In a time when people are experimenting with their food and coming up with culinary marvels ranging from irresistible to outright bizarre, weird food trends are emerging with insect based food reaching eateries and markets everywhere. While it may freak out some, there are several weird food items which have been popular for a long time in different places.
From traditional platters to popular street food, cuisine based on everything from insects to even rotten food has surprisingly been the favourite in many cultures, and here are some of the most unbelievable things considered fit for human consumption on the planet.
1. Escamoles, Mexico
Venomous ants are something one would probably stay away from but in Mexico people just can’t resist the taste of larvae which they get from roots of agave or maguey plants where ants lay their eggs. Served as a filling for tacos, this food item is said to taste nutty and is a lot like paneer.
2. Tuna Eyeballs, Japan
Seafood is a favourite for a large number of people across the world including several parts of India. But if you think sushi is the most surprising seafood trend from Japan, Tuna eyeballs will make sure that you don’t miss out on any part of the delicious fish. Available at low prices in markets, eyeballs are simply boiled or steamed and seasoned with garlic and soy sauce for a quick fix.
3. Balut, Philippines
Eggs are equally popular in every corner of the world being served as omelette, bhurjee or curry in India and preferred poached or boiled elsewhere. But people in Philippines have the perfect solution for those confused between eating a duck or an egg. A fertilised egg with a semi-developed embryo inside is boiled and eaten with salt, chilli and vinegar.
4. Century egg or 1000 year old egg, China
Well the name is an exaggeration since the egg is neither a century nor a millennium old, but that doesn’t change the fact that its quite rotten. Preserving an egg in a mixture of clay, ash and quicklime for months changes it into dark green or black and slimy translucent jelly which may smell terrible but tastes like hardboiled egg.
5. Moose nose, Canada
Anyone well acquainted with Indian cuisine won’t be alien to different organs from the brain to kidney and liver included in irresistible non-vegetarian delights. But while no one thought of nose as an option, Canadians seem to be pretty adventurous as jellied moose nose prepared by boiling it with onions and spices and letting the broth set in is a trend in the country.
6. Casu marzu, Italy
Italian culinary delights adorned with cheese are extremely popular across the globe, but there’s one that may not be so easy to digest for many. Casu marzu is actually called rotten cheese as larvae of cheese flies is added to Pecorino as they hatch inside and digest fats. The dish can be savoured with or without the maggots inside.
In addition to the above, different insects are used in traditional preparations and as street food across Asia and South America, while household pets like dogs and cats are preferred on a platter in places like South Korea and countries of east Asia.