Whether you are a world traveler or simply an adventurous eater, these incredible dishes from around the world will definitely tingle your taste buds.
Weird Food #1: Haggis (Scotland)
Take a mess of sheep heart, liver, and other organs, mix it with oats and onion, and stuff it into a sheep intestine, and you have the delicious Scottish dish of haggis. After cooking it properly, you will end up with a brownish mush with a very iron-filled taste. Eating it for the first time, I dipped spoonfuls into sweet milk, which added a sweet taste to the liver. Haggis is definitely not pretty to look at, but it is quite delicious.
Weird Food #2: Oxtail (Cuba)
Growing up, this was my mother’s favorite dish. Every year for her birthday, my abuela would cook up oxtails in a gravy. Oxtail is very fatty with little meat and is definitely an acquired taste.
Weird Food #3: Stuffed Grape Leaves (the Mediterranean and Middle East)
At a recent international dinner I encountered the traditional dish of stuffed grape leaves. Carefully washed wilted grape leaves are stuffed with a mixture of rice and meat. Vegetarian stuffed grape leaves are common, as well. The taste is very distinct, with the spices mixing with the bitterness of the grape leaves. The unique texture and feel of the grape leaves in your mouth contributes to the novelty of the dish.
Weird Food #4: Poi (Polynesia)
Visitors to Hawaii will be familiar with the bland root which is eaten with the fingers and often served as an accompaniment to other Polynesian luau dishes. Poi is smashed into a bland paste and is eaten with traditional pork dishes.
Weird Food #5: Fufu (West and Central Africa, the Caribbean)
Fufu (foufou or foofoo) is a traditional west and central African dish which traveled overseas to the Caribbean. The form which I am familiar with is the Ghana version made with cassava and plantains. Essentially the cassava and plantains are smashed together into a sweet mush. Fufu is made of differing roots throughout the African continent and is considered to an essential food.
Weird Food #6: Conch Fritters (Bahamas)
I remember the first time I tried a conch fritter I had mistaken it for a hush puppy. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I had bitten into a green slug! Made essentially the same way as any fritter, with the addition of conch, conch fritters are common side dish and finger food in the Caribbean.
Weird Food #7: Curry Goat (the Caribbean)
If you have not tried goat, you should first try it in the tasty form of Jamaican curry goat. The dish is savory and spicy, and often served over rice. The delicious stew of goat, curry spices, potatoes, and other herbs, will encourage you to go for seconds, or even thirds, of the sumptuous dish.
Weird Food #8: Croquetas (Cuba)
Much of Cuban cuisine is borrowed from European nations like France. The Cuban croqueta is no different. Made carefully with chopped ham, flour, and onion and fried into small logs, croquetas can be found at any traditional Cuban celebration from the quinceñera to Christmas and birthdays.
Weird Food #9: Sashimi (Japan)
With the growing popularity of sushi bars in the United States, finding a place to eat traditional Japanese sashimi may be as easy as picking up your phone book or doing a quick internet search. However, do not confuse sashimi with sushi. Sashimi involves the delicate slicing of fresh raw seafood while sushi is the familiar cooked variety which comes in friendly forms like the California Roll (crab, rice, avocado, and seaweed). Sashimi is often accompanied with garnishes like ginger or wasabi.
Weird Food #10: Alligator Tail (Louisiana and Florida)
If you have never attempted to eat a reptile, I highly suggest trying out some fried gator tail. What does alligator tail taste like? Imagine eating fish with the texture of a rubber tire. Chomping down on some alligator tail may give your mouth a workout, but after a few bites, you will be glad that you tried it.