At Young Pioneer Tours, we proudly take people to some of the weirdest places in the world, and with weird places comes weird food!
Weird might be a strong word, but there are foods around the world that certainly from a western palate are a bit strange! Some of these strange foods are surprisingly good, while others really rank as they look and sound.
We celebrate 7 of the weirdest and rankest foods we have found on our travels and hope to see y’all on one of our trips to try them!
7. Hakarl – rotten shark – Greenland
This classic makes it onto almost every rank food list that has ever been produced, and for very good reason. The Greenlandic Shark is poisonous unless buried and then left to dry for four months. It stinks of piss but actually does not taste nearly as bad as it smells. Wash it down with Brennivin, a moonshine that will kill any existing poison.
6. Tamilok – woodworm – Palawan, Philippines
A delicacy from Palawan renowned as the best island in the world. Apparently, it is not actually woodworm, but a form of mollusk that can bite through steel. It is has been compared to an oyster, but it is not the same. Tastes like slimy chalk. There is even a tamilok challenge, with the challenge being if you can manage to eat it. That is never a good thing.
5. Dog – North Korea / South Korea
Always a controversial one, but dog, or as they call it in Korea, “sweetmeat” is a popular thing in the DPRK. When we visit, we tend to try it in Kaesong, where it is served in soup form.
4. Satvalait – bugs – Cambodia
After going through the Khmer Rouge regime and starvation, Cambodia has more weird foods than anywhere else on the planet. You name a bug from cockroach to tarantula, and the Cambodians eat it! It is said that most of the bugs taste like chips (crisps). The only one I tried that I kinda liked was a tarantula. Although when I say “like,” I mean it was a bit less disgusting than I expected.
3. San Nak-ji – live squid – South Korea
We might be slightly more famous for our travels to North Korea, but we like to go down south at least once a year. In the ROK, you can eat live squid, which, fearing death, sometimes attaches itself to your throat n the way down, which can choke you.
2. Stinky Tofu – China
You will smell this a long time before you see it, and it is all over Beijing, convenient as that is our starting point for most of our tours to North Korea. The smell has been described as like a wet sock in a sneaker left for five weeks. This is no way does it justice. It actually does not taste all that bad, but the smell makes it more trouble than its worth.
1. Rượu rắn – snake wine – Vietnam
Most famous in Vietnam, but you can also drink it in China and, indeed North Korea. Basically, it is rude wine infused with a snake. Super strength and really not very nice at all. A variation involves cutting off the snakes heat, pouring blood into the liquor, cutting out the heart and then downing the heart and the shot together. Not nearly as bad it seems, but hardly an ice-cold beer on a hot day either
And the best thing? All of these can be sampled on one of our tours! Would you dare?