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10 of the weirdest things eaten by travel bloggers

For me, part of the fun of travelling is trying different foods in far-flung destinations – things that you might never dream of eating, and dishes that you just don’t get back at home. Here I present a round-up of 10 weird and wonderful items that fellow travel bloggers have tried during their own travels. Spider crabs in the Philippines Submitted by Adam Pervez of Happiness Plunge “While visiting a tiny village in one of the Philippines’ thousands of islands, the family hosting me offered a special meal. I don’t particularly like seafood, but I’m happy to try anything. They brought out the strangest looking seafood I had ever seen before. They called them spider crabs and they are eaten by boiling them in sea water. Despite their enormity, the edible part is barely the size of a finger and all I could taste was salt mixed with the texture of sand. Not my idea of a delicatessen, but everyone kept urging me to have more since it was such a special treat…” Spider crab Puffin in Iceland Submitted by Jennifer and Tim of Jdomb’s Travels “Iceland has some unique fare. The island, surprisingly green despite its’ name, sits just below the Arctic Circle and the ever-present volcanic activity make Iceland a tough place to live. Lamb and fish make up the diet, though Icelanders are known for some other odd fare, a favorite being smoked puffin. The seabirds that once saved destitute Icelanders from starvation are something of a delicacy. When in Iceland! We tried smoked puffin with blueberry Brennívín sauce at Tapas Barinn, a chic Spanish-style tapas restaurant in Reykjavik. I would best describe the taste like beef jerky with a distinct fish taste. The texture is firm, but soft like duck. We enjoyed the small portion. I’m not sure I’d order the whole bird though, which Icelanders do cook and serve like a chicken.” Puffin Yaa Dong street liquor in Bangkok, Thailand Submitted by Allan Wilson of Live Less Ordinary “As a bit of a booze hound in Southeast Asia I come across some of the world’s weirdest and least palatable concoctions. Yaa Dong street liquor is the local example where I live in Bangkok; a concoction of moonshine rice whiskey and a mix of other ‘medicinal’ ingredients. While most Yaa Dong liquors bring a mix of herbs, spices and roots, they can also include the delightful addition of lizard, snake and scorpion. I have likely drank all of them. One recent example is ‘Doo Kae’ lizards which is dissolved in alcohol before being mixed with Yaa Dong and local street liquors. What do they taste like? Alcohol. For taste, when shooting back shots I first mix with honey and finish with a bite of sour, unripe mango (mamuang piew) and a salty and hot chilli dip (prik gluea).” Lizard liquor Congealed blood soup in Chiang Mai, Thailand Submitted by Alana Morgan of Paper Planes “A Thai friend actually made this congealed blood soup for me when I was sick to help make me better. He was oblivious to the fact that I may not feel like trying congealed pig’s blood just then. It’s not horrible, and kind of has the texture of tofu, but not want you want instead of chicken noodle soup!” Congealed blood soup Suri near Iquitos, Peru Submitted by Dave Levart of Dave’s Travel Corner “I’ve had dog, I’ve had rat, I’ve had bat, lots of raw seafood – and a wide variety of insects and other grubs in countries where these items are acceptably eaten. But the strangest food I’ve ever eaten was Suri (not to be confused with the iPhone personal attendant Siri)! This was near Iquitos, the world’s largest city not connected by any roads – the only way to reach Iquitos is by plane or boat. It is in the middle of the Peruvian jungle. I found vendors selling these good sized glistening globules of striated fat with black and brown heads, each one containing what looked like two pincers. These are harvested in the area from a certain type of palm tree. Immediately I wanted to try one. I saw a number that were well roasted and speared by sticks. But the one I tried was pulled live out of a plastic bucket – waved over the coals and given to me straight away. It was still quivering when I popped that fat yellow grub in my mouth – chewed and then swallowed. It wasn’t the most tasty snack – but it sure was fatty and juicy”. Suri Guinea pig in Cusco, Peru Submitted by Melissa Banigan of Break out of Bushwick “While visiting Cusco, Peru, my daughter and I dined at a restaurant where guinea pig (locally known as ‘cuy’) is served two ways: fried or baked. I chose the latter, but only because I thought that fried, my meal might look similar to the fetal pig I dissected many years ago in my secondary school biology class. The waiter threw down our guinea pig-laden plates over a red-checked tablecloth. I gulped, took a few tentative bites, and, gagging on the greasy, stringy fare, washed it down with beer and soda. My daughter, however, always the adventurous eater, devoured her entire guinea pig and, starting in on my leftovers, pronounced that the meat tasted like prosciutto.” Guinea pig Bugs in Bangkok, Thailand Submitted by Niall Doherty of Disrupting the Rabblement “It was completely on purpose. My mission that night was to eat some bugs. I figured I’d been traveling for too long not to have chowed down on something with more than four legs. Word on the street was we’d find them for sale in the seedier parts of Bangkok, so we made our way to perhaps the seediest: Soi Cowboy. And it was there, amidst the go-go girls and winking ladyboys, that we found an old dear with a cart full of vermin. I ordered one of everything and worked my way through them right there and then. There were ants, larvae, beetles, and big alien-looking things. I tried them all. Some were too chewy and I had to spit them out. None tasted terrible, but they certainly would have gone down easier if they’d been ground up into a patty and presented burger-style.” Bugs in Bangkok Bugs in Oaxaca, Mexico Submitted by Chris Christensen of Amateur Traveler “While I was in Oaxaca I tried crickets which have been on the menu since pre-Colombian days. They serve them spicy with a side of guacamole but I think in the future I will stick with tortilla chips for my guacamole since then you don’t get the little antennae stuck between your teeth.” Bugs Thousand-year-old egg in Chiang Mai, Thailand Submitted by Annette White of Bucket List Journey “When I was in Thailand, taking a cooking class, we made a quick stop to Somphet Market to purchase ingredients for our dishes. The aisles were loaded with colorful fruits, vegetables and meats. But, what caught my eye was a pretty, pastel pink egg. It was known as a century egg or a thousand year old egg. This delicacy is an Asian tradition where the egg is preserved for several weeks or months. I cracked one open, out poured the strong smell of ammonia and a moldy green color. Of course, I volunteered to take a nibble and, thankfully, it didn’t taste quite as bad as it smelled. It tasted like a warm, old boiled egg with a gooey center. Not bad, but not good enough to eat again.” Egg Stingray in Singapore Submitted by Keryn Means of Walking on Travels “I never thought of myself as an adventurous eater until I went to Singapore in 2008 on a business trip. I was raised to never be rude to my hosts. When one (now good friend) set a leaf-wrapped sting ray in front of me, I knew I was in for a culinary adventure I had never imagined. The stringy meat of the sting ray was covered in a reddish brown chili sauce that wasn’t so spicy that my face was on fire, but it did leave a slow burn in the back of my throat. What was most surprising was that the sting ray was actually good. Out of all the things my friend put in front of me (by now I knew she was just seeing how far she could push my taste buds and comfort zone), I’d have to say it was one of the best. It reminded me of chicken, but with a distinct difference that I could never put my finger on. Not fishy, but certainly not a land animal. After that trip I was ready to take on anything. Well, almost anything. ” Stingray

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. Oh my! Annette is WAY more adventurous than me. I was offered the thousand year egg in Singapore but declined… numerous times. I’m not a big egg eater as is, and just the idea of that turned my stomach.

  2. Wow, some of these things I hadn’t even heard of before! Like those spider crabs (which look scarier than appetizing) And I thought I was an adventurous eater. Definitely not when stacked up against these 10.

  3. I grew up in Singapore and it took me a long time to feel brave enough to try stingray. I loved it! The sauce is what’s tasty, so there’s not much to hate. The other stuff listed… I’m not so sure about.

  4. Nice post and I’ve personally met a few of these bloggers so great to see them on here! My favourite off the wall food from my travels is grasshopper (Thailand), Duck skin and face (Taiwan), Guinea Pig (Peru), Dog Soup (South Korea), Turtle (China) and Wallaby Bolognaise (Australia). Of those the Wallaby was by far the nicest. Jonny

  5. Thanks, Jonny… the post seems to have generated quite a lot of interest so the plan is to do a follow-up post at some point – originally titled “10 more of the weirdest things eaten by travel bloggers”.

    Wallaby Bolognaise, eh? That sounds like it would make a great addition if you have a good photo of it. Feel free to get in touch via https://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/contact-us/ if you’d like to be included in the follow-up.



  6. Yes Paul – this is a great post – its also great that so many bloggers have contributed to it. I cooked the wallaby myself actually when I lived in Tasmania – got a full post on it on my blog – will get in touch! Jonny

  7. This is a wonderful post although not the best post to read just before dinner. The weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten was octopus head in an izakaya in southern Japan. It goes without saying I needed a few pints thereof to help wash it down.

  8. Whoah, ewww! Ewww to all of those, especially that egg. I am an adventurous traveler, but these foods turned my stomach, and made me appreciate and admire the people who tried them, as well as thinking they are slightly insane…

  9. I ate a few very strange things during my numerous travels (some mentioned in the post above) but the most weird was casu marzu, Sardinian cheese containing living larvae. They actually are meant to be alive as this certifies the freshness of the cheese. The taste was a bit like gorgonzola. There was also another type of cheese, unfortunately forgot the name, which – if I remember correctly – was the fermentated milk eaten straight from the stomach of a dead suckling lamb – at least that’s what I was told… a very strong sharp taste.

  10. I think the only thing I could eat on this list would be the puffin, stingray, and maybe the guinea pig. You couldn’t pay me enough to eat the egg or the congealed blood. I’m afraid I’m a weenie when it comes to dark, clumpy watery food.

  11. On my travels I have eaten quite a few different things, some of which I am not proud of but my list so far is, Live Termites in Honduras, Cobra Heart (still beating)followed by a 5 course meal of the snake in Vietnam, Dolphin and Balut (Fertilized Duck Egg)in the Philippines.

  12. I wouldn’t mind trying most of the dishes featured in this list except for the pink egg and and liquor mixed with lizard, snake and scorpion. Bugs are also quite tasty when cooked well. As an Asian, I’m used to delicacies that other people find strange.

  13. I think the black eggs are actually the least strange thing on here – their color is definitely off putting, but I love them!

  14. I would try any of those except for the grubs, they always make me heave when I see people eat them on TV. Strangest things I’ve eaten are tree worms (grey and slimy), balut (14 week old duck egg embryos) and fried frogs (bit like KFC).

  15. The Yaa Dong street liquor looks pretty bad, so do the maggots in Iquitos…..in fact it all looks pretty bad. Glad to see that Cuy is on the list in Cusco! In Rioja in the north of Peru they also drink a liquor flavored with snake! Which I believe is also quite common in Asia too.

  16. That old egg… that very nearly sent me over the edge. Ughh! I think I might try almost everything else though.

  17. Hi,

    Wow what a list! I’ve been to Chiang Mai, BKK, and Cusco on your list….and my fiancee has been to Iquitos…but we never ate these things ;)

    I salute you. We rarely explore gastrointestinally lol.

    Thanks for the share!

  18. It never occur to me that sting ray and the thousand year old egg (which is actually century egg) is weird! Love them! They are part of our common food in Asia.

    I have not overcome the fear of eating bugs though.

    Pig’s liver and frog porridge anyone?

  19. Great post! I’ll try anything and definitely found a few new things to try. That Century Egg is really bizarre.

    The weirdest thing I’ve eaten has to be beating heart of Cobra, really intense.

  20. Well that is definitely an odd list of food to try! Very inspiring, I didn’t know you could eat puffin in Iceland! I’ve tried rotten shark there and it was awful :-)

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