The world is full of bizarre, strange, and weird foods. Frog legs, squid and escargot, to name a few. Everyone has a different opinion about how these foods taste. Some claim these foods are the most delicious things they have ever tried. Others are so grossed out by the very idea of these foods, that they would rather starve than eat them.
Here is a list of some of the world’s bizarre foods, when people started eating them, where they are popular, and, in some cases, opinions on how they taste.
People have been eating snails — known in France as escargot — since prehistoric times. In Ancient Rome, snails were considered a delicacy and were rarely served.
When snails are served as escargot, they’re usually taken out of their shell, cooked, then put back in their shell with sauce. I can’t help thinking that escargot looks like something made by a sick dog.
In many parts of the world, snails are such a popular food that snail farms have sprung up. These farms sell snails for escargot, and snail eggs for caviar.
I would try any food, at least once. The only exception? Escargot. Just looking at photos turns my stomach.
But if you, personally, want to try escargot, there are multiple recipes online. Sadly, I don’t know where to get the snails.
Cuisses de grenouille — the infamous French delicacy, known to English speakers as frog legs. But frog isn’t only eaten by the French. It’s eaten all across Europe, throughout China, in the Caribbean, and, surprisingly, in some parts of the United States.
In some areas, the demand for frog legs has become a problem. See, most edible frogs are caught in the wild. Which means, that if to many frogs are caught, the wild frog population could become dangerously low.
This is especially a problem in the Caribbean, where a species of local frog, named ‘mountain chicken’, has been classified as critically endangered, thanks in part to being caught, cooked and eaten.
Two members of my family have tasted frog. One is my grandpa, and the other is my dog. The frog my grandpa ate had been cooked. The one my dog ate was not cooked; in fact, it was rotten.
According to my grandpa, frog legs taste like chicken. He says that if he hadn’t known he was eating frog legs, he’d have honestly thought it was chicken. I’d be willing to try meat that tasted like that, even if it did come from a frog.
It’s hard to imagine someone pulling a slimy, tentacled creature out of the sea and deciding to eat it, but apparently it happened … more than once. Squid is eaten all over the world — from Europe to Asia, to Central America. Pretty much any place touching the ocean.
Cooked squid is known by various names, such as calamari, san ojingeo, kalmar tava and adobong pusit. One can buy squid steaks, squid jerky, and enjoy stuffed squid. In Italy, squid are often put in pasta.
I once tried the salt and pepper squid at a Chinese restaurant. It was flavourless, but went down easily. I ate several, then brought the rest home for my dog.
With a different sauce … squid could become delicious.
Most people have heard of fugu — also known as blowfish. The poisonous fish that the Japanese love eating. If cooked right, it tastes — according to the Japanese — delicious, and causes absolutely no harm at all. But if one mistake is made in the preparation … you die.
It’s hard to imagine the ancients deciding to risk squid. Blowfish doesn’t look as strange — I can see some poor fisherman deciding it was safer to eat than squid. But I can’t see them doing that again, even if they survived. There is no way that the first fugu eaters knew the proper recipe.
Even today, with the proper recipe, twenty people per year die from eating fugu, and many more are hospitalized.
When I first began reading about fugu, I suspected that it became popular as a way of poisoning political rivals, or as a samurai dare game.
I was wrong on both counts. Fugu has been eaten for 2,300 years, since the Jōmon period. There is no evidence it was ever used for assassinations. The last shogunate in Japan banned fugu, but fugu returned as soon as the shogunate was gone. Today, fugu is the one food that the Emperor of Japan is forbidden from eating — a precaution to keep him safe.
In my opinion, fugu is not a food. It’s Russian roulette on a plate.
If you had no choice but to eat one of the above foods, every day for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?