10 of the Most Bizarre Street Foods in the World

food market

Below is a list of the most bizarre, and possibly the most disgusting, street foods available worldwide.

10. Tongue Tacos

cattle tongue
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Voted by L.A. Weekly as one of the best taco trucks in Los Angeles, La Estrella serves up tacos de lengua, or simply put, tongue tacos. Made with beef (cow) tongue, L.A. Weekly refers to La Estrella’s tacos (and their burritos, too) as “just about perfect.” “Yes, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the thrill of a new find, or the excitement of an unusual cut of meat, but take one bite of a La Estrella taco and you’ll remember exactly how it earned its impossibly tight parking spot at the top of L.A.’s taco mountain,” noted L.A. Weekly author Ben Mesirow.

9. Chicken Anus on a Stick

chicken
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The Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan offers visitors some unusual eats–and the Pope’s Nose, aka chicken anus, is at the top of that list. The Pope’s Nose (or uropygium, for all you scientific folks) is the hind end of the bird that holds the tail feathers and the uropygial gland, also known as the preen or oil gland. Vendors at the Shilin Night Market grill them up and serve them on a stick.

FUN FACT: Other names for the chicken anus include parson’s nose or sultan’s nose.

8. Duck Feet Roll/Wrap

duck
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Found on the Sze Ngan Chye food cart in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur, duck feet roll, or duck parcel (ngap kiok pau, if you’re a local), is duck liver and deboned duck feet wrapped in duck intestines.

Here’s how one brave customer describes the dish: “The tasting experience is interesting. The rich and succulent flavour of the sauce permeates the parcel, and although the flavour profile doesn’t change with each bite, the texture does as you move through the soft liver, the feet, and the chewy intestines. I found the taste quite pleasing, but the texture is an acquired experience, especially the intestines that were stringy in places.”

7. Silkworm Larvae

silkworm
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Steamed or boiled silkworm larvae is a popular street food in South Korea. Bundaegi, as it’s known locally, is traditionally eaten as a snack.

Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, is common throughout much of the world. In fact, back in 2013, the UN was encouraging people to eat more insects in order to boost nutrition, reduce pollution, and fight world hunger. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, edible insects contain high quality vitamins and proteins. They are also high in healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats), biotin, copper, folic acid, iron, magnesium, manganese, pantothenic acid, phosphorous, riboflavin, selenium, and zinc.

While encouraging entomophagy may sound good in theory, the FAO also acknowledges the reluctance of those in Western countries to give this unusual cuisine a try. In fact, the FAO notes that most people in Western countries find entomophagy disgusting. We couldn’t agree more!

6. Live Octopus

octopus
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The octopus is alive when you buy it, but the good folks at the Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea chop it up immediately before serving it to you. Don’t worry if it’s still moving. That’s just the muscle contractions. Served with a side of sesame oil for dipping, octopus is said to be a bit on the chewy side. Speaking of chewy, be sure to chew this food thoroughly. The tentacles can stick to your throat and strangle you.

5. Spam Sushi

sushi
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Spam sushi, also known as Spam musubi, consists of–as you would have guessed–Spam… along with other ingredients, of course, including soy, sugar, and rice. The spiced ham, after it’s been griddled and glazed with soy and sugar, is placed on a bed of rice with the same rectangular shape as the popular canned pork product. The two are held together by seaweed.

According to Japanese chef Masaharu Morimoto, from the Japanese TV cooking show Iron Chef, Spam sushi is a popular street food in Hawaii. When asked if he would consider adding it to the menu at one of his new restaurants, he told the Chicago Tribune, “Why not? People love it, and it’s delicious.”

4. Guinea Pigs

guinea pig
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One of America’s most beloved childhood pets is considered a delicacy in Peru. The guinea pig, or cuy, as it’s called locally, is a popular dish in Peru. “The Incas have eaten cuy for centuries, but in the past it was only farmers in the Andes still eating them,” Lionel Vigil, the regional director of World Neighbours, a non-profit organization that works to combat poverty and disease in isolated areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America, told BBC News. Traditionally, guinea pigs were served kebab-style, complete with teeth and claws! Today, they’re also available boneless and skinless in food stalls and high-end restaurants in Lima.

3. Tarantulas

tarantula
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Fried tarantulas, or a-ping, as the locals call them, are a delicacy in Cambodia. Covered in salt, sugar, garlic and oil, Cambodians first began eating tarantulas during the Khmer Rouge regime (under the Marxist leader Pot Pol) when food shortages forced them to seek out other sources of nourishment. They found out that not only were these arachnids plentiful, they were also easy to cook.

TIP: Pull the legs off and eat them first so it won’t feel like there’s a spider crawling around in your mouth!

2. Tuna Eyeballs

fish
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A niche dish in Japan, tuna eyeballs are said to be rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Enjoy them raw, steamed, boiled, or fried with lots of garlic and soy sauce. Because tuna can be expensive in Japan, some locals opt for the less expensive eyeballs, which they can find at Japan’s Tsukiji Fish Market, the world’s biggest and oldest (80+ years) fish market.

1. Maggot Cheese

cheese
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Popular in Sardinia, Italy, maggot cheese (casu marzu) is fermented, decomposed sheep’s milk complete with fly larvae and crawling maggots!

TIPS: The maggots can be removed, but if you choose to eat them, you must blend them into a spreadable paste. Otherwise, those that survive the trip through your digestive tract could end up causing you great distress–e.g. vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain. Also, you can only eat the cheese if the maggots are still alive. Once they’ve died, the cheese has gone bad. Go figure!

FYI, casu marzu is illegal in the United States. This is one law the cops won’t have to worry about anyone breaking!

CONCLUSION

So, there you have it. It doesn’t get much more bizarre than maggot cheese, fish eyes, and chicken anus! But, if you know of any others, feel free to share them with us. If they’re extremely bizarre, feel free to keep it to yourself, LOL!

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