The World’s Weirdest Menu Items

You know how they say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? The same can be said about food. What you might think is odd—from a bird’s next to rotten eggs—is actually quite the expensive delicacy somewhere in the world.

Find out some of the oddest dishes around the world!

Bird’s Nest Soup — China

Birds Nest Soup
Photo Credit: @findyourhappyplate / Instagram
Photo Credit: @findyourhappyplate / Instagram

Believe it or not, some bird nests are edible. In fact, it’s known as the “caviar of the East.” It’s made from swiftlets nests who build it mostly out of saliva.

Despite the gelatinous texture, it is one of the most expensive animal products consumed. While one bowl of the soup can cost between $30 to $100, a kilo of nests can cost up to $10,000.

Chicken’s Feet — East Asia

Chicken's Feet
Photo Credit: @maliezeatery / Instagram
Photo Credit: @maliezeatery / Instagram

The feet are mostly made of skin, so this dish has a gelatinous texture because of the collagen released in the cooking process. Using chicken feet is popular not only in East Asia but also in the Caribbean, South America, and South Africa.

The bones can get tedious to pick through, but they add a good amount of flavor to a dish.

Shirako (Sperm) — Japan

Shirako
Photo Credit: @jeweats / Instagram
Photo Credit: @jeweats / Instagram

Shirako means “white children” in Japanese. Rest assured, it’s actually just referring to the sperm sacs of either cod, angler fish, or pufferfish.

The white gooey blob is said to have a sweet custardy taste.

Crispy Tarantulas — Cambodia

Crispy Tarantulas
Photo Credit: @debbirdart / Instagram
Photo Credit: @debbirdart / Instagram

There is a reason these lanky spiders became a popular meal. They were first eaten by Cambodians starving under the Khmer Rouge regime.

The dish stayed within the culture and is now popularly served as a deep-fried snack throughout the country. Apparently, it kind of tastes like crispy crab.

Frog Legs — France

Frog Legs
Photo Credit: @hugosfrogbar / Instagram
Photo Credit: @hugosfrogbar / Instagram

It’s not uncommon to be out with friends and order a plate of cuisses de grenouilles to share. Globally, 100 million frogs are taken out of the wild to be used as food, and the French are the biggest consumers.

The USA is the second-largest importer of the delicacy, especially in the south of the country. They are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and potassium

Drunken Shrimp (Literally) — China

Drunken Shrimp
Photo Credit: @wholeriverfoods / Instagram
Photo Credit: @wholeriverfoods / Instagram

Yes, the shrimp are actually intoxicated when you go to eat them. That’s because the shrimp are placed in strong liquor before being consumed alive.

The dish is popular in parts of China, but it can also be found in parts of the United States, though they cook the shrimp.

Poisonous Pufferfish — Japan

Puffer fish
Photo Credit: @nutriozzo / Instagram
Photo Credit: @nutriozzo / Instagram

This is a dish for the brave, because if the delicacy is prepared wrong, you could die.

Pufferfish, or fugu, is deadly as its skin and insides hold the poisonous toxin tetrodotoxin, which is 1,250 times stronger than cyanide.

Haggis (Sheep’s Organs) — Scotland

Haggis
Photo Credit: @rocketandsquash / Instagram
Photo Credit: @rocketandsquash / Instagram

This dish is made of a sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs. The meat is minced and mixed with onions, oatmeal, and suet, and it is then seasoned with salt and spices. It’s cooked inside the animal’s stomach.

It probably just tastes like meat…

White Ant Egg Soup — Laos

Gaeng Kai Mot Daeng
Photo: @srisuda.dougherty / Instagram
Photo: @srisuda.dougherty / Instagram

Gaeng Kai Mot Daeng is a soup that combines a mix of ant eggs (sometimes just partial embryos) from the white ant with a few baby ants for a bit sourness.

They say the flavor is both sharp and delicate but tasty. Some also compare it to shrimp.

Maggot Cheese — Italy

Maggot Cheese
Photo Credit: @_lil_fromage_ / Instagram
Photo Credit: @_lil_fromage_ / Instagram

To make casu marzu, they age pecorino cheese with holes dug in it. Then, it’s left outside and these holes are used for flies to deposit their eggs.

Once the eggs hatch, the maggots start feeding on the cheese. That’s how you know the cheese is ready! While the outside is hard, the inside is more like a spread and has a very strong flavor. It’s eaten with the maggots still alive.

Fertilized Eggs — The Philippines

Fertilized Eggs
Photo Credit: @whatoliveloves / Instagram
Photo Credit: @whatoliveloves / Instagram

To make balut, fertilized eggs are boiled just before they’re supposed to hatch, so instead of yolk, they contain a fetus. The fetus is usually between 17 days and 21 days old depending on local preference.

Keep in mind, the longer you leave it, the more it starts to develop a beak, claws, bones, and feathers. Balut is often served from carts on the street.

Cow’s Head And Feet — Turkey

Khash
Photo Credit: @armenian_food_ / Instagram
Photo Credit: @armenian_food_ / Instagram

A khash dish is made of stewed cow’s feet and head. It used to be more popularly used as comfort food in places like the Middle East and Eastern Europe, but it has become more of a delicacy in Turkey today.

Jellied Moose Nose — Canada

Jellied Moose Nose-
Photo: @wherethewildistravel / Instagram
Photo: @wherethewildistravel / Instagram

Adventurous Canadians have experimented with cuisine, taking a moose nose and boiling it up. They then add onions and spices, remove the hair and boil it again.

The next step is to slice it and cover it with broth until it sets into a jelly. Then it’s ready.

Fermented Fish — Sweden

Surstomming
Photo Credit: @danielacapato / Instagram
Photo Credit: @danielacapato / Instagram

This fermented Baltic herring is called surstromming. It’s caught in spring before spawning and is then fermented for several months. They’re usually eaten with bread and boiled potatoes.

The cans are pressurized and continuously fermenting, so they have been banned on flights. Otherwise, they can explode like fireworks, plus they have a notoriously strong smell.

Black Pudding (Blood Sausage) — Africa

Black Pudding
Photo Credit: @locarbecue / Instagram
Photo Credit: @locarbecue / Instagram

Although this dish is widely available in the Americas, Asia, and Europe, many still find it revolting.

It’s basically made of congealed blood that’s then cooked, flavored and thickened with ingredients like suet and breadcrumbs. Then it’s stuffed into sausage skins.

Frozen Whale Skin — Greenland

muktuk
Photo Credit: @lisamilosav / Instagram
Photo Credit: @lisamilosav / Instagram

Whale skin and blubber (or muktuk) is a traditional Inuit meal. It’s served either raw or pickled.

It’s made of several layers. First, there’s the skin (that is said to taste like hazelnut), then the chewy fat, and last the protective layer in between (also very chewy).

Crocodile Meat Curry — Cambodia

Mok
Photo Credit: @thomas_schneider_berlin / Instagram
Photo Credit: @thomas_schneider_berlin / Instagram

You can easily sample this food, named amok, while walking the streets of Cambodia. It is basically a steamed banana leaf that holds a soupy and creamy curry with crocodile meat.

It’s not very spicy and the crocodile is said to taste a lot like chicken.

“Oysters” — Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountains
Photo Credit: @healthy_easy_delicious_ / Instagram
Photo Credit: @healthy_easy_delicious_ / Instagram

Although it is true that they can be found around the Rocky Mountains, and that they call them “oysters,” they’re actually bull-calf testicles. They peel them, flatten them, and then deep fry them.

Rotten Eggs — China

century egg
Photo Credit: @miss.portmanteau / Instagram
Photo Credit: @miss.portmanteau / Instagram

The special rotten eggs, known as century eggs, have been consumed since ancient times in China, and are still consumed today.

The eggs are covered in clay, ash, and salt and left for months. During that time, the yolk becomes dark green and begins to acquire a sulfurous odor before it’s ready to be consumed.

Fish That Stare At The Sky — England

Stargazey
Photo Credit: @westerndiscoveries / Instagram
Photo Credit: @westerndiscoveries / Instagram

This pie, named “stargazy pie,” is made with fish that literally stare at the sky. It originated in the village of Mousehole, England. The legend says a heroic sailor in the 16th century took a rowboat out in high storms on a night in December. He wanted to catch enough fish to feed the starving people of his village.

The dish is now served on Tom Bawcock’s Eve (December 23).