10 CAMBODIA: What has eight legs and tastes like a cross between chicken and cod? Deep fried tarantula! Considered by some (deluded) people to be a delicacy, the tarantula craze supposedly started out of desperation in the 70’s when other food was scarce, and it hasn’t looked back since. The exterior is said to be crispy, whilst the innards reveal a delicate brownish paste of organs, eggs, and… well, you don’t want to know what else.
NORWAY: You’d think it’s a fairly basic question: if a food is so caustic that it can dissolve silver cutlery, would you eat it anyway? Surprisingly, natural selection is stumped and people jump at the chance to taste Lutefisk, a Norwegian delicacy. Having been soaked for days in a lye solution, the fish reaches a pH value of 11-12 (equivalent to that of ammonia) and has to be soaked in water for days afterwards to compensate and make it even vaguely edible.
JAPAN: Whilst home to too many weird and wonderful delicacies to list (although live fish, poisonous blowfish and fish sperm should give you an idea), Japan is also the home to what is globally acknowledged to be the best beef in the world. Kobe beef starts out life as Wagyū cattle – fed on expensive Japanese grain topped up with Sake and receiving regular brushes and massages, it really is a cow’s life. Until, you know… the inevitable.
8 ITALY Approximately 4000 years BG (before Gino D’Acampo), the Romans were known to gorge themselves as much as possible before vomiting to make room for the second course. These days are just as gruesome and Italy is now home to Casu Marzua – a traditional dish notable for containing live insect larvae. It was made illegal due to European Union food hygiene regulations, and yet it is still possible to acquire (so I’ve heard) on the black market – for a hefty price.
BECAUSE QUALITY MATTERS
A common food in the Phillipines, Balut resembles a boiled egg in that it is boiled and eaten in the shell, but differs because it is in fact a fertilized duck embryo. Whilst being high in protein and commonly vended as street-food, it is also popularly considered to be an aphrodisiac. And who said romance was dead…?
IRAN: Unless you’re Iranian, there are probably few times in life when you’re unsure whether waking up to a severed head is a mobster threat or simply breakfast. Kale Pache is a traditional Iranian dish consisting of an entire, boiled, sheep head, typically served as a soup for breakfast. All the best bits including the brain, cheeks and tongue are consumed and sometimes even the feet are thrown in. The Armenian version is typically washed down with vodka and, well, you can see why….
AUSTRALIA: The Witchetty Grubs were a common feature in the Aboriginal diet long before Ant and Dec arrived and force-fed them to half-baked celebrities. These fat, pasty grubs are the wood-eating larvae of several species of moth - tasty.