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March 2016

10 Foreign Foods You May Never Want to Try

Would you try these exotic food items?

Humans love to eat. When it comes to cultural exchanges, sampling foreign foods is arguably as important as learning a language. Indeed, the language of cuisine forms a discourse of its own. But not all of the world’s food items are appealing to everyone. Read on to discover ten strange food items from around the world, then let us know on Facebook which you would try.

Balut - Philippines

This half-developed duck embryo cooked in its shell is meant to be slurped and eaten in its entirety, crunchy beak and all. It is known as a source of protein, begging one to suggest perhaps a regular, unfertilized egg. Often consumed in conjunction with alcohol, balut is just another addition to strange snacks taken with booze.

Casu Marzu - Italy  

Imagine your favorite sheep's milk cheese except with live larvae inside. Whether you eat the little insects alive or kill them in the refrigerator first, this cheese item from Sardinia is nonetheless a unique one. One supposes that a little extra lean protein never hurt anyone (little insects notwithstanding).

Mopane - Africa  

Eaten across Africa, mopane is a caterpillar found on the Mopane tree. Made crispy through drying, it's a popular protein powerpack for a large population of people. It’s the perfect combination of beef jerky and crisps, if ever you were looking for one.

Escamole - Mexico   

Move over guacamole and salsa; a new delicacy requires room on the plato. Escamole is otherwise known as "insect caviar". A nutty flavor of a cottage cheese consistency, it's something you may or may not want to dip your chip into.

Hákarl - Iceland

Normally toxic to humans, the flesh of the Greenland shark becomes "edible" when fermented and dried for up to five months. Traditionally eaten in Iceland, hákarl has a strong ammonia flavor, no doubt the reason why a shot of sweet spirits is taken shortly after.

Surstromming - Sweden  

Why are the world's strangest foods always fermented? Surstromming in Sweden is no exception. The fermented Baltic herring is packaged in cans in which it continues fermenting, causing the can itself to expand. When opened, it releases a pungent odor that may merit consumption in open-air environments.

Shiokara - Japan  

Shiokara is a mix of sea creatures turned into a brown paste and served raw over rice. Fermented and salty, it's not surprising that it comes from the country of natto (fermented soybeans).

Shirako - Japan  

Another one from Japan is shirako, the sperm sac of cod, a food item that makes shiokara sound tame in comparison. If you ever tire of tobiko (flying fish roe) on your sushi roll, this creamy delicacy is one to consider.

Beondegi - Korea  

Outliving their uses in fashion, silkworms are boiled and/or steamed and seasoned for street consumption in Korea. As the proverb goes, "waste not, want not". As another proverb goes, “fashion is deadly”.

Dragon in the Flame of Desire - China 

Possibly named by a marketing genius, Dragon in the Flame of Desire is essentially the penis of a yak. It's roasted and served with all the grandeur of its name.

So which of these strange food items would you try? Leave a comment on Facebook and be sure to follow us with a “like” for more articles on culture and language around the world!