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The Gastronauts: A Club for People Who Eat Really Weird Things

I love to try unusual types of meat -- alligators, frogs, ostriches and more -- so this is totally the club for me. The Gastronauts is an organization in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. that brings people together to eat weird items:

At their last gathering in New York they ate balut, which is a Philippine snack of boiled fertilised duck egg.

''There's a reason why people eat this stuff,'' Calleo said. ''In many cases, cultures have had hundreds of years to make the food palatable or even exquisite.''

While no one is forced to eat anything, he said the goal is to ''try to try'', which reflects the group's spirit of culinary adventure. [...]

At the October Gastronauts dinner at a Yemeni restaurant Bab Al Yemen in New York, Nicole Murray, an assistant editor at an education company, extracted a piece of eyeball from a cooked lamb skull and brought it toward her mouth as those seated around her cheered.

''It's kind of jelly-like,'' she said, during her first Gastronauts dinner.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

Link | Official Website | Photo: Gastronauts

You'd be surprised how many of those kinds of meats pretty much fall under four categories: Tastes like chicken; tastes like pork; tastes like beef; tastes fishy.

I'm sure there's a Neatorama post that observed exactly that, but I can't find it at the moment.

I've had alligator and emu before, and I honestly would like to try other exotic animals just to say that I did (where are those lion tacos, again?). Hey, animals are delicious...
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There's a club for this? In LA? I'm there.

I've had what they listed under the LA club except for beaver tail (no comment). And I've had balut a few times. Chinese 100 year old egg. Calf's brains. Eye balls. All of those wonderful offal parts. Gator and emu, sure. Sea urchin? My favorite. Monk fish liver. Jelly fish. Sea cucumber is not so good, really. Escargot is like bacon. But that's just meat. Durian. That's the stuff that scares people. I love it.
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Pondegi in Korea. Pondegi are boiled silkworm grubs, a traditional snack, which are sold on street corners from steaming pots. The server sells the grubs in a Dixie cup, with a toothpick for spearing. If anyone reading wants to try it, canned pondegi is available from Asian markets.

I thought they tasted like warm dirt, but then again, I was drunk.
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I've seen those canned worms whenever I go to the local Korean market.
Hmm... weirdest thing I've ever eaten... erm.. when I was a kid, for some reason I used to eat ants :P No idea why I did it, I just remember that I did. *shrugs*
As a grown up... hmm... I dunno, I don't really consider anything I eat weird.
Had alligator for the first time a few months ago. Wasn't bad. Also had frog leg. Frog leg certainly LOOKS like chicken but tastes nothing like it, so not sure where that came from. It tasted like very overcooked fish.
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Weird is in the eye of the beholder. I'm Vietnamese, and grew up with balut - so I never thought it was that strange. I also love fish eyes and cartilage. One person's weird is another's delicacy :D

I've had alligator, dragonfly, meal worms, turtle, frog legs, snails and all sorts of offal. Ox tongue is fantastic in BBQs
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1. Ostrich meat cooked with black pepper corns
2. Monitor lizard meat soup
3. Horse meat sashimi (this one didn't go down well)
4. Flying fox (giant bat)
5. Black squirrel herbal soup
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@John Farrier Dragonfly tasted like soft shell crab. I had it with sauteed button mushrooms - It was at an insectorium in New Orleans so I got a stamp saying I ate a bug.

I've also had horse sashimi -
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Love frog legs.

@juls - only had ostrich (like lean beef) - would love to try those others. I've heard horse meat is quite good - was it flavor or the thought of horse that made it difficult?

@JustJD - Yes, I've had BBQ ox tongue in Japanese restaurants, quite good. And cartilage in pho is my usual order - tender and wonderful. I have yet to have an opportunity to eat insects.
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@mikerbaker - They also do a battered/deep fried chicken cartilage when I was in Japan, not sure if it's a common thing though

I found raw nature of horse difficult after a few - I love salmon sashimi and such, but even those my body doesn't handle a big amount of it
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I've had alligator, crawfish, and frog legs, but those aren't considered weird at all. And since I don't like seafood, I don't get all that adventurous. I used to think goat meat was weird, but I've eaten it enough to think otherwise now. One man's "weird" is another man's dinner.
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I've had kittens, dogs, small monkeys in Brazil and dolphins. I normally like to kill the animals I eat but unfortunately I didn't get to kill the dolphin. Hopefully I'll go to Japan next year and kill one. :-)

Oh, also had live fish and turtles.
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Between working in China and the traditional wild game of Canada, I've eaten a LOT of weird stuff.

Off the top of my head: horse, cicadas, mealworms, sea cucumber, turtle, moose, seal flipper, yak, calf testicles, grasshoppers, reindeer, scorpions, jellyfish, fish eyes, chicken feet/hearts.

Plus there's all the not-really-weird things like ox tongue, frogs, snails, elk, and bison.

I almost got to try camel at a Xinjiang-style restaurant in Shanghai, but it was about $200CAD for the dish.

I've also eaten some of the strongest and most foul-smelling foods: chou doufu (stinky tofu), durian, and surströmming.
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