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Win a copy of “Extreme Cuisine” from Lonely Planet!


One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is “what is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten while traveling?” In my case the answer is probably a grasshopper in Thailand. Author Eddie Lin has put together a list of 60 bizarre and exotic foods from around the world in her book: Extreme Cuisine: Exotic Tastes From Around the World.

Here is the description from

Imagine tucking into grasshoppers as you wander the Mercado Benito market in Oaxaca, Mexico, or chowing down on juicy witchetty grubs on your travels through Central Australia – such meals can be the perfect entrée to a culture. In this book you’ll find over 50 delicacies that creep, crawl, sizzle and spit, where they originated from and wher eyou can experience them. You may not salivate over blood, scorpions, chicken’s knees or partially digested coffee beans, but travel long enough and you’re bound to meet someone who does. Extreme Cuisine is sure to challenge your idea of what makes good eating.

I am giving away FIVE copies of “Extreme Cuisine”. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what the most extreme thing is you’ve ever eaten.

  • 74 Comments... What's your take?

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  1. Michael W says:

    This is a really fun topic for me. When I travel, I always look for an interesting, local dish. Afer each trip, friends and family always ask me what weird food I got to try!
    I’d like to make my entry a multiple listing if I may-
    -Peru- Cuy aka guina pig. My wife ate (well barely) with her head down, covering her eyes as I ate my boney guinea pig!
    -South Africa- Kudu biltong- nice and smokey, a bit tough, I believe there were some fuzz still in it!
    -Namibia- Zebra Carpaccio- absolutely amazing taste but I was pretty sick for the next day or 2. I assume it was from this meal
    -Egypt- Pigeon. Not one of my favorites. Very little meat, it had a funky stuffing but it was a must try.
    -Lithuania- Beaver Stew. I had to go back to the restaurant for this dish because the first time I stopped in they were closing. The meat was really tough & nasty
    -Estonia- Bear, Boar & Elk sausage- now this was an amazing meal. I was hoping to get a link of each to compare flavors but the meats were all mushed together.
    Peru- Mud- this is always a fun conversation. We were in Peru at Lake Titicaka & took a trip to Sillustani. We stopped at a family homestead so to speak, They had set out on a rock all diff foods. Included was a bowl of hard dirt and a creamy, brown “dip”. We were told to try mama panchita- mother earth. After some thought I went for it. It went well with some cheese- nice and creamy!

  2. Danielle says:

    The strangest thing I have ever eaten was toasted grasshoppers in Uganda.

  3. Marc says:

    Probably century egg. Or chocolate-covered ants.

  4. Mirella says:

    It is funny to talk about “extreme” food, as what is weird for me can be normal to others….
    So… here comes my extreme: I am from Brazil, so… chicken hearts is a must in traditional barbecue.
    Ice kacang in Singapore was also different, a ice cream with corn, beans and jelly is something else.
    Cow tongue I tried in a Russian restaurant in New York… Dromedary beef in Tunisia… and Alligator carpaccio in Brisbane (AUS).

  5. Jo says:

    Having grown up in Australia, I had heard from parents (who grew up in Hong Kong) of how nutritous eating brains (pig brains I believe) were *shudder* and cue childhood nightmares …

    Then on a trip to Vietnam at tiny little congee stall (mini table and 4 of those red plastic stools) I saw a jar of brains, pointed to them, and slurped them down with my rice porridge. I didn’t get sick but that’s about the only good point I can make about them!!!

  6. Gertrude says:

    I ate at and snake in Vietnam. I liked the rat. Crispy, sweet, not much meat on the bone though!

  7. Nicole says:

    Donkey Balls. I ate donkey balls, salami style, while I was in Italy. Only after I ate them did my friend tell me what they were…and I was wondering what the white stuff in the middle was.

    And Bob, cow tongue is delicious! I eat it all the time :)

  8. Stacy says:

    At a temple fair on Koh Samui I saw a skewer stand with a picture of a chicken on it. Not reading Thai I thought I pretty safe with chicken. I quickly paid for 2 skewers of what I believed to be chicken. The Thai ladies had me sit at the table next to the skewer stand to enjoy the meaty goodness on a stick. I gnawed off a big chunk of meat. The first thing that hit me – it’s cold? the second thing that immediately hit me was that I was crunching thru a million bones and the flavor was not of chicken. Perhaps the picture of a chicken meant – tastes like chicken. As I turned several shades of green I thanked the Thai ladies and quickly excused myself. Blocks away I was still picking small bones from my mouth. I was later informed by my Thai friend that it was actually rat and that was not the best stand to get good rat. After that it became a big joke and she pointed at everything and saying that it was rat and would bust out into laughter.

  9. Bob says:

    I once ate cow tongue in Belgium. I did pass on a chance to eat fried scorpions in China. Just couldn’t do it. My hat is off to anyone who did.

  10. Kate says:

    I could lie and claim this experience as my own, but then I would never want to go on record as the person who ate this… my nutsoid travel companion Damon whilst we were travelling through China a few years back chowed down on a char-grilled rat-on-a-skewer from the night markets in Yangshou.

    I guess that’s what you do when you there are no hotdog stands and you’ve just been thrown out of the local Karoke bar by the triads for hitting on the wrong girl..

  11. nicole says:

    I thought mopane worm was pretty extreme until I tried
    elephant biltong. Both in South Africa

  12. azrul says:

    Durian. And I love it to the core.

  13. chaiaket says:

    a few of many: blood sausage, blood stew, Balut – fertilized duck egg, cow’s/pig’s/chook’s innards, monitor lizzard, cricket, ox brain, pig’s brain, shoot me – dog (it was a cultural thing! – i don’t anymore) … maybe i should stop now …

  14. century eggs, overseas

  15. Jay Lardy says:

    I had Cuy (guinea pig) ravioli and chicha (open-vat fermented corn beer) in Peru.

    Missed the full cuy-on-a-stick experience, but that’s usually reserved for holidays and special events. Prospective brides are judged by their mother-in-law-to-be based on their ability to cook this delicacy well.

  16. bruleeblog says:

    It doesn’t bother me because I’ve eaten it off and on while growing up, but what seems to gross people out the most is a tofu-like cake of congealed pig’s blood.

  17. Craig says:

    Rocky Mountain Oysters. Surprisingly pretty good

  18. Eddie Lin says:

    My wife’s placenta. Unfortunately, that experience was axed from the book. Thanks for plugging my book, Gary. P.S. I already have a copy. ;-)

  19. Rhys says:

    I’m not entirely sure of the name of it, but it was an omlette in Japan.

    Not the omlette per se, but I put onto it what I thought was Okonomiyaki sauce, turned out it was squid ink.

    Still tasty though.

  20. Kristin says:

    farofa de tanajura from the northeast of brazil – kind of a dish made of breadcrums (farofa) and ants (more specifically, the female Tanajura type). it doesn’t look or taste bad, but the concept of eating this big ant’s behind is kind of creepy…. i’m just glad I was not the one cooking it!

  21. Chris says:

    Strangest thing was just stuff made to LOOK gross: Tootsie rolls served in a baby diaper, guacamole served on the tip of a pretzel (boogers on a stick), etc.

    Anything beyond that lies in the realm of sushi: squid, salmon eggs, and various other raw things that people either love or hate around these parts.

  22. John says:

    I grew up in central California so I ate all the weird organ meats for sale at the little hole in the wall taquerias in the area. Head, tongue, intestines, stomach, etc. Since I’ve started traveling internationally I’ve eaten huitlacoche (corn fungus), pig brain soup, and fried grasshoppers in Mexico and in the past year while teaching in Korea I’ve had Korean blood sausage, boiled silkworm pupae and, most recently, dog soup.

  23. Troy says:

    Tried scorpins in Thailand once….wasnt that bad to be honest.

  24. Judy Best says:

    Not too bizarre … but ostrich served at Ashley’s locally.

  25. Jessie says:

    I realize that they’re not horribly “extreme”… but when you’re not expecting it, being served a whole pickled herring (eyes and all) in Estonia kind of startles you. Also, when I realized that the curried beef that I was eating in Guyana is just a bit too chewy to be normal, I asked what it was and was told that it was tripe. Ugh! Definitely on my list of what not to eat anymore.

  26. Brad says:

    Great idea!

    For me I would have to say it was the day old vagina … very extreme!

  27. Jo W says:

    Although I don’t like to eat anything out of the ordinary (and by ordinary I mean bland – cow, pig, chicken), I love to see what other people are willing to digest. So, my most odd food would have to be a mashed banana with jelly. Somehow, I had that in England once while traveling. That is it – how boring am I? Love your blog…

  28. Stephen says:

    Does a booger count? If not, then my answer is a fried silk worm.

  29. Amber G says:

    Frog legs are the most extreme thing I have ever eaten!

  30. Nisha says:

    Where has my comment gone now?

  31. Nisha says:

    Oh chicken, rabbit, ducks all done here.
    Recently I had some earthworms in soya milk in a delicious looking chilled drink. halfway down I noticed they are too slippery & smooth & tasteless to be some kind of noodles. I asked, & there I was. Ewww…

    This was in Malaysia.

    I’ll try to locate it’s photo. I do remember taking a shot.

  32. Steph says:

    Probably crocodile. Though I am partial to the odd BBQ’d cricket!

  33. Casu Marzu!
    the cheese with maggots ;)

  34. Laura says:

    crocodile and warthog in zimbabwe.

  35. Jesse says:

    sashimi is pretty weird to some people, i really like that.

  36. I would say lutefisk (cod or whitefish soaked in lye).
    Ms Traveling Pants

  37. Kelly says:

    I asked you that question yesterday, default **WINNER**.

  38. Koa says:

    Tako poke which is Hawaiian for raw octopus with seasoning.

  39. Damon says:

    Most exotic meal would be beef tongue tacos.

  40. Bev F says:

    I have eaten chicken knees and birds legs and a host of other unidentifiable things on an appetizer meat platter while we were waiting for our Peking duck to be ready… all the while being entertained by Chinese opera in Beijing. The waiter did not speak any English and was not able to explain what each item was. We passed on a few but bravely tried our fair share.

  41. That would either be pigeon ligaments or crocodile. I gotta get more adventurous…if the adventurous food is good.

  42. Alligator bites! Delish. Like chewy chicken.

  43. Valerie says:

    Nothing like a handful of chapulines enchilados (grasshoppers w/ chile powder) amongst friends. Surprisingly addictive, disconcertingly crunchy snack!!

  44. Susan C says:

    I am not very adventurous. The most extreme thing I have ever eaten is fried rabbit.It was delcious!

  45. Gordy says:

    I’ve got a couple: 1.eating freshly cracked open sea urchin/uni on the seashore in my beach bum days in college. 2. Many years ago for chinese new year I visited with some vietnamese friends and since they knew I was filipino they prepared a dish that both our cultures enjoyed…Balut. I had never really had the courage to try it and didn’t want to insult my hosts, so I hoped and prayed that it was the pre-embryonic kind of balut, but unfortunately the vietnamese ppl prefer their balut matured where the little baby duck is readily recognizable. It was INTERESTING, to say the least…but I’m forever grateful to my hosts, because now I enjoy it. And finally 3. I was a boy and my family was having a party to celebrate my newly born cousin;s baptism. These kinds of parties are what filipino’s are known best for, extravagantly catered events with many many dishes and with warm hearted hospitality. As I said this particular party was for my new baby cousin’s baptism and my family truly spared no expense, even having 3 Lechons (roasted suckling pigs)!!! If you know filipinos they are always encouraging you to eat and I surely did that, making my way along the different tables filling my plate with my favorite dishes. I got to the end of the row of tables and noticed one that was separated from the others and noticed a dish called Kaldereta, a filipino version of beef stew. A dish usually made with beef, but can be made with pork or chicken and even goat. So after a few spoonfuls of this stew on my plate I went to sit and eat. I finished and was on my way back for tasty seconds when I came upon my mother, she cautioned me to avoid the far table that those were foods I would probably not enjoy. I asked why and she said criticized my uncles saying it was their twisted idea to cook up some genuinely authentic pinoy dishes…including Kalderatang Aso or Dog Stew. I was flabergasted to say the least…and I avoided that table the rest of the party…being much older now…I doubt I’d avoid the table given the same chance. :)

  46. Isa says:

    The most extreme thing I ever ate that I didn’t care for were the suction cups of octopus in Japan. Most surprisingly good of the extreme things I’ve eaten was beef (maybe) tongue at a Mongolian barbecue in Japan. VERY tasty & tender.

  47. Julian says:

    Balut: “a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell.” Tried this in the Philippines.

  48. T-roy says:

    camel milk in the desert of Egypt…was just weird!

  49. Amy says:


About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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