you don’t want a face full of maggots.


Haggis is a pudding, but not of the dessert variety. Unlike some of the other unusual foods on this list, anyone with a love of cooking can prepare it. Simply go to your favorite butcher and ask for the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep or lamb. Oh, and while you are at it, be sure to request the stomach, as well. See, the correct way to prepare the dish is by combining all of the organs with oats, suet, and herbs then stuffing them into the lining of the stomach. It’s basically one large organ sausage. Be sure to pierce holes in the stomach to let steam escape. If you don’t, the whole thing could burst. Doesn’t that just make you want to jump in and try this dish right away?



Fugu, one of the deadliest foods in the world. It is a type of pufferfish that can only be prepared by a specially licensed fugu chef. Otherwise, you risk death. These chefs have to go through rigorous training to learn how to delicately remove a chemical called tetrodotoxin from the fish without contaminating the edible meat. Tetrodotoxin paralyzes its victim while they remain conscious. They eventually die from asphyxiation, and there is no known antidote to this poison. Kind of makes you wonder how many people died trying to discover the safe way to eat it, doesn’t it?

Taxidermal inflated puffer fish

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Rocky Mountain oysters aren’t oysters, and they are not technically from the Rocky Mountains either. They are actually bull testicles that were originally served in the Rocky Mountain region. They are frequently served as a fried appetizer with cocktail sauce. Some of the more colorful names used for them include, “cowboy caviar,” “dusted nuts,” “bull fries,” and “swinging beef.”  Thinking of trying them for yourself? Why not head to the annual Testicle Festival or “Testy Festy” as the locals call it, in Clinton, Montana? Yes, that’s a thing.

Rocky mountain oysters and a Negroni (my favorite drink) at #bithousesaloon

A post shared by Jack Donovan (@starttheworld) on

Fried Spiders

A much-loved delicacy in Cambodia are the large fried tarantulas. They started out as a necessity due to a food shortage during the Khmer Rouge. Since then, their status has evolved into a well-loved snack. Costing less than fifty cents, perhaps it’s worth the try. It is recommended to pull off the crunchy legs and eat those first. Then, you get to the belly which tastes nutty and gooey, so they say. If that sounds appetizing to you, be sure to stop in Skun while in Cambodia. Skun is often referred to as “Spiderville” and is the place to go for fried spiders.


Chicken’s Feet

In this day and age where so much food goes to waste, isn’t it refreshing to know that some people still do use all of an animal? Chicken feet are used all around the world for a variety of dishes. In China, they are marinated and served as a bar snack. In Hong Kong, they are fried then stewed in a bean paste. With bone broth becoming a staple among the Paleo diet crowd, chicken feet are becoming more popular here in America as well. They provide an extra dose of healthy collagen to the broth. Just be sure to remove the toenails before preparing them. You probably don’t need or want an explanation for that one.

Chicken’s Feet

Though spiders and maggots might not sound delicious to you, it might be fascinating to think of the foods that you eat. Then, consider that many people around the world think that canned cheese and fried Twinkies are pretty weird, too!


What Do You Think?

Can You Believe People Eat This? Strange and Exotic Dishes from Around the World

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