Each country has their own traditional dishes like England’s roast dinner, Spain’s paella and Italy’s lasagne; however there are some countries that have more unusual delicacies. I have put together 10 of the strangest delicacies that are not for the faint hearted, so it’s probably best to look away now if you’re squeamish!
Tuna Eyeball - Eaten in China and Japan
Tuna Eye can be found staring up at you in most Japanese stores for less than a Pound. Apparently it tastes a bit like squid and the eyeball comes surrounded by fish fat and severed muscles that are also meant to be quite tasty. To cook, you simply boil it and then season to taste.
Salmon Roe - Eaten in Eastern Europe and Russia
This is the is the fully ripe internal ovaries or egg masses of Salmon, a similar dish to the more widely-known Caviar. In some parts of Eastern Europe, the more expensive Salmon Roe is seen as a delicacy but there are also cheaper versions available in the chilled food sections of most supermarkets.
Casu Marzu - Eaten in Sardinia
Casu Marzu literally translated means “rotten cheese” in Sardinian. This is also known as maggot cheese because it is made from traditional sheep milk and insect larvae. The cheese is left for months to decompose and then the Larvae of a cheese fly are introduced into the cheese to break down its fat. They look like see-through worms, just under 1cm long and can jump up to 15 cm when disturbed. Some people remove the maggots before eating where as others prefer to leave them in. If the maggots die, the cheese becomes toxic which has lead to this Sardinian cheese being banned for health reasons.
Cod Fish Sperm - Eaten in Japan
This slippery, soft white food is a popular winter delicacy in Japan. Shirako, otherwise known as Cod Fish Sperm Sac, is said to melt in the mouth like butter and is made from cod milt, a fancier word for fish sperm. It can be eaten both raw and cooked, depending on individual tastes.
Chicken Cartilage - Eaten in Japan
Chicken cartilage is commonly served in bars in Japan as a tasty snack. It can be eaten fried or on a shish kabob. The texture is very chewy and sometimes can take quite a few mouthfuls to break it up properly.
Salo - Eaten in Ukraine
Salo is an Ukraine delicacy that is actually pig fat! Salo can be eaten raw, smoked, fried or boiled but in Russia it is most commonly eaten as a snack to accompany vodka, they cut thin slices and add it to rye bread rubbed with garlic. It is stored in cold dark places where it can last up to a year, however if it is kept longer than that the surface will turn yellow and it will then be used for things like a protection treatment for leather boots!
Balut - Eaten in the Philippines
Balut is known as “the treat with feet” or “the egg with legs” and is a favourite snack of the Philippines. It is a fertilized egg that is buried in the ground for a few weeks until an embryo has nearly been developed, it is then boiled and eaten in its shell.
Goat Head - Eaten in Southern Africa
Goat head is served complete with cooked brains, tongue and ears! In Southern Africa it is boiled with onions, garlic, tomatoes, ginger and chillies which gives it its flavour, and surprisingly it is served in some very upscale restaurants! It is also been known to be served with the goat’s eyes but only if you are lucky enough to be a guest of honour!
Cuy Bien - Eaten in Peru
Cuy Bien is a traditional dish and a major part of the diets in Peru, this is because roasted guinea pig is high in protein and very low in fat. Its taste has reportedly been compared to a number of different meats including, the dark meat of chicken, rabbit and even rat!
Yak Penis - Eaten in China
Yak penis is a Chinese delicacy and is also known as "Dragon in the Flame of Desire". It is most commonly served in the Guolizhuang Restaurant in Beijing which is famous for serving penis and testicle dishes, the yak penis dish is very popular as it is supposed to be very good for your skin!
Prairie Oyster or Rocky Mountain Oyster – Eaten in North America
Prairie oysters are actually bull’s testicles and are also known as ‘rocky mountain oysters’. One way to eat them is to pound them flat, coat them in flour and deep-fry them; this is the way they prepare them in North America where they serve them as an appetizer.
Herring Sperm - Eaten in Russia
Herring sperm also known as herring milt is traditionally a Russian dish, however it is enjoyed in a number of countries including the UK! There are a number of ways to serve it including frying it and serving it with horseradish, but the most popular recipe is to roll them in flour and fry them before serving them on toast.
Smalahove - Eaten in Norway
Sheep’s head or Smalahove is a traditional Christmas dish eaten in Norway. They remove the brain and fleece from the head and then boil it for a few hours before serving it with potatoes. Just be careful when looking at the menu at a Norwegian Hotel or on a Norwegian Cruise because you might have a bit of a shock if this turns up!
Barbacoa - Eaten in Mexico
Barbacoa is one of Mexico’s traditional dishes. This dish involves a whole sheep being slow cooked in a pit until the meat is tender; it is then served on a warm corn tortilla with onions, salsa and guacamole.
Menudo - Eaten in Mexico
Menudo soup is another traditional Mexican dish. This dish can take some time to prepare and it is believed that the soup tastes even better after it has been re-heated. This soup is made from cow stomach and spinal cord as well as onions, garlic and red chilli peppers for that extra spice!
Bird's Nest Soup - Eaten in China
Bird’s nest soup is a Chinese delicacy and is made using the nests of the swiftlet. The swiftlet makes its nest from its own saliva which hardens when exposed to air. When the nests have been picked they are then cleaned before being sold to restaurants. Bird’s nest soup is a popular dish in most Chinese restaurants but be warned they come with a very big price tag.
Century Egg - Eaten in China
The century egg is also known as the thousand-year-old egg because it is preserved for several months in a mixture which includes clay, ash and lime. This mixture turns the egg yolk a dark green colour and gives it a strong smell of sulphur; however, this doesn’t stop them being another very popular Chinese delicacy!
Sea Cucumber - Eaten in Asia
The sea cucumber is a popular delicacy for most East and Southeast Asia cultures as it is considered to be good for your health. Despite its slimy/slippery texture, the sea cucumber is actually higher in protein and lower in fat than most foods. It is mixed with ingredients like shiitake mushroom and Chinese cabbage at meal times and ingredients like mutton for medication purposes (kidney deficiency).
I hope this hasn't put you off your lunch too much! If there are any more strange delicacies that you want to see added to the list then just let me know in the comments below. Or if you have ever tried any of the foods mentioned I’d love to know what they tasted like!