Weirdest Asian Foods
Asia is famous for their originality when it comes to food. Their ancestors had discovered the aspects of what makes a perfect cuisine and subsequently mastered the culinary arts. You can see this in the precision and extreme care a lot of the high-end cooks perform on every dish. They are dedicated to the absolute perfection of the recipe and they refuse to serve it unless it has met their standards.
Now, it’s no mystery that Asian food and American food differ when it comes to taste and style. Some might say that Asian food is much more unique and flavorful than most American dishes. On the other hand, others will say that Asian food is borderline abominable and they’d much rather have a pure beef patty between two buns, and I get that. For the most part, American and Asian foods are opposites.
For example; most Americans are disgusted by the fact that many Asian restaurants have cat and dog meat on the menu, while in some Asian traditions, they are disgusted with Americans for eating beef. Many people born in Asia see eating fried eyeballs as a delightful occasion, while people born in America love eating ground up cow carcass scraps, aka hotdogs, every time they go to the fair.
There will always be some controversy between two cultures’ food delicacies. From an outsider’s perspective, a lot of it can look undesirable or even downright repulsive, but you never really know until you take that leap of faith and try it for yourself.
Shirako often called Tachi or Kiku, is a Japanese word that means “white children.” In the culinary sense, Shirako is fish sperm, cod sperm to be exact, and it is said to be an acquired topping for this unique sushi dish. It is served in cooked or raw form and is sure to add a night of flavorful scarring that you won’t soon forget. Even for most Japanese natives, this one is a hit or miss.
You’ve probably heard of frog legs, but this Asian snack blows them out of the water, or in their case the pond. Chicken feet are slightly more difficult to bare for the average frog hunter yet in Asia, it is a must-have for foreigners passing through.
Nails intact, bones still functional, and skin and meat still jointly together, chicken feet is the American BBQ equivalent of “drumsticks” (chicken legs on a bone). You can find this treat at most festivals and shows or anywhere there are a lot of vendors. If you’re thinking about breaking into the wonderful (and sometimes scary) world of Asian cuisine, Chicken Feet is a good place to start!
Hachinoko is an honored favorite to a lot of Japanese natives. Much like Shirako, this dish also contains a fair amount of unborn children. But this time it has a bit of a sting to it. That’s right. Instead of the traditional fish sperm, this plate is topped with bee larva.
Now I know what you’re thinking. What is up with all this baby eating? You’d probably be pretty upset if someone tried to eat your baby right? I hope so at least. But too much of Japan, baby animals and insects are the tastiest of all eats. And who am I (the guy who eats two eggs a day for breakfast) to argue with social morals.
Speaking of unborn babies, here’s another unforeseen delicacy of the Southeast Asian World. An almost entirely formed embryo boiled and served, Balut is offered in a variety of bird species. It’s almost like eating a hardboiled egg except the yoke is much closer to being hatched.
Unlike chicken feet, Balut is probably not the best place to start when it comes to trying exotic foods in Asia.
How do you like your squid cooked? Rare? Extra rare? How about alive? Well, that’s precisely what you’ll get when you order Sannakji at a seafood restaurant in Korea. Sannakji; also call dancing squid, is just what it will do when you try to eat the still alive and squirming octopus.
Lightly seasoned with herbs and oils, this oceanic dish is as natural as you can get. Just make sure to keep a close eye on it. Wouldn’t want your dinner getting up and walking out on you! There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this dish, but one thing will always be for sure, only the extreme lovers of seafood dare give this one a try!
Guilinggao (Turtle Jelly)
If you think you’ve seen it all you’re wrong. I certainly did, until I heard of Turtle Jelly of course. The Chinese have proven throughout the ages to be a very resourceful country. They seem to create and invent things that you would never have imagined possible. Turtle Jelly is one of these unique inventions!
The shell of a Tortoise is boiled for hours alongside herbs until it turns into a jello-like texture. Some flour and cornstarch are added to improve the consistency and voila! Turtle Jelly is ready to be eaten!
If you can fry ice cream, you can fry spiders. That’s the attitude the founders of the Fried Tarantula had when this snack came to mind. The legs crunch like freshly cooked Calamari, but it’s not until you get to the belly of the beast that the real adventure begins to take place. As you bite into the belly, a puss-filled burst of bitter juices rush out into your mouth in a sudden and unexpected explosion. This meal is sure to get your stomach churning and neck hairs raising.
As you bite into the belly, a puss-filled burst of bitter juices rush out into your mouth in a sudden and unexpected explosion. This meal is sure to get your stomach churning and neck hairs raising. If there’s one perfect way to ditch your fear of spiders, this is it!
Another weird Asian food, tuna eyeballs, are massive globs of slime that encompass the entire palm of your hand! They are quite popular in Japan but often not so popular among foreigners. They are usually surrounded by fish fat to add to the already mushy texture.
If the gooey appearance is too much for your appetite, you can always use them like a creepy prop for your haunted eyeball room on Halloween!
Chicken Blood Cubes
A vampire’s favorite snack, Chicken Blood Cubes is indeed a unique culinary invention. Served in soups, on plates, or on a skewer, Chicken Blood Cubes are a favorite among street vendors in Asian countries.
Some say hardened blood on a stick is quite tasty, but there is just something about solid blood in the form of a brownie that is repelling to me. Be sure not to mistake them as black tofu. You’ll be in for a surprise if you do!
Another lively dish. Drunken shrimp is exactly what the name implies. Still-alive shrimp is placed in an alcoholic pool of inebriation mixed with herbs, spices, and vegetables. The alcohol is meant to intoxicate the shrimp, slowing its movements and ultimately making it easier for the consumer to consume. I’d say this meal is a bit more hospitable than the tentacle flailing Sannakji dish, which is more likely to slap you in the face for trying to eat it!
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So there you have it! The ten weird Asian foods that you’ll either fall in love with or puke in your mouth over. Have you tried any of the food in this article? Let me know in the comment section!
Josh Rushford is a freelance blogger for hire and the author of Natural Nomadics, a blog that combines travel and self-development into a powerful brew of unlimited potential. Read his blog for inspiration, entertainment, or help for achieving your travel dreams.