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August 22, 2014

9 Grossest International Delicacies


They say “to each their own,” but that’s only acceptable up to a certain point. The 9 entries on this list are well past such points. No matter how different our cultures are, it’s hard to get excited about the disgusting fare that some countries regard as delicacies.

I’m sure that many people feel the same way about North American food, and that’s completely fine. I’m not trying to sell anyone on it. So long as I get to keep making fun of the gross stuff other cultures eat. I’ll practice tolerance in other facets, but not this one.

9. Hakarl – Rotten Shark

Shark is fine on its own; it’s just a big, meaty fish. So why those fermentation-obsessed Scandinavians feel the need to let it rot in a jar for weeks or even months until it doesn’t resemble anything close to food is beyond me. This stuff can clear out a room in short order, and that’s before it even makes it into your mouth.

Who orders this?

8. Kiviak – Seagull-Stuffed Seal

Nearby in Greenland, the inuits see what the Scandanavians are up to and say resolutely, “We’ll see your rotting shark and raise you a beheaded seal, stuffed with a de-feathered seagull, then stuffed under the ice for months, then eaten like there’s totally nothing wrong with it.”

And just for good measure, they dig the bird out of the seal carcass, bite the head of, and suck out the juices. I swear.

You win, Greenland. You sick bastards.

7. Balut – Duck Fetus

In the Phillipines, they’re not all about that fermentation route. Rather, they choose to be foul by boiling a fertilized duck egg and tearing into the cooked amniotic fluid and the still-soft-because-it’s-not-yet-formed duck beak and skull. Yay.

Since you asked, yes, the cooked egg membrane does form a brainy, egg-shaped barrier around the viscous material.

Let’s break for lunch.

6. Warthog Anus

In Namibia, they don’t have the luxury of being grossed out by their animals. They need to eat everything on the animal to feed their people, which makes complete sense. However, the cavalier preparation leaves a little something to be desired, as the intestine is ripped out, fecal matter squeezed out, then cooked just long enough to warm it.

They don’t have that at Denny’s.

5. Mice Wine

No, not “rice wine.” That’s sake. This is a Chinese health tonic made from baby mice drowned in rice wine, then fermented for a year. That’s right. Baby mice killed by drowning them in alcohol, then left to sit for 365 days. The only way it could be grosser is if the fermentation made it bubbly.

Oh, heavens, I’m going to vomit.

4. Monkey Brains

Who knew Indiana Jones was grounded in so many truths? Cambodians eat raw monkey brains, probably to acquire all that delicious, gelatinous monkey knowledge. Yum. Related note: Cambodians have recently taken to really enjoy bananas and flinging their own excrement at zoogoers.

Monkey brains are actually commonly available at most public markets, so if that’s your thing, make your way to Cambodia sooner rather than later. Get em’ while they’re cold!

3. Whale Sashimi

This has to be the most appetizing on this list. There was other, grosser stuff that I could have hit you guys with. But I figured right about now we could use a respite, so let’s enjoy what, by all accounts, is a bland, rubbery meat (which sounds delicious after entries #9-#4 on this list). While the dish is a Japanese delicacy (to the opposition of many animal rights groups), it seems to have made its way stateside, as a Santa Monica, CA restaurant was recently shut down as a result of having served it. Sorry, Willy.

2. Kutti Pi – Goat Fetus

Ok. Enough innocuous stuff. Back to goat fetus, which is pretty much what it sounds like. This dish is, strangely enough, pronounced “cutie pie,” which is quite misleading. The dish is an Indian delicacy and is often served to pregnant women for its medicinal benefits. You know, the benefits of eating an unborn goat?

1. Bull Penis

Yum. Predictably enough, this dish is considered an aphrodisiac. Especially to other cows. Just kidding. That’s probably insensitive to cows somehow. It’s described as rubbery, which is something I’m gonna let hang out there without comment. You can find this one stateside, often in soup.