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10 Weird Gourmet Foods

The luxury world of the couture is an interesting place. People are always on the search for the newest, most shocking art or fashion to impress their other rich friends. The culinary world is no exception. While there are still people who love their lobster and fillet mignon, many modern chefs like to experiment with the newest and craziest ingredients, while others like to reach back deep into the past -say, the middle ages- for inspiration. As a result, there are some gourmet foods that are just too out there for the average man and woman to even begin to comprehend. I invite you, my friends, to travel this weird world with me, the strange land of the couture gourmets.

10. Ortolan

Eating a roasted bird isn't really that crazy, but the process leading up to the roasting of Ortolan birds has actually caused France to declare it illegal for humane reasons. Ortolan birds are nocturnal, sparrow-like birds. To prepare them for cooking, the live birds are trapped in a dark box. The darkness messes with their eating schedule and causes them to continually eat until they are about two to three times their original size. After a proper level of obesity has occurred, the birds are drowned in brandy or other liquor and then, finally, roasted.

Funny how a country that defends fois gras even finds this practice too barbaric. If tortured animals make yummier meals, than this little guy must be quite a treat.


9. Canard à la Rouennaise (Duck in Blood Sauce)

Have you ever ate a duck and thought, “I could get so much more out of those bones and guts?” If so, Canard à la Rouennaise is right up your alley. Basically, the recipe takes a nice roast duck, then places the carcass in a press and crushes the juice out of everything left over. The result is a very bloody, very rich “sauce” that can cost around $1000 a plate.

While the presentation may be quite interesting, as they crush the duck right at your table, I just can't understand paying that much for some blood. I know a lot of people love marrow, but isn't this just too crazy?


8. Huitlacoche (Corn Fungus)

Corn smut is a fungus that destroys corn crops. Like many indigenous people, early villagers decided to make the most out of a bad situation and ate the fungus that took over their crop. Nowadays, the smut is considered to be quite a delicacy and sometimes costs more than corn itself.

This is the only thing on this list I have actually ate, of course, that's probably because I don't have the money to be a real gourmet foodie. Surprisingly, it's very delicious if you get it from a good restaurant -preferably one actually in Mexico. It's similar to mushrooms and quite has a nice aroma.

Source (Photo: Zampano [Flickr])

7. Durian

Many people claim durian is quite good. The smell however, is one of the worst things on Earth. It is said that you can smell the durian fruit stands from all the way down the street. Some hotels and airports refuse to let people bring the fruit inside for fear that it will chase away their customers.

While many people hate the fruit -smell is closely associated with taste after all, many people are quite passionate about their love of durian. The fruit is said to be strongly flavored and savory, with a custard-like texture. Anthony Bordain may have described it the best when he said, "its taste can only be described as...indescribable, something you will either love or despise. ...Your breath will smell as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother."

Source (Photo: Sama Sama - Massa [Flickr])

6. Live Baby Octopus

[YouTube Link]

Here's a food that wouldn't be so strange if it was served in any other manner. Even other foods eaten alive, like shrimp aren't that strange, the main thing here is the whole life-threatening thing. Live octopi can choke you with their moving tentacles. It's a real-life kill or be killed situation.

Dipping your dinner in alcohol is said to help knock them out momentarily and make them less deadly, but that is to be debated. Truly skilled baby octopi eaters will barely chew their meals before gulping them down, but amateurs generally choose to chew them thoroughly -which can take up to 15 minutes. As you can see in the video, eating the treat can be quite a challenge for a novice.


5. De Jaeger (Snail Caviar)

French foodies flip over a lot of things, but two things they hold close to heart are caviar and escargot. So a pair of snail farmers thought, “why not combine them?” The flavor is said to be delicate and quite nice, but from what I hear, most people still prefer caviar.

The process to making snail caviar is a carefully guarded secret by the couple who invented it. We do know it involves very happy snails getting freaky in a huge barn and a hand review all of the eggs to make sure they are up to par. Between there being only one supplier and requiring quite tedious harvesting, all done by hand, the price of the snail caviar is quite high -about $82 an ounce to be more specific.

Source (Photo: Fr Antunes [Flickr])

4. Bird Nest Soup

Bird nest soup, as the name suggests, is created using nests created by the nests of cave swifts. These specific birds create their nest from their own saliva, which hardens into a sort of shell. When boiled, the nest creates a unique flavor and jelly-like consistency that is quite popular in many parts of Asia -at least, amongst those who can afford it. The nests are one of the most expensive animal products consumed by humans. Just one bowl of the soup costs between $30 and $100 American dollars.

Of the multiple species of cave swifts that create these nests, the most expensive nests come from in a red shaded and are said to have additional medicinal qualities. These health benefits range from curing asthma to boosting the immune system to aiding digestion. Like many medicinal meals from the East though, this has not been scientifically proven as of yet.


3. Balut (Duck Fetus Egg)

Photo: Chadedwardxxx [Flickr]

Surely you've heard the urban legend that someone bought a carton of eggs, cracked one open and found a chicken fetus inside? Well, this is sort of the same thing, except it's not an urban legend and it's a duck instead of a chicken. Oh yeah, and it's on purpose.

Basically, you take your fertilized egg, boil it and there's your meal. Most people seem to eat the egg around the fetus and then snack down the baby duckling bones and all. The “ripeness” of the egg varies from country to country, but it can be eaten any time from being boneless and tiny to pretty much being baby ducks with tender bones and beaks.



2. Kopi Luwak (Poop Coffee)

I must admit, it was hard to choose the ranking positions for this list. It's hard to compare duck fetus to corn fungus to killer octopi, but I have to say that coffee beans that have been partially digested definitely deserve a place in the top three. If the title or photo of this one hasn't given it away already, let me be clear. Kopi Luwak is a very popular coffee blend right now, despite the fact that the beans get their special flavor by being eaten and then pooped out by a civet -a cute mammal from South-east Asia.

The coffee is one of the most expensive brews in the world, selling for between $120 and $600 a pound. Because the digestive enzymes of the civets break down the proteins in the beans that ordinarily make coffee bitter, the blend is naturally sweeter.


1. Casu Marzu (Maggot Cheese)

Casu Marzu is a sheep's milk cheese loaded with writhing, live fly larva. It is illegal in many countries for its obvious health dangers, but for some reason, foodies still actively seek it out. Even worse, the cheese can become toxic after the maggots die, so it has to be eaten while they are still very alive. The texture is rather creamy and it is generally served on Sardinian flat bread. Dinners are expected to keep their hands over the cheese as they place it in their mouth because these larva can jump up to 15 cm -potentially right into dinner's eyes.

This is one of the only things on this list that makes me want to throw up just by looking at it. I mean, this is one food that almost makes Gordon Ramsay puke -that alone says how disgusting this specialty is. Flies are filthy and eating the living bodies and excrement of their larva is just not right, regardless of where you're from.


Have any of you ever experienced these foods? What did you think of them? If not, what was the weirdest thing you ever ate?

Interesting, I've seen #'s 9, 7, 5, 4, and 3 on the Bizarre foods program with Andrew Zimmern. That number 7 almost made Andrew hurl multiple times tells you something though Tony Bourdain seemed to like it on his show.
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Durian is truly one of the foods that you either love or hate. Heh. Kind of like smelly tofu I guess.

My parents own a herbal shop. I personally don't really believe in the health-enhancing properties that Birds Nest soup claims to have. But neverhteless, its yummy.
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I'm from the Philippines so I could say eating Durian (7) and Balut (3) is pretty common. Balut tastes good specially if you swallow the fetus whole. :p Good choice for number 1. I wouldn't want to try that.. ever.
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i still think oysters are weird, who the hell cracked one of those bad boys open and thought "mmmm, that looks tasty"? and don't even get me started on milk
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I used to eat durian and balut eggs regularly and quite fond of them. Especilally durian, the stronger the smell the better. It's strange that I don't feel the smell of durian bad at all but more like a very nice, adicted fagrant.I have tried bird nest but was not impressed by it.
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I'm from Malaysia and durians are wonderful :). During the fruiting season, you find them everywhere in supermarkets and on the roadside.

Not sure if it counts as a gourmet food here because the goring rate is about 10-20 Malaysian ringgit for 3 fruits. Of course this depends on the quality. A good durian should have a soft or slightly firm flesh with a uniform colour. The flesh of most durians are yellow or a variation of the shade but some varieties are red or even blue (very expensive and rare, I've never seen any).

Birds nest soup is also available in Malaysia. Traditionally they are collected from limestone caves using bamboo ladders. If I'm not mistaken, traders use to come from China to get them. Nowdays they are more or less farmed. People make buildings that look like caves then collect the ensuing nest. They are called swiftlet hotels. To attract the birds the 'farmers' play recording of other swiftlet communities.
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You need to add San Zhi Er or Three Screams (eating new-born mice).

The diners would order mice that had just been born and a plate of sauce. The baby mouse would scream first when a diner seized it with a pair of chopsticks. It would scream a second time when it was dipped into the seasonings and its last scream was emitted as it entered the diner's mouth.
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a relative brought a durian home once. it smells like rotten onions shoved into an old gym sock. the flesh looks like a boneless skinelss chicken breast thats been left in the sun for too long. when you first bite into it the first thing you notice is how juicy it is...and how that juice and texture feels like your eating concentrated plague scraped from the teeth of dead people.
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i was surprised not to find the tiger blowfish in your list.Fugu is the Japanese word for pufferfish and is also a Japanese dish prepared from the meat of pufferfish (normally species of Takifugu, Lagocephalus, or Sphoeroides) or porcupinefish of the genus Diodon. Because pufferfish is lethally poisonous if prepared incorrectly, fugu has become one of the most celebrated and notorious dishes in Japanese cuisine.
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it's amazing, very tasty and i've eaten with eyes closed...but it's not yet illegal, they procastinate the illegal date...
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Hi, I'm french so I used to eat some things you don't use to I think.

I have already eaten snails, frogs, duck in blood sauce (you forgot one thing ... the duck has to be strangled to be good in the recipe), Durian (used to be a traditional recipe in french island "La Réunion" under the name "Ti'jacques"), steamed (duck or chicken) feet (dim sun - chinese food), wasp larva (La Réunion french island, a traditional recipe).
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i have a friend from guam. he told me that balut sounds awful, but it tastes pretty good. he also told me that some people will let the egg "ferment".
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This list reminded me of "Steve, don't eat it" blog (already mentioned by Fishbowl above).
I´m brazilian, and regarding our food culture here, none of these foods are common. Seriously, if I have to pick one (like 'eat it or I'll kill your mom'), It would be the coffee. I have read that the poop is totally "purified" and cleaned, and all the impurities removed.

Here in Brazil there are some odd foods like ant-butts (toasted), Jatoba (a dry fruit that smells like mailmen socks after a hard work day) and testicles. Bull, goat and chicken testicles - most common on the country.
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Not really gourmet food bu how does fermented Walrus sound?
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I had durian once. Yes, it did taste like custard and yes, my breath smelled like i had been sucking on a sewer pipe.

The thing with Balut is that the feotus is the least of your worries. The duckling is quite nice and tender, but the yolk is very, very strong tasting, almost brine-like.

Another philipino delicacy is Dinuguan, or blood pudding or stew. Pork is simmered with tripe and thickend with pig's blood. It is quite good with steamed rice, but very rich and mildly reminiscent of chocolate.

There is also a corsican cheese similar to casu marzu in which the cheese is filled with small chese mites, leaving the cheese flecked with small black specks.

I grew up in a small fishing village on the southwestern tip of nova scotia, Canada, and I grew up eating raw quahogs.
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My wife (who is from Cambodia) eats the "Duck Fetus Egg" all the time. It's usually called "egg bluten", and it's every bit as horrifying as it looks, lol. Whenever my wife gets one out of the refrigerator she always offers it to me laughingly- because she KNOWS I won't eat it. I always sing out, "All for youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!" lol

One other comment on the Durian fruit. It is delicious, almost like cocaine in fruit form. It really is good, damn near addictive. The smell can vary from "not so bad" to "OMG I'm going to puke", but it's so good that you won't care about the smell. Most of the hotels in Cambodia and Vietnam have signs in the lobby and near the elevators prohibiting you from bringing Durian fruit up to your room. (We would sneak it in anyway.) Here in the US, we sometimes freeze it and eat it while frozen- it's very delicious that way. See the spiky things on the skin? They're hard, sharp, and dangerous...if one of these babies fell onto your head it would be all over for you. No joke.

Mike <= hey, visit us!
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I lived in Seoul for a year, and had live octopus (Sang Nak-ji) shortly before I left. I was cut-up just before being put on the table, however--that prevents the whole thing from being stuck in your throat.

The tenticles continue to move for over half an hour. It's difficult to get off the plate, because they cling there and move around. One tenticle crawled off the plate and tried to escape.

While slightly disturbing to eat, I can honestly say that it tasted a little better than really-fresh dead octopus.

Not that that's a high goal to exceed.
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Eating live baby octopi is just cruel. They are very intelligent creatures and probably realize what is about to happen to them. They are trying to escape! Does PETA know about this?
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Correction to above:

Sorry, *it* was cut up before serving.

I wasn't fully-cut until after the meal (which, as the article states, is served with Korean alcohol (Soju).
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PETA kills animals, and while I am not going to get into that discussion here, I wouldn't be so quick to judge other cultures and their food preparation methods. Just because something seems cruel or disgusting to us doesn't really mean anything, and no one, PETA included, is going to stop them.

I personally would be willing to try most of the things on this list if I were drunk enough or put on the spot by my host. Well, except the live octopus and the maggot cheese, though I hear the latter is actually quite delicious if you can get past the maggots, which I know I can't.
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Hi all, i'm sardinian and i have eaten the casu marzu a couple of time.
Some people simply take out the worms from the cheese (so it seems less weird) and i have to admit that the flavour is sooooo good.
Sorry for the bad english :)
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I've seen durian, but I don't think I've ever tried it. I have had a similar fruit though, Jackfruit. The jackfruit is mostly just a physically larger version of the durian, spiky on the outside, smells like rotting onions, but it is sweet on the inside. You eat the flesh around the large seeds. The interesting bit occurs after you've eaten the fruit, because it leaves a sticky silicone like sap on your hands that will not come off with any kind of soap. You first have to rub oil on your hands then clean it all of with dish soap. Oh, and it's also the largest tree bourn fruit in the world (up to 80 lbs).
I'll pass on most everything else on your list though.
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I've had three of those -live octopus in Korea, duck eggs in Cambodia and Laos, and Durian various places.

The octopus I had was cut up and served with a light sesame oil sauce. It was nice, but nothing to write home about and certainly not worrying. While the suckers do stick to your mouth slightly, the only time it's really dangerous is if you're utterly drunk. Of course, that's exactly when someone is likely to think eating live octopus is a good idea. I would eat it again if offered, but I think it tastes better cooked.

The duck eggs were rather foul. I had mine served with salt and lime juice. The lime was reasonably effective at covering up the nasty flavor and I managed a few of them, but I still needed quite a bit of drink to wash the taste away.

Durian shouldn't even be on this list in my opinion. It smells awful, yes, but the taste is incredible.

Not on the list, but worth nominating:

Thousand year eggs or century eggs from all over China and southeast Asia. They're duck eggs preserved in salt, lime and ash. It turns the eggs black and leaves them with a pungent greasy eggy sulphury taste. I thought it was terrible, but I think I can see how they'd be an acquired taste.

I tried pig fetus soup in Laos that tasted quite good, actually, but you have to get past the fact that you have half a pig fetus dangling out of your mouth.

Basically, the problem with most of these things is psychological. If you actually stop and think about many of the foods we eat, some of them are pretty odd. We're just used to them and not these.
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One time I ordered a "rabbit and thin noodle soup" for take-out. the rabbit bit turned out to be rabbit jaws, complete with little teeth and a little bit of lip hair. I tried to eat just the noodles but I got a little tooth in my mouth and wasn't hungry anymore. I think I would eat anything on that list so long as I was with other people eating it. I really want to try the baby octopus.
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Being from the PI. I would have to say I looooove durian. Balut I never cared for. It is like liver. People always say "Oh well, you haven't tried it the way my Lola prepares it..blah blah."
I like the broth, but that is it.

I have had the corn fungus. That was great. The flavor and texture reminded me of maybe grits prepared with truffle oil.
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Intriguing post as usual, but so many errors due to not proofreading!! I'm fresh out of college and would love to proofread for you guys...whaddya think??? :o)
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I work for a coffee roasting company and a few months ago we got a gift of those beans. Our company made small half-cups for all of us to try (about a $25 serving). Now, keeping in mind I'd never spend that much on a cup of coffee no matter how good it was, I really have to say that it was the best coffee I've ever had. Its very smooth.
They are de-shelled and cleaned and all that good stuff before they are roasted, so I actually think they are the least gross of the list.
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Live octopus is pretty good, but not nearly as good as live sea urchin. You crack them in half and scoop out the insides with a spoon (half of it is yellowish brain textured stuff and the other half is brownish-black snot textured goop). It has a pleasant taste and doesn't fight back like octopus. The halved shells will walk across the table of their own accord for a long time.

Sea cucumber is weird...and i ate some things in Korea that i couldn't even identify except that they came out of the ocean.
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Ortolan is actually delicious, especially since it is eaten whole. The juicy flesh combined with the crispy bones is a delicasy that compares with nothing.
Of course the way the birds are caught -sometimes also using glue sticks- is 'inhumane', but also the eating of the birds (usaually 3, since they weigh about 50 gram each) is considered unfit to do in company. Hence, the french eat their Ortolane with a napkin covering their head and hands!
Incidentally, Ortolane was the last meal former French president Mitterand had before he died...
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As someone who enjoys eating durian I'm always amazed at how imaginative the descriptions of those who don't like it can get!

Although I'd guess if you don't like the smell (the first sense you get) I wonder why some have gone on to actually eat it?
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I've not had any of the things on this list- but I had one thing that just got to me... and it seems mild in comparison to this stuff. We were guests at some Ukrainian friends'; they'd butchered a cow not long before that and saved the 'best' part for us... the udder. I think it was first boiled and then fried. Had a texture like organ meat but flavor was not quite like that.

Honestly, I don't know how you'd get the stuff in the post above down the hatch... I nearly got sick looking at some of the pix!
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That duck blood thing doesn't seem too complicated to replicate at home. I could re-purpose a bench vise. I wonder how the carcass is treated (spices, etc), or if the sauce is treated after.

Agreed. Why 1000$ a plate? We're missing something here.
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Oh man. Some of these really made my skin crawl. But I guess when I start traveling around the World. It wouldn't hurt to try them at least once. No live animals though...that's one thing I'm not gonna touch.
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the worst thing that I ever ate was jellyfish. impossible to chew, tasteless, like chewing water. I would add geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck) to the list of weird foods that people eat but i don't think it's a delicacy. It's a slimy sea creature that looks like a penis and lives in the mud. It's actually a clam. a giant penis clam. There's also a shark delicacy that involves burying the shark in the ground and eating it when it's rotten. I forget what that's called.
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Forg, I like jellyfish. I think it depends on how it's cooked though, it takes on the flavors of what it is cooked with.

The shark thing is called Karal I think. It looks foul.
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Some corrections and a comment.

1) It is subject to debate whether or not fois gras is torturous to the geese or ducks. Some believe that, as they don't have gag reflexes and do not shy away from their feeders, that it does not hurt them. Other believe that forcing feeding at rates at which they normally only eat when getting ready to migrate obviously/must hurt them. The answer is not clear.

2) Anyone who says that "Canard à la Rouennaise (Duck in Blood Sauce)" can cost up to $1000 a plate is being ridiculous. That's like saying thar houses can cost up to $50 million, cars can cost up to $200,000 or Americans have net worts as high as $50 billion (they can, but those are not any where near typical cases). This dish, at the restaurant cited as the source, is less than 1/10 that. It's less than $100 (depending on the exchange rate). I know because I've had it there. And I also know that a main reason why the dish is so expensive there is that everything is expensive there -- because the entire restaurant has this amazing view of the Notre Dame (the Cathedral in Paris). Tour D'Argent.

3) You claim that pressed duck can cost $1000, and then are impressed with a $30-$100 soup? On that same trip to France, (by the way my wife and I went to to France to spend too much money on food) we went to Chez Bocuse -- one of the great restaurants in the world. There, we saw a $80 (80 euro?) bowl of soup, a specality of the restaurant. "Truffle soup V.G.E." Excellent soup, but not crazy exotic or anything. (And we wouldn't order it again, at that price.)
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Here's another strange one: Century Egg

And another: Sheep's Head Soup

(my dad used to eat this. there's nothing quite like coming home from school to find a sheep skull in the sink...)
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Saw some traffic heading to my site from here so thought I'd check it out. Love the post, I actually had some of these on my list of things to write about when I get chance.

Personally I'd love to try Live Baby Octopus ... maybe next year when I head out to Asia on Honeymoon =0)
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Unnecessary to put pictures up on the main page. A posted link with a "warning - some images are graphic" would have been fine. I'll never be able to get the image of "blood sauce" and baby duck fetus out of my head, and those images GREATLY disturbed me.
Neatorama - epic FAIL.
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Huitlacoche is somewhat common in authentic Mexican restaurants here in Los Angeles. I would recommend folks give it a try. It has an earthy, mushroom taste and is particularly good with cheese and epazote (an anise-y/cilantro like herb). Of course I'm of Mexican of heritage so I might have some bias.
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I've tried the coffee; unlike the others this was pretty normal in a way because, well, it's just drinking a cup of coffee. I always drink my coffee white; if I have it black I need sugar to take the bitterness away. With weasel coffee though it was sweet and creamy without milk and sugar - really smooth. It genuinely tasted better than normal food, rather than just wierder.
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I remember the exact moment that I "acquired" the taste for durian. Growing up in Asia, my parents always buy durians when they're ripe (durian season). I tasted (and spat out) the stinky fruit year after year, until one day ... it actually tasted good!
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the cheese, in case any of you were wondering why the like it with worms, the worms arent the actual flavor, but after they eat it and excrete it, it has a much creamier flavor.
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I live in Malaysia and want to add some things to the list. Cattle parts.

I have had buffulo brains (in coconut milk sauce), cow hoofs (soup), stomach (soup).

A friend of mine has eaten cow skin. The skin is smoked and dried to preserve it. Its cooked in a kind of soup. Bull penis soup is also availible, called "torpedo soup".
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i m from malaysia.. the comments on durian smell makes me smile! Like kissing dead people, sewer tank, plaque on someone's teeth! hahhaha! i love durians!it's cheap too. I consider myself lucky that i get to eat durian quite regularly that sometimes i just take it for granted and not really appreciate it's uniqueness. Durian is so special that ir's the only thing on the list that's not of animal!

Bird's nest is not too bad also.It's sweet. As for balut.. an aunt forced us to have a spoonful when i was a kid and i gagged.. i can't even remember the taste
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In Singapore, the Durian is very common. During its season, some stalls even set up tables and chairs for patrons to buy and immediately eat there and then.
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Well, it is true that man will eat everything that will not poison him. difference in tastes comes from cultural differences because for somebody some food is delicious, while for somebody is disgusting and vice versa.
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I've done #6 and #7. Shoulda put fermented skate on the list. Pretty challenging stuff.

Re: Comment #2 -- I hung out with Andrew Zimmern for a couple of days when they shot their show in Korea, and he adamantly doesn't like durian, though he's tried. I personally like it. He said that with so many other great fruits to eat in southeast Asia, why would anyone want to eat THAT??
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i had the casu marzu when i visited some ancient relatives in italy, it doesnt taste as bad as youd imagine, but it doesnt taste that grat either.
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I love these kinds of posts... not that I'd eat anything from them. The worst one for me? Balut. I mean, they are all nasty (maggot cheese? ICK!!) but a duck fetus? That's a whole 'nother level.
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my impression of durian (served at an indonesian restaurant, chilled over ice, for dessert) was that it tasted a bit like french onion soup, or onion gravy, that had been sweetened with some sort of syrup. very much the taste of an allium, with hints of similar sulphide compounds. but, again...sweet.
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hmm.. i've tried live octopus (san nak ji) once, balut twice and durian countless of times!!!

i couldn't really stomach balut so i just let my friend eat it... some of the baluts are just a few days old from birth so the fetus resembles more like an egg yolk.. while some older ones already have feathers.
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and what about Rotten Shark Meat in Iceland ??
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#8. I've had CORN FUNGUS in Mexico, and it's actually quite delicious. To me it tastes like a hybrid between mushroom and seaweed.

#7. My mother, sister, and brother LOVE DURIAN. They think it's the most delicious thing ever. To me the taste is almost as bad as the smell. I was surprised to see it on Fear Factor once.

#3. I think I've had BALUT EGGS when I was younger but I can't remember.

Some other things I used to eat quite regularly growing up in a Vietnamese household were: CONGELATED PORK BLOOD, PORK EARS, and COW TONGUE. I used to love all three.

In Peru, I ate some ALPACA. It wasn't that good.

I also had some GUINEA PIG, also known as CUY. It was deep-fried, tasted like fried chicken, and smelled like a pet store.

You can see a picture of the FRIED GUINEA PIG HERE:
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as a young first generation canadian born asian, i admit none of these things are very very odd to me, having the benefit of consistent exposure from the early onset of childhood and integration of traditional asian culture with that of canadian culture. for the maggot cheese and corn fungus of which are vomit inducing to say the least.

the stench of durian is something i've been long accustomed to, that aside, it is quite good. although i've been losing my taste for it, having the inclination for other very specific things. (i'm a pretty picky eater)
i've had bird's nest soup before from my parents... even upon discovering its origins. its 'health benefits' granted, had been elaborated on... and although its not proven (being more inclined towards science myself), some of the ancient traditional medicinal herbs do work, miraculously, such as the bird's nest. my beloved aunt is quite a good storyteller, and doesn't exaggerate on too much -it was given to me as such, no negotiations or contradiction to your elders: its expensive and composed of the saliva of birds, its good for you, so eat it.

balut -something very common in phillipino culture. my friend spoke of how she heard of its properties granting temporary intellectual abilities and how she had it regularly as a snack whilst still living in the phillipines prior to exams. i found that a bit disgusting at the time but shortly after, had a recollection of my parents or some other explaining a similar circumstance. interesting...

live octopus, common in korea... -as a child, i liked seafood. therefore, i ate octopus. cooked. i no longer enjoy seafood and least of all, octopus. but it was pretty good before my food discrimation stage :]

duck blood -my friend had it for breakfast recently... (say maybe 3 days ago) well, or blood pudding? something congealed in that sense.

snail caviar -my mother had a whole lot ordered at some point. two binfuls i must say? i never set foot inside my kitchen for the slightest purpose for that entire week. ;[

that's it for my half asian experience :]
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Well, people will probably eat anything that can be eaten. Even if it is not edible, it does not matter. That maggot cheese is really disgusting.
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