Weird Foods I Have Eaten and Will Eat

One of the weirdest dishes I ever tried was a salad of blue potatoes, baby octopi, and a third, normal thing I understandably don’t recall. This was at some bullshit trendy faux-Mexican restaurant somewhere in the ’90s, somewhere in Manhattan, where I always had to go for business trips.

A plate of baby octopi with unidentifiable greens
Baby octopi. Photo from owlmeat.blogspot.com.

Blue potatoes, for the record, taste like regular potatoes. Baby octopi taste like fried calamari if they didn’t fry it. I feel bad for them now. They were only babies!

Maybe because of Hannah’s recent posts on edible weeds, I’ve been thinking again about weird foods I’ve eaten, and about how many things I’ve never tried.

Although I’m not from the South, I’ve had fried green tomatoes. My dad made them with tomatoes from our garden before a hard freeze. His were thinner slices in a light batter, like green tomato tempura. I tried deer sausage as a kid, in my uncle’s finished basement at a family New Year’s Eve party. It tasted great, not too different from summer sausage, but I had to stop eating after someone joked about Bambi.

Once in New Orleans I ate almost a whole bucket full of crawfish. On that short trip I was wandering around the French Quarter without any particular place to stay, which I don’t recommend. The docks and the alleys behind the restaurants smelled like rotting crawfish, and so did I by the time I got back on the train to go home.

At a B&B in Cork, my husband and I both loved black pudding, or at least, he loved it until I told him what it was.

Those foods may not be at all unusual to you, depending on where you live. I don’t think I’ve tried too many unusual things, and I’d like to branch out a little, but if you Google “weird food” you bring up lists of disgusting food. Disgusting to me, anyway. I would definitely try fried crickets or grasshoppers–I like anything crunchy–but tuna eyeballs? Or balut, a duck egg in which the duck fetus was half-grown? Not for me.

You really don't want to know. Trust me.
Balut. Photo from cracked.com.

Some things are just stupid, like live octopi whose suckers may attach to your throat when you try to swallow them. It would serve you right.

I started making a list of some of the foods I’d actually like to try. Here’s what I’ve got so far.

Marzipan. I’m going to like this, right? It’s so cute!

Marzipan candy shaped like various fruits.
Photo from Gingerbread House Heaven.

Turkish Delight. I only know it from the Narnia books.

Goat. I avoid factory-farm-raised meat, but I feel like there’s a better chance that a goat’s had an ok life. I’m not positive of that, though.

Frog’s Legs. I’m sure I’ll like these. They fry them, right? There are not many things I don’t like fried. Hell, I’d probably like tuna eyeballs if they were deep-fried.

Huckleberry Pie. I am still not 100% convinced huckleberry is a real berry.

Moon Pie. Not weird at all, but I’ve never had one! And they’re kind of iconic. I may order a box on Amazon.

Horchata. It’s ridiculous that I’ve never tried it. I lived in Tucson for three years and they sold it pre-made in the grocery stores. Every time I shopped, I thought, “I should really try that,” but then I thought, “No, I should make my own,” and I never did.

Marmite. I read somewhere that British people really like this, but I can’t believe it’s that common. Is it?

Jar of Marmite
Photo from British Corner Shop

Rabbit.

Kippers. I just figured out they are actually herring.

Chayote. It’s a squash.

Cherimoya. It’s a fruit.

Dragonfruit.I’m not sure if I can find this anywhere near me.

Photo of a whole dragonfruit plus one cut in half.
Photo from Wikipedia.

Alligator.

Elk.

Macarons. I know! Why haven’t I had one yet? Obviously I’ll love it.

Celeriac.

Salt Cod Fritters, or Bacalaito. I bet these are amazing.

French Lavender Ice Cream. A shop not too far from me sells it. I’d like to try Green Tea Ice Cream too.

What are some weird things you’ve eaten? And what should I add to my list?

Published by

Bryn Donovan

Romance writer, poet, quilter, and dog cuddler.

34 thoughts on “Weird Foods I Have Eaten and Will Eat”

  1. My father is quite the experimental cook, so several things have passed through our kitchen for as long as I can remember. Things I passed on: cow's eyes, lavender ice (the smell of lavender is enough to make me nauseous) and larvae pancakes. 

    I'll sooner try a new plant/vegetable/fruit than animal anyway. 

  2. I've tried all the foods here except balut, Turkish delight, and alligator. But I've heard rattlesnake and alligator are similar, and I've eaten rattlesnake. And I never want to try balut. Marzipan is way more attractive than it is tasty, IMHO.

    I see dragonfruit on the street a lot, but I live in NYC so we have several Chinatowns to choose from. A lot of cross-cultural Asian markets have them, I've seen them by folks' place in CO at the big Vietnamese grocery.

  3. Marmite! Marmite! MARMITE! It is one of the greatest things ever created and indeed, very common here. I’m quite sure I could live on toast and Marmite, too. Marzipan and Turkish Delights, however, are horrid. Interesting about the different meats, a dear friend of ours has eaten pretty much all the different types of meat there are to eat, and frankly, rather her than me. Will say that venison and rabbit – and game in general – are worth a try, though I found rabbit a pain to cook (even with a lovely recipe, it was just awkward). As for fruit and vegetables, I’ve been meaning to try some unknowns for a while.

  4. I live in Korea and we get octopus in the school lunches sometimes and I’ve seen all kinds of wriggly things in restaurants, particularly if I’m in a rural area.

    I’ve had frog legs, gator tail, snake and buffalo (that’s what being from the South will do to you.)

    There are a ton of Brits here and I’ve tried marmite and found it disgusting. Same with vegemite.

    The weirdest thing I’ve eaten has been silk worm larvae. It smells disgusting and tastes worse, but it was on a dare so……

  5. I’ve tried all of your weird foods except moon pies, huckleberry pie, balut, and salted cod fritters.

    Here are some things that I’ve tried that didn’t kill me:

    -The stems of the giant upright elephant ear: these are delicious in a tamarind, tomato, and pineapple Vietnamese soup called “Canh Chua.”

    -Agar-agar jelly: It’s a little off-putting because it’s what used in petrie dishes to grow bacterial cultures and for electrophoresis in DNA elucidation, but it’s a really neutral tasting food. It’s the starch of red algae. It’s often flavored with fruit and sweeteners and eaten as a dessert.

    -Pickled grapes: They aren’t really weird in of themselves, but their preparation is a little odd. I never thought that I would enjoy a spicy, sour, and salty grape, but I was wrong.

    -Field mice: I was scared sh*tless when I learned that a host of mine was preparing deep-fried popcorn mice as an appetizer. I was pleasantly surprised by how benign the experience was.

    -Ginger or fennel ice cream: Awesome flavors.

    -Milkis: a milky fruit soda from S. Korea

    -Sea cucumber: You can probably order this from a dim-sum/banquet-style Chinese restaurant.

    -Breadfruit and jackfruit

    -Banana blossoms: These can be used in places of herbs/greens in salads or added to soups.

    -Vietnamese fermented pork sausage (Nem Chua)

    -Congealed blood cubes: Pretty similar to black pudding, they’re small cakes made of rice and pig’s blood. They’re often found in Southeast Asian soups.

    -Bitter melon (goya): A lot of people think that this is the secret to Okinawan longevity. I’ll warn you before hand–it lives up to its name. It’s the most bitter thing I’ve eaten (although I do enjoy it).

    1. You have eaten so many weird things! I am impressed!

      Honestly, I’d eat just about anything if a host served it to me, especially if I were in another country and/or I didn’t know them very well. But if I heard I was going to eat mice, I’d have a moment of terror as well.

  6. Apparently I eat weird foods according to your list. I’m massive fan of many of the things on your to-try list.
    For marzipan, get the ones covered in chocolate, not the pretty fruit ones, the chocolate covered ones taste better longer, the pretty fruit ones can get REALLY dry and pasty.
    For Turkish Delight, it’s tough to find here in the states but Rose and Orange are the best flavors and YUM (I’ve actually had the best luck finding it in the food section at TJ Maxx). Mostly I want everyone to try Turkish Delight so I can buy it here more easily
    Horchata is best to get at a dingy mexican restaurant, they have it in machines that kind of look like 7-eleven slurpee machines and it’s amazing.
    I’ve had frog legs, marmite (and yes, brits DO love it, or hate it), the moon pie (meh), elk, but not too passionate about them.
    I’ve had my fair share of weird foods, especially on trips to Asia. Ate at one place in Korea where the first like 10 courses (there were about 25) were all raw, most of them wriggling. I managed to stomach some, but failed at trying for the octopus tentacles that were inching along the plate…

  7. Holy shit, that balut looks downright DISGUSTING.

    You should definitely try macaroons (they’re dainty and sweet, a little powdery, and the best ones just melt in your mouth). Marzipan I didn’t like so much — it was a little too sweet and weird-tasting. Moon pies are great — if you’ve had whoopie pies, that’s what they’re like. Horchata’s nice too, especially if you come from a dairy-free family like I do. I’ve only had dragonfruit in energy drinks, but it seems to be pretty good. I also had a huckleberry vodka cocktail once, which was great. Turkish Delight is actually pretty good too — if you’re ever in Canada, or anywhere they sell British candy, go for the Cadbury’s chocolate-covered kind (it’ll make it easier to understand why Edmund liked it so much).

    Now as for weird things I’ve eaten: I’ve had venison and cloudberry jam in Stockholm, Sweden (venison is a little bit strong-tasting, but cloudberry jam is really sweet and heavenly). I’ve also had jackfruit, starfruit, and custard apples when I went to Jamaica last year. Closer to home, red bean pastries are a favorite of mine whenever we go to Chinatown. I also tried eel sushi at a local Korean-Japanese restaurant — didn’t care for it much. If you want to try green tea ice cream, you should definitely check out matcha candies (which are basically chewy green tea-flavored candies), or red-bean ice cream. To tell the truth, I’m not very adventurous when it comes to food. Most of the time, I like to stick to old favorites — unless there’s something really, really interesting that I haven’t tried yet.

    1. There’s a Turkish restaurant in Seattle’s Pike Place Market that sells Turkish Delight, and the coolest thing about it is that they sell different flavors. Of course, they have the basic flavor, but they also have rose, pistachio, orange, lemon, etc. They are so good!!

  8. I’ve had fried crickets, and they are actually pretty tasty if you can get over the mental taboo of eating a bug. (I had to talk myself into eating the ones I did.)

    I’ve also eaten the following: crocodile, bustard, wildebeest, zebra, camel, yak, elk, venison, warthog, ostrich, antelope, raw sea urchin (weird texture/strong taste!), various other raw seafoods in sashimi, fiddlehead ferns, marmite (not my cup of tea), frogs legs, starfruit, custard apples, durian candy (not sure I could handle the actual fruit!), jackfruit, goat, sheep…I’m not sure what else I’ve eaten that would be considered “weird.” Does beef tongue count as weird?

    I’ve gotten to the point where I’m game to try nearly anything. I go to a church with a primarily Filipino congregation, so I’ll probably be exposed to balut at some point. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to eat it, but I’d like to at least try.

  9. You’ve never had macaroons or marzipan?? Go eat some right now! So yummy.

    I’m pretty meh about goat. In all fairness though, I had to eat a fair bit of it over a 2 week period and it was rather chewy, I’d give it another shot if it was prepared differently. Rabbit, frog’s legs, alligator, and elk, on the other hand, were all excellent when I had them.

    I also want to try dragonfruit. I’ve seen it at a grocery store near me, but have always put off actually getting it. Maybe I’ll get some tomorrow. :)

  10. Lovely topic! Blood pudding is among traditional fall/winter foods here, in fact I’ve had some in the past few weeks. Eating raw (okay, usually meaning salt-cured) fish is also common here. I’ve eaten similarly treated raw meat as well, and it was delicious (priced accordingly, so this was a one-time treat). I’ve had baby octopi many a time in seafood stir-fry and seafood fried rice contexts, they’re very nice. Also, among the best sushi I’ve ever tasted was nigiri with some sort of white sea mollusc.
    I’d like to say I’m fine with most seafood, but I have to admit I don’t really like lamprey. Roasted lamprey in marinade is a delicacy much beloved by my uncle, who makes it himself and thus it often features at extended family dinners. And I know they are caught during a part of the life cycle when they haven’t eaten for months and their digestive tracks are completely empty, but they’re still icky to me. They have a pretty distinct smell and taste as well. Metallic.

    I’ve tried some of the things on your to-try-list, too:

    Macaroons: overrated, overpriced and too sweet, imo. Coming from someone who likes almonds a lot.

    Rabbit: very hard to eat if you’ve actually had contact with pet rabbits. Taste-wise sort of closer to chicken than pork or veal, iirc.

    Green tea icecream: the food of gods, as far as I’m concerned. See also: Japanese green tea chocolate.

    Marzipan: it varies. It can be quite dull, actually, if it’s from the cheap end, meaning it will be loaded with too much sugar so you can barely taste the almond. (Very cheap end will be made of peanuts instead of almonds.) There are also different textures, some smoother and some more grainy. I love almonds, so I think high-end, not-too-sweet marzipan is very nice (Danish brand Anthon Berg for example). Also, I think the classic Swedish “princess cake” with whipped cream filling under a layer of marzipan is wonderful.

    As for what I’d most like to try myself: quail and pigeon and pheasant. And moon pie, I keep hearing about them, but they’re very hard to find in my corner of the world. Same for horchata, I’d like to see how different it is from plain almond milk.

  11. Black pudding is DELICIOUS. Americans tend to have that reaction when you tell them what’s in it though. Did he have white pudding as well?

    ‘Weird’ things I have eaten:
    – crocodile burger
    – camel meat
    – Kangaroo steak: YUM
    – starfruit: also YUM
    – moose
    – Marmite and Vegemite: yeuch.
    – coddle: not weird at all to me but not a common concoction outside of Dublin I don’t think.

  12. I make my own marzipan every year at Christmas. It’s super easy, but but messy. All it is, is one egg white then equal parts ground almond and powdered sugar (I think I use 1 cup of each, but I would need to double check). Mix it all together (I kneed it with my hands usually), and if it’s too sticky, add powdered sugar until it isn’t. Then you can sculpt away at it to make it cute, or just roll it into balls and dip them in chocolate and that’s good too.

    Or if you are very nerdy like me, you can use it to make the Toffee Rat Onna Stick recipe from Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook.

    Also, I recently had pirogi made with rattlesnake meat and chunks of some edible cactus. Which is probably one of the weirdest things I’ve ever eaten. (They were good, btw)

  13. Dragonfruit can be absolutely wonderful. I haven’t had it in a while, so I’m not sure really how to describe the taste…but the taste is also very different between the ones with white insides and the ones with purple insides.

    I was fonder of the purple dragonfruit, because they are a lot sweeter. The white ones have almost a sort of sour taste.

    1. I’ve never had purple dragonfruit. It sounds interesting.

      I don’t really like the white fleshed dragonfruit. It tastes like a blander, more sour and watery Bartlett pear to me.

      Apparently there’s a yellow skinned variety called pitaya that’s indigenous to American Southwest. My mother claims that it’s the best of the dragon fruits.

  14. Green tea ice cream is delicious. Ciao Bella makes a decent green tea gelato, too.

    I had lavender ice cream at a restaurant once, and that was also amazing. It’s weird because you feel more like you’re smelling it than tasting it. There’s a restaurant in my ‘hood that makes amazing creme brulee, usually vanilla but sometimes spiced with other things. Once they did a lavender one and Oh. My. God. yum.

    I tried gator when I was a kid, and I just remember it being super rubbery and gross. Since I don’t eat meat now, that will have to remain my lasting impression.

    I’d like to try Marmite, too. Gotta see what all the fuss is about.

Leave a Reply