Asia is no stranger to a variety of local foods, snacks and desserts. But we are not talking about common delicacies like tom yum, sushi and durian. Instead, we will cover some of the weirdest and bizarre foods in Asia.
1) Balut (Duck Embryo)
Test your bravery by consuming this rotten-looking egg commonly known as balut. Balut is a popular street food originated from the Philippines but also can be found in other Southeast Asia countries like Laos and Vietnam. The balut in question is actually a duck embryo. It is then incubated up to 20 days prior to boiling. That means you are required to eat a half-developed baby duck instead of an egg yolk directly from the open shell served with vegetables.
2) Tuna Eyes
Tuna, particularly the canned varieties you found in the supermarkets, is a common dish served with bread or crackers. But we are talking about tuna eyes here, which is a whole different level altogether. Tuna eyes are available in Japan, where they can be eaten raw (gulp!) or steamed. But looking at those eyes alone can make you feel queasy before you even think about eating them.
3) Bat Soup
There’s Batman, and there’s bat soup. The latter is exactly what it means: a soup literally brewed using live bats. This weird delicacy is particularly popular in Cambodia. Apart from bats, some of the other ingredients used for the bat soup includes chopped onion, salt and pepper.
4) Spaghetti Popsicle
Popsicles are a common sweet, frozen treat on a stick. But spaghetti flavour? That might make you think twice before trying such a bizarre treat. It’s available in Japan under the local popsicle brand known as Gari Gari Kun. The popsicle is described as a mix of “tomato jelly” with spaghetti Neapolitan-like flavour. Neapolitan is, of course, refers to the popular Japanese-Italian pasta made with onion, bell pepper and ketchup.
5) Fried Tarantulas
Yes, those tarantulas. The big, hairy spiders. This Cambodian delicacy was originated back in the 70s during the turbulent period of Khmer Rouge where people suffered from hunger and poverty issues. The tarantulas are first marinated with some sort of milky liquid before frying them with boiling oil in a wok. The fried tarantulas are said to be “crispy on the outside and soft on the inside”.
6) Basashi (Raw Horse Meat)
This is one of those rare and premium foods in Japan. This basashi or raw horse meat is typically served with ginger, garlic, onions and soy sauce. But these days, you can enjoy basashi with sushi rice or vegetables.
7) Tiết Canh (Blood Pudding)
Most of us might be familiar with popular Vietnamese foods like banh mi and beef pho. But tiet canh is the kind of Vietnamese dish you might want to think twice before consuming it. It is basically a pudding made from animal blood (typically duck or pork). The pudding also contains other ingredients such as innards or meat and mixed with fish sauce or diluted broth derived from the cooked meat. Finally, the dish is topped with roasted peanuts and some chopped herbs prior to serving. A word of warning, though: Tiết canh can be dangerous since it may pose a health risk due to bacterial infections caused by contaminated pig’s blood.
8) San-nakji (Live Octopus)
San-nakji is a famous Korean dish widely known across the world. But despite its popularity, it takes a real gut to consume this live octopus. This dish is usually prepared by cutting a young live octopus into small pieces and served immediately using chopsticks. San-nakji is definitely not for the squeamish, especially you have to endure its slimy and chewy texture when you put it in your mouth.
Believe it or not, starfish is consumed as a street snack in China. And it’s quite famous as well. The starfish is deep-fried and served on a stick. To eat them, you have to crack open the hard outer shell and consume the soft flesh inside.
10) Beondegi (Steamed/Boiled Silkworm)
Fancy for some silkworms? These local delicacies are sold as a street snack in South Korea. They are steamed or boiled and lightly seasoned and usually served with beer.