Sometimes I look back on my years of traveling in my youth and realize that I spent so much time trying to recreate the comfort foods from home I didn’t even try many new dishes, let alone anything daring.
Here is a list of 10 daring foods that you should try on your next trip because what is a daring trip without trying daring food?
1) Century Egg, China
Dare you eat a century egg? Photo by Noema Perez.
Century Egg is a dish originated from and popular in China, thought to date back over 600 years.
The dish is created by curing duck, quail or chicken eggs in a mixture of ash, clay, salt, lime and rice hulls for weeks or months at a time. The “yolk” part of the egg can turn green or grey, while the “white” part of the egg can turn dark brown or black.
Century eggs are said to taste like bad cheese and smell like a mix of ammonia and sulfur.
2) Fugu, Japan
You know, for a potentially life endangering meal, that looks pretty appetizing. Photo by toyohara.
Japanese puffer fish, also known as Fugu, is renowned and notorious throughout the world as the toxic delicacy that must be prepared by expert chefs or else consumption risks death.
The puffer fish is very toxic. Its body produces the poison tetrodotoxin, which causes suffocation and the sensation of being awake in a totally paralyzed, lifeless-like body.
There is no antidote and accidental poisoning can result in death.
Well, the Japanese have been eating fugu for over 2,300 years, and only state-licensed chefs are allowed to prepare the dish. Fugu must be butchered carefully to remove the toxic part of the fish.
A fugu chef must work as an apprentice and train for up to three years just to get a license to serve the dish.
3) Balut, Philippines
What’s in the egg, man?! Photo by Dracular.
Balut is a 17-day old duck or chicken embryo boiled in its shell.
You break the shell and suck out the “soup,” or the bodily fluids of the chick. You then eat the barely formed body of a baby chick.
I have personally eaten this dish exactly one and a half times. It tasted like a cross between a boiled egg and meat stew broth.
This high protein Asian street food is to Filipinos as hot dogs are to Americans.
4) Haggis, Scotland
Boiled sheep heart, liver and lungs with a side of turnips and potatoes, elegantly served. Photo by add1sun.
Haggis is made by stuffing a sheep’s stomach with the heart, liver and various internal organs of a sheep as well as onion, oatmeal and spices.
It is then boiled for several hours before serving.
Haggis has a texture consistent with dry, lumpy, organ meat pudding.
5) Tiet Canh, Vietnam
Tiet Canh, or blood soup—well, if you dare to travel, dare to eat. Photo by Marco di Pisa.
In Vietnam, the local delicacy is Tiet Canh, or a type of raw blood soup.
Tiet Canh is made by collecting fresh, raw duck blood and mixing it with fish sauce to keep it from coagulating too quickly. Organ meats and peanuts are added, and it can be served with the blood coagulated or in a liquid form.
6) Suckling Pig, Asia, Europe and the US
So delicious yet so guilt inducing. Photo by Naka7a.
Suckling pig has a history that dates back to the 6th century and is popular throughout the world as a delicacy eaten at celebrations and especially popular in Spain.
It is hard to for some people to eat this dish, especially in Western culture, where slaughterhouse animals are butchered and rarely eaten or served whole.
Suckling pig is a baby pig that is only a few weeks old. Its flesh is extremely tender by feeding solely on the milk of its mother. The piglet is spiced, marinated and slow cooked for hours, producing savory white meat and crackling, pork rind skin.
7) Hakarl, Iceland
Who knew the pungent stench of ammonia was a delicacy? Photo by moonhaha.
Ok, how daring are you when it comes to cuisine? Would you try rotten shark?
Hakarl is popular in Iceland and may be a dish that was developed before industrial refrigeration.
A butchered shark is buried in a sandy hole for months and then hung to dry and ferment in a curing chamber for several more months. The taste of the shark has been described as being ammonia rich.
8) Bird’s Nest Soup, China
Bird’s nest soup – made from hardened saliva. Photo by capyeater.
This delicacy is one of the world’s most expensive dishes, with a few pounds of the raw nest pricing for thousands of dollars.
Bird’s nest soup is made by collecting the nests of cave swift birds. The nests are made from the hardened saliva of the bird.
9) Fried Alligator, Southern United States
Alligator—finger-licking good! Photo by I am Jeffrey.
Alligator is a delicacy long enjoyed in the Southern United States.
The taste has been compared to chicken or pork. The tail meat of the alligator is mostly used and is prepared and cooked like common meats, so you can eat alligator patties or nuggets.
10) Fried Brain Sandwich, Midwestern United States
Deep fried calf brain sandwiches. Photo by keaggy.com.
Fried Brain sandwiches are an American delicacy popular in the Midwestern United States and believed to be a dish handed down from German settlers in the area.
Fresh calf or pig brain is sliced, battered, fried and served like a hamburger on a bun with sides. The taste is compared to fried creaminess.
What’s the most daring delicacy you’ve ever eaten? Let me know in the comments below.
If you liked this, you might also like:35 Signs You’re a Travafoodaholic.
Main photo: a qualified chef preparing the Japanese puffer fish dish, Fugu. Photo by wukong 悟空 (Xuemin Guan).