How To Eat Freakishly Weird Foods

From growing up in Africa and traveling through many countries, I’ve obtained a respectable transcript of outlandish edibles ranging from ambrosial to grotesque. Congolese snails in the reincarnation of rubber tires, grubs, unknown testicles, a scientific assortment of winged bugs, balutfetus, rats, and a host of interior animal organs, are among a host of the weird delicacies that have been sandwiched between these two extremes. Throughout it all, I have been able to mastermind an eating strategy when faced with freakishly weird awesome foods.

rat in laos

1.  The Adventurous Mindset

The adventurous mindset erases an automatic negative attitude and cry’s out to partake of the most outlandish edibles around. A great attitude goes a long way when attempting to eat weird foods. With an adventurous mindset you can be happily munching what you first thought might be repulsive.

2.  Be the Peer Pusher

Friends should push other friends to try weird foods. This is a healthy peer pressure exercise and I am all too often the guilty culprit who enforces the tasting of everything to the sometimes delight or pain of friends.  A group all trying something is less intimidating than sampling by yourself.

eating durian

Smelling a chunk of the tender King of Fruits (Durian)

3.  Take Small Bites

A giant mouth full sometimes triggers an unpleasant regurgitation as constant chewing is necessary to avoid choke-age. Try small bites that are easy to chew and therefore faster to swallow and keep down.  I’ve tried big bites and small bites, but I think small bites makes it easier.

4.  Think Delicious

The mind is quite a powerful tool and can be manipulated by itself.  Think delicious thoughts when widening your lips for the first bite of an utterly weird something, and it will probably be much better than the initial thought.

eating balut in manila

Eating Balut in Manila

5.  Don’t Over Think

Hesitation causes bad thinking. Bad thinking causes food worrying. Avoid hesitation by getting in there and sampling something without thinking too hard about it and just going in!

6.  Actually…It’s A Delicacy

Have a realization that to many local people, the ultra bizarre food you are about to eat is probably not weird at all. In fact, many weird foods to us, and vice versa, are local delicacies that are prized eating possessions that should be respected when munching.

grub in ecuador

Grub Worm in Ecuador

7.  Tell A Story

Everyone I’ve ever met adores hearing about extremely weird foods that I have sampled in my life. Other than eating, there’s no greater satisfaction than telling a story about eating an exceptionally bizarre food that everyone is absolutely grossed out by.

8.  Don’t Kid Yourself With Textures

Do not think about or even contemplate or hesitate the texture of a weird food.  All too often it is not the flavor, but the texture that grosses people out.  If you simply focus on the flavor and try to completely ignore the texture, the food will be much easier to handle.  Durian, known as the king of fruits, is neglected stricly for it’s texture, but the fruit is actually brilliant!

soup number 5 manila

Mystery Soup Number 5

9.  Someone Eats It

How can you be afraid of a food when there is someone that eats it?  There is reason to be scared if you are eating something completely new that no one has ever tasted.  However, almost all freakishly weird foods are eaten and therefore cannot be abnormally unhealthy.  Don’t be afraid, it won’t harm you!!!

1 day old chicken manila

Deep fried 1 day old Chicken

10.  Last Resort: Block Taste Buds/Don’t Fully Chew

In a last resort case where the food simply causes an involuntary gag reflex, it’s best to chew while blocking the passage between the nose and throat and then swallowing with haste. Immediately chase with whatever beverage is nearest.

balut fetus egg manila

Duck fetus balut

In the end, there’s no way to absolutely love all freakishly weird foods from around the world. However, it is a wonderful asset for any traveler to be able to relish a few odd entrees and thrive to tell about them!

I know you have all eaten some freakishly weird foods, I would love to hear some comments!

Do you love food and travel too?

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  1. says

    oh wow… im not really adventurous when it comes to food… weird ones that ive tried are the fried insects in bangkok and i find them really tasty (i didnt try the fried cockroach though)… oh and i cant push myself to eat balut even if im from manila.


    the fried rat in the pic looks like a monster from another planet hehehe

  2. faii says

    well i have tried lots of weird stuff before but i surrender u!
    i like ur no.8 its such a great idea coz first time i saw the pic “Mystery Soup Number 5” i feel disgusted ,be honest 😀 but after i read it u make one point in me change… thanks for ur awesome artical!

    PS: a potato gun which u gave me was made again with a new spark 2 days ago but i have found in my box at the company that its lost this morning teahnician bring it to his home and his little son likes…so u could guess what happened next haha.
    We compromise…and he will help me make a big one this weekend! 😀

  3. says

    No. 6 is one of the first things that come to mind. What may be weird for me may not be for you and vice versa. Also, like what I said in your balut post, not everyone where that food is from eats it. Even I blanch at some of the things they eat in other parts of the Philippines. I belong to the population who tried balut and didn’t like it haha. But the day old is one of my favorites.

  4. says

    Flip: It’s ok to not be overly adventurous with food, we all have our own different pleasures while traveling! Have you had soup number 5?

    Faii: Thanks so much, that’s pretty funny that the kid stole the potato gun. Good luck with the new potato gun, I would like to see it when you are finished!

    Kat: That is very true, there are many locals who don’t like the food too. I think that is fine, as long as you have at least tried it at some point!

  5. says

    for the most part, i’ll get downright adventurous with food… but when the smell is kickin… ugh. that’s when my gusto starts to go. balut comes to mind :)

  6. A Jung says

    Hey Mark,
    I remember having blackened monkey with you and family in Zaire – very weird but pretty good. The Chinese eat snake brain, scorpions, sea horse and other delicacies for their health – you’ve got to go back to Hong Kong or to other parts of China for these healthy treats!

  7. says

    Oh that was difficult to see! Did you really eat all of those? And I would have to say one of the best tips you offered is to have an adventurous mindset. I think that’s true for everything when it comes to travel. When you have an open mind, you can discover much more about the world and about yourself at the same time.

  8. says

    Yes, A Jung, I do remember the blackened monkey in Congo. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have digital photography back then…

    Sandy: Very true, the adventurous mindset is surely one of the best qualities to have as a traveler and really just fosters all kinds of ideas.
    PS. The only one I didn’t eat was the freaky rat. I stumbled into it when I was full and unfortunately missed the opportunity.

  9. says

    for the most part, i’ll get downright adventurous with food… but when the smell is kickin… ugh. that’s when my gusto starts to go. balut comes to mind :)

  10. Juno says

    Man….. I thought deepfried rat is weird then worm came put. Ooops.. How brave mark! I didn’t even try stinky tofu. Haha am I too coward? :)

  11. joe says

    you say “weird food”. but when you posted pictures of that balut.
    i feel a craving for one… and i say “yummm” !

  12. fulvio says

    I brought back the famous sürstromming from Sweden. Fermented fish known to be the most disgusting food on the planet. I invited friend over and served it with the traditional sidedishes. I concluded afterwards that this can hardly be called food. It was indeed unedible and the smell was horrible. (We ate this in the garden :-)


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