Flashback Friday: The 6 Oddest Foods That I’ve Ever Tried

FlashbackFriEarlier in the week I took part in Pin-Up Live, a travel chat done through Pinterest. The chats are hosted by Bethany and Randy from travel blog Beer & Beans.

During each chat, the topic varies and other co-hosts join them. For the most recent chat, the topic was Rerouted: A Skype Travel Challenge with Skype and AFAR.

Besides the main topic/ questions, others are also posted creating even more conversations.

One of the questions was: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten while traveling? Lots of things came to mind as did a post that I wrote about  just before the summer. While I was on the topic of crazy foods, I figured it would be a great idea to share my post for this week’s Flashback Friday.

Here is the post:

  • The 6 Oddest Foods That I’ve Ever Tried

The post was originally published on June 24, 2013.

a plate of food on a table
Cuy (Guinea Pig)

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been catching up on watching my recordings of the Travel Channel show Bizarre Foods America. In the show Andrew Zimmern travels around the U.S. seeking out “weird and wonderful” foods. When Andrew first came onto Travel Channel with his show Bizarre Foods, he traveled all over the world looking to see what the locals eat, learning a lot about the people and their customs.

While watching the show, it got me thinking. I decided to put together a top 6 list of odd foods that I’ve tried during my travels.

Here is my list (in no particular order):

1- Cuy- Guinea Pig: Peru

I had to try cuy on my visit to Peru. I decided to give it a try while spending a few days in Cusco. Getting over looking at the guinea pig was the first challenge. Trying to eat around all of the tiny bones was the next issue. Difficulties aside, I found the meat to be a bit greasy and gamey. There also wasn’t a whole lot to eat from the animal. Regardless of this, I think guinea pig is a must try if you visit Peru.
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a man and woman standing next to each other
Purchasing the hormigas
2- Hormigas Culonas- (Fat Ass Ants): Colombia
We saw a woman selling this delicacy in the main square in Bogota. After some thought, we decided to buy a small packet of the hormigas for about the equivalent of 50 cents US. Kim tried one first and got it down like a champ. I found them to be pretty disgusting and dry, which made them hard to swallow.. I offered a dog in our hostel some hormigas and he trotted off pretty fast. I’d give this a pass unless you really want to taste an insect.
a cup of soup with a spoon
Cow Heel Soup
3- Cow Heel Soup: Trinidad
I first heard of this dish from Bizarre Foods. While at a (very) local food market one night, I wandered around and asked the vendors about their foods. I was offered a taste of Cow Heel Soup so I had to accept. It took a while for me to get up the nerve to take a taste of the cow heel. The thought of it alone skeeved me out. The texture was gelatinous and very hard to swallow. It’s not on my list of things to try again.
a group of bowls of food
Mud- (on right )
4- Mud- Peru:
This might be the oddest thing I’ve ever tried. We were at a local village on a day trip while staying near Lake Titicaca. The locals had some mud, corn, cheese  and other things set out. One of the villagers started to mix up mud in a bowl and offered everyone a taste. One guy stepped up and tried it. Then I dared another guy to go for it. He said if I would try it next he would give it a taste. We both tried the mud which was creamy and tasteless. I’m not sure what else anyone would expect here!
a plate of food on a table
5- Stingray- Singapore:
The stingray looked weird prior to being cooked but smelled great once it was brought to our table. This was one of the pricier dishes at a local hawker market in Singapore. The sting ray was a bit spicy due to the sambal (chili) rubbed on top. I was really impressed with how tasty the stingray was. It also had great texture and was pretty heavy, almost comparable to a steak. I’d definitely order stingray again and highly recommend trying it if you visit Singapore.
a plate of food with a lemon wedge
Sorry for the blurry Zebra!

6- Zebra Carpaccio- Namibia:
Earlier in the day I had an incredible zebra steak for lunch so when I saw zebra carpaccio on the restaurant’s dinner menu, I had to give it a try. I’d say at least 6-7 people from my tour group ordered the dish as an appetizer. The meat was served raw and came thinly sliced. The zebra tasted very fresh and was covered with oil and parmesan cheese. Everyone really enjoyed the dish but my stomach did not agree with it the following morning. I’m not sure that the carpaccio was really to blame. Out of the group of us that tried it, only one other person besides me felt sick. I have to say though, I’ve avoided any kind of carpaccio since!

What are some of the oddest foods that you’ve ever tried? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Well that wraps up this week’s Flashback Friday.
Are you an adventurous eater? If so please answer the question from my original post in the comments below.

6 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: The 6 Oddest Foods That I’ve Ever Tried

  1. 1) Turtle – grilled. Tasted like chicken. Not worth the effort though. Not much skin on bones. In Japan at a Teacher’s Thank you luncheon for the school.
    2) Stingray in South Korea. Yuck! Turned my stomach. Holiday Inn Breakfast Buffet, Seoul.
    3) Cho Dofu- Stinky tofu – smells like vomit – tastes like a burnt rubber raquetball, or what I believe this would taste like – in Taiwan.
    4) Ants. In soda. In Bali. I forgot that that was the soda can left outside to attract ants away from my bunk. Yuck! Yuck! and double yuck!
    5) Bird’s Nest Soup – surprisingly good. Made from sticks and bird’s saliva. Open mind, open mind , try new things, I did. Also, at same teacher’s luncheon as above.

    1. MaryE- Great list! I recently tried turtle soup in Pennsylvania and found the meat to be fine but the soup was not so great. I wonder how your stingray was prepared. Kim and I really enjoyed it in Singapore. I love your ants comment- ill! I was close to trying bird’s nest soup in Bangkok but didn’t do it. Maybe we should next time we see it on a menu! While on a boat tour from Phuket, we got to see the stilts in the caves that they climb to scrape down the birds nests for the soup.

  2. Andy O.- Nice list there! Shirako sounds pretty nasty. Mountain chicken- I love the name! I had snake in Cambodia and even got to cook it myself! I enjoyed it.

    Ben- How were the rabbit meatballs? Haggis is a good one, I passed trying it in Scotland. Fried Mars- LOL. I’ve had quite a few fried snack cakes/ candy bars. Pretty interesting stuff.

    Audra- Great list! I’m not sure that I could eat fish stomachs although I’m guessing it might be similar to tripe. Goat testicles- no thanks, good for you for trying it! lol
    Donkey stir-fry, I’d try it but after hearing your comments, maybe it would be better to skip.

  3. Actually, enjoyed cui and stingray.
    1. Fish stomachs with greens (Vietnam) – was delicious!
    2. Grilled goat testicles (Vietnam) – not so much…my main disagreement was with texture (guys may find a more personalized objection with this dish)
    3. Donkey stir-fry (China) – not at all; might have been better as a carpaccio – parmiggiano and cracked pepper can work miracles!

  4. Had rattlesnake and rabbit meatballs in Kalamazoo,MI, of all places. Agree with Andy O., not much to say about it. Is haggis exotic enough? If not, does fried Mars bar make the list (had both in Edinburgh).

  5. 1. Shirako is the milt, or sperm sacs, of male cod. It has a consistency like tofo and no overwhelming taste. Had it in Taiwan.
    2. Fish toungues. I kid you not. A small dish with at least one hundred little toungues puled from fish. Actually tasted a lot like tongue dishes from other animals. Had it in Taiwan
    3. Mountain chicken (rat). Really tasty when barbequed. Lots of little bones to eat around. Had it in Taiwan.
    4. Rattlesnake: Yes, it tastes like chicken. Had it in California foothills.

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