One of the best parts of traveling is the chance to try all sorts of new and unique cuisines. Some exotic foods are utterly delicious, and people just can”t get enough of them. Others, sadly, are so bad that you”d wish to “un-taste” them. Take a look at some worldly dishes in the latter category that you might be better off avoiding on your next vacation.
1. Hasma (China)
Hasma can actually be a pretty tasty dessert for your next visit to China. Unfortunately, it is made from the dried fatty tissue of frogs. Not so appetizing now, is it?
2. Natto (Japan)
Natto looks a bit like snot, but it”s actually fermented soy beans. The dish is traditionally eaten over rice. It”s notorious for its strong smell, slimy texture, and acquired taste.
3. Casu Marzu (Italy)
Casu marzu is also known as maggot cheese, which should give you a good idea of why it”s on this list. It”s a type of “rotten cheese” made from sheep milk, except that it”s left outside for maggots to nest within it. Apparently, there”s something about the maggots” digestive process that gives the cheese a unique flavor.
4. Hoya (Japan, Korea)
These “sea pineapples” have been described as tasting “something like iodine” and “rubber dipped in ammonia.” Yum!
5. Lutefisk (Scandinavia)
Lutefisk starts as your standard whitefish. However, instead of cooking it right away, one soaks it in cold water with lye, until it turns into a sort of fish jelly. You can either eat it cold or cooked.
6. Surstromming (Scandinavia)
Surstromming is pretty much just rotted fish. The fish is kept from completely decomposing using salta lot of salt. Each can of surstromming is fermented for six months before it”s consumed. Surstromming is usually eaten outdoors because of its strong, putrid smell.
7. Kiviak (Greenland)
This traditional Inuit food is made by stuffing roughly 500 auks (small sea birds) inside the hollowed-out body of a seal. The skin of the carcass is then sealed up and placed under a rock for seven months. During this time, the birds ferment inside the skin. The skin is retrieved when winter arrives, and its contents (the fermented birds) are eaten whole.
8. Balut (Asia)
Balut is a different take on eating eggs. Instead of the unfertilized eggs we eat in the West, these eggs are fertilized. They contain a tiny unborn duck or chicken inside. They apparently don”t taste too bad.
9. Shoiokara (Japan)
Shoiokara is literally fermented fish guts. The mixture is kept from killing you by the addition of a lot of salt. I can”t imagine it tastes any good.
10. Thousand-Year Egg (China)
These might look like fish eyes, but they”re actually just ordinary chicken or duck eggs. A thousand-year egg is made by preserving a normal egg in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for anywhere between several weeks and several months. This results in the yolk becoming a dark green color and the white becoming a dark brown.
I think I”ll just steer clear of Greenland during my next vacation. There”s something about stuffing 500 small sea birds into a seal that seems unsettling to me.