If you are anything like me, you probably enjoy the simple things when it comes to food. Pancakes on the weekend, pasta for dinner, maybe a cold one after work. At 26 years old, I know what I like, and what I like has been shaped heavily by the environment in which I have been raised. But what if I grew up in Asia? Or South America? I asked FlightHub, an online travel agency, for some insight into international cuisines. More specifically, I asked that FlightHub review some of the strangest delicacies they’ve heard of. After seeing the FlightHub list, I decided to dig deeper into some of the stranger dishes that can be found when exploring foreign delicacies.
Century Egg – China
A delicacy that has been around for an estimated 600 years, the Century Egg seems to me to be an acquired taste for Western taste buds. Made by curing fowl eggs in ash, clay, salt, lime, and rice hulls. FlightHub says this process can take months, resulting in the egg’s yolk turning green or grey and the white turning black. The smell of a Century Egg is rather pungent, with hints of sulphur and ammonia, while the taste is said to be something akin to bad cheese.
Fugu (Puffer Fish) – Japan
Remember that episode of The Simpsons when Homer thinks he is going to die because of poisoned seafood? Fugu was the culprit. A delicacy that takes skill to prepare according to FlightHub, Fugu is essentially puffer fish. This ancient dish, it has been eaten for over 2,000 years, can actually kill you thanks to the toxin tetrodotoxin. This poison sounds terrifying. Not only does it cause suffocation, but also paralysis. As for the people making it, it requires an apprenticeship and state license to be able to commercially serve Fugu.
Balut – Phillipines
While some people like eggs, and some people like duck, Balut is more or less both of these at the same time. Salut is prepared by boiling a 17 day old duck embryo in its shell. The result is a boiled soup of baby duck that you suck out of the shell. This one was probably my least favourite sounding one.
Hakari – Iceland
Before I get into any cultural details of this dish, I’ll get to the point. Hakari is rotten shark meat that’s been buried in a sandy hole. After being resurrected from its sandy grave, the shark meat is then strung up and left to ferment for several months more before being consumed. An Icelandic speciality that was likely introduced before the invention of refrigeration, Hakari is said to have an ammonia rich taste.