The Craziest Things Travel Bloggers Have Eaten

One of the wonderful things about travelling to new places is the opportunity to eat and drink new things.

Sometimes those things can be a revelation for our taste buds. A ‘how do we not eat this at home?!’ moment. Other times, less so.

Travel bloggers are often exposed to new taste sensations and unusual foods, and while I tend to be a tad more conservative (oh alright, a scaredy cat) when I’m faced with strange creatures on menus, I know there are braver appetites out there.

So what are some of the strangest travel things travel bloggers have eaten? Let’s ask a few….

Not Quite Nigella – The Sour Toe Cocktail

This doesn’t sound too bad, until you realise there’s a real human toe in there.

Really. Over to Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella…

“The first time I heard about the sour toe cocktail which was about four or five years ago I was stunned. I honestly didn’t even believe that this was real and I remember Googling it straight away. I just knew that one day I had to make it to the Yukon and Dawson City to try it or at least watch people try it.

“When it came to the time, I almost chickened out but a fellow writer persuaded me to do it. We were the only two of the group of writers that were willing, the rest watched. The queue was long and if someone had been sick I may have wavered but everyone reported that it just tasted like the shot that you bought and there was no toe taste (whatever that might be).

“I am really glad that I did it but I know that it isn’t everyone’s cup of toe! ;)”

(Disclaimer: NQN did not actually eat the toe. That is very much frowned upon. So technically it wasn’t eaten but she did consume the ‘toe jam’ that was squeezed out of it. Shudder.)

Boy Eats World – Chocolate Coated Worms

Seven year old Raffles blogs about his travels and the interesting food that he eats along the way with a little help from his mum Aleney.  And he’s not afraid of strange foods.

“I eat weird stuff all the time when I travel because it’s the best way to find unexpectedly yummy stuff like the epic barbecued sea snails I tried in New Caledonia and the yummy raw prawns and monkfish liver I tried from Tsukiji Markets.

“But sometimes weird things can be a bit disgusting. I tried duck’s tongue in China and it was nasty! But the weirdest and worst thing ever was chocolate coated worms and cockroaches in Cabramatta. Made me vom!!”

Raffles Boy Eats World eating bbq snails in New Caledonia

Wandering Earl – Fried Rats

Not bothered by that headline? For Wandering Earl it gets worse.

“While in Laos, a few friends and I went to a local market. The idea was that each of us would buy some food and we would go back to the guesthouse and have a big meal. I saw a lady selling fried rats and so I bought one.

“My friends were not impressed and naturally, they made me take the first bite. I took a small bite, chewed it a bit and thought nothing of it. Then I turned the rat over and noticed several maggots crawling around its flesh. I vomited and didn’t feel too well for a while after that.”

Wandering Earl with THAT fried rat, Vang Vieng, Laos

Traveldudes – Mystery Soup

In Melvin from Traveldudes case, sometimes it might be better not to know what’s in your bowl.

“The weirdest stuff I’ve eaten on my travels? I can’t tell, as I don’t know myself what it was. There was a very strange soup in Hong Kong, where I just recognized the chicken legs.

“The grasshoppers I’ve had in Bangkok weren’t that weird, but I should have cut off the legs before eating them, as they got stuck in my throat with their barbed hooks.

“I’m also sure that I’ve eaten rats in Laos, which were sold as chicken or something similar. Then I tried the Mopane worm in South Africa, which was quite tasteless.

“So with all those experiences I can say, it’s ‘only’ a mind game you have to win, if you are interested in the taste.”

Traveldudes Melvin

Eat Drink + Be Kerry – Four Course Snail Degustation

One snail course? Sure. Four? I’m feeling for Kerry’s partner on this one.

“As a food writer I’m always keen to taste something new from pig’s ears and duck’s tongues to bacon jam but my partner is not-so-fussed.

“When the invitation arrived for a four course snail degustation in a Michelin-starred Vienna restaurant with the snail farmer, I was excited but it took promises of an alternative menu to elicit any response from my other half.

“Five courses later I left the restaurant after enjoying an amazing experience but my partner, well …”

The Incidental Tourist – Hippo

Before becoming a vegetarian Dawn from The Incidental Tourist was faced with a rather unusual selection at a buffet.

“It was only a few years ago that I found myself at a hosted dinner in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, with a group of newly made local contacts that I needed on my side. When dinner was served and a selection of items from the buffet was brought to me, among the ‘delicacies’ was crocodile, hippo and mopane worms, rather large, sluggishly fat caterpillars.

“Out of politeness, I ate it all, struggling most with the hippo, which was very fatty and something I’d seen on a game drive just hours before. Then the crocodile, which tasted dare I say it, just like chicken. Next the deep fried mopane worms, crispy and hard to wash down, even with a local Zambezi beer. But when you’re generously hosted in a foreign country, you eat what you’re given. And it was nothing a cycle to Victoria Falls the next day couldn’t fix.

“Now a firm vegetarian I believed those food challenging days were over, but just recently I spend a day in a Masai village in Kenya’s Masai Mara where we took to the ground for a lesson in making fire, cooked up some goat and enjoyed a taste of their honey wine, a gesture of great respect. All the while talking about culture, why they wear red and the adornments the Masai warriors are known for.

“It is true that whatever the meals, food is a connector.”

Mapping Megan – Rotten Shark

It sounds disgusting but as Mapping Megan discovered there’s method to the madness.

“If you’re travelling for local cuisine, you can’t visit Iceland without tasting fermented shark. Yes, rotten shark is an Icelandic staple which dates back to the Viking times, and the traditional dish is still very much a part of their culture today (though admittedly also used as an amusing tourist attraction)

“While the concept of rotten shark may disgust you, fresh shark in many instances is actually unhealthy due to the acid in the flesh. And it doesn’t actually taste that horrible!

“We won’t ruin your first experience with spoilers, though I do recommend pinching your nose, as the smell is worse than the taste!”

Mapping Megan

Mr and Mrs Romance – An Entire Menu of Cheese

Christina and her partner in romance and travel Jim have also given the fermented shark in Iceland a nudge, and say it is a good idea to drink a kind of Icelandic aquavit called Brennivin with it. I think I’d probably need a few beforehand.

When I broke the news that Megan had already grabbed that shark, Christina had a cheesy tale.

“Another crazy food experience was when we stumbled across the Cheese Restaurant St Michael in Tallinn, Estonia. It’s in an old nunnery and the entire menu is cheese – whipped, baked, fried and any other way you can think to eat cheese.

“The waiters also have to dress up in traditional monk’s robes. It’s pretty funny but the food was actually great if you’re a cheese fiend like we are!”

Jim and Christina are Mr and Mrs Romance

yTravel Blog – Sludgy Home Brew

Caz and Craig know how to make friends on their travels and don’t like to offend anyone. But Caz says they met their match with one beverage.

“When we were travelling through Malawi we befriended some local beach boys. They’d cook us a BBQ dinner every evening.

“One day they took us to their village to try some of their home brew. They handed it to us in an old milk carton with the top cut off. Inside was a brown, gravelly, sludgy mess that looked like watery porridge. It tasted exactly how it looked.

“We tried to be polite and drink it with smiles, but we could only get a few sips down before the bits floating around in our teeth forced us to say, ‘No more please.’”

Caz and Craig of yTravel Blog

Mr Weekender – Chicken Feet

Having always chickened out of eating chickens feet, I know I’d have been as lost as Jaharn from Mr Weekender if I tried this one.

“I was walking through a bustling market in Ho Chi Minh City with a couple of friends I met on a two week tour of Vietnam. It was at the start of the trip and we were buying food for our overnight train ride to Hue later that evening. We noticed a few different local delicacies on offer and I was dared to try something.

“Not one to back down from trying something new, my friends chose deep fried chicken feet. Lucky me. Because it’s deep fried, it’s got to be kind of tasty, right? Assured it was delicious, I held a piece in my hand and literally had no idea how to tackle it. It was such an awkward shape so was I supposed to try and fit it all into my mouth, or eat it like I was at a high tea?

“Armed with confusion and more questions about dipping sauce preference, I bravely crunched and munched on my first and only piece of chicken feet. It’s a whole lot of effort for all feet and not a lot of chicken. And even an hour later, I still had feet in my teeth. Yup…”

Mr Weekender's Jaharn Giles in Vietnam

Nomad Girl – Durian

The first time I came across the concept of Durian was seeing signs in Asia telling me I couldn’t have one on the premises. Which of course made me wonder if I wanted one.  Then I smelt the fruit and decided I’d leave it there. Not so Nomad Girl…

“Being a fruit based vegan, I would have to say durian is by far my favourite food while living in Asia. Many travellers are turned off by the smell (although I don’t think it smells in a bad way). It is by far the creamiest fruit that exists – every time I eat it I wonder how it can be a fruit being so creamy.

“Since living in Asia for almost 2.5 years, I have been eating durian almost daily. In countries such as Myanmar and Brunei the durian is much cheaper and there are many different types and colours. In Thailand there seems to be only one type of durian sold and it is an ok price. But after living in Hong Kong for 9 months, durian became my biggest expense (almost) as the price is much higher than any other country.

“I recommend for all people visiting Asia to please try durian twice (on separate days). Because the first time you taste it, it will feel weird and creamy, and you will taste many different tastes (caramel, vanilla, onion). The second time you try it, you will fall in love with it. It is super healthy too!”

RedzAustralia – The Australian Coat of Arms

As a blogger who specializes in Australian travel, Marion AKA Red Nomad Oz’s unusual food choice was our coat of arms. Or rather, the animals on it.

“I just HAD to try the Kangaroo and Emu Tasting Plate when I saw it on the menu in an Adelaide restaurant a few years ago!

“I’d never tasted either, although eating them isn’t uncommon in OZ.  The emu pate, kangaroo party pie, mini emu slider and smoked kangaroo sausage were delicious.

“But I got even more of a (perhaps sick) thrill from the ‘distinction’ (OR is that ’embarrassment’?) of being part of the only country in the WORLD to eat both animals on their official Coat of Arms!”

So there we have it, some of the unusual, interesting and at times downright disgusting things travel bloggers have nibbled on around the world.

Of course so much of what seems strange to one person and delicious to another is cultural, but that’s part of the fun of travelling. Getting outside our comfort zones in more ways than one.

So do tell, what strange things have you eaten on your travels, and if you had the chance, would you eat it again?

About the Author

As a journalist who loves to travel and is fond of a chat I'm oh so happy when I'm sharing travel tales and tips. When I'm not travelling or writing about it I can be found out and about with friends, curled up at home with a good book or watching an addictive tv show promising I'll stop after one more episode. Amanda on Google +

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  1. Thanks for including my tame Aussie weird-thing-to-eat, Amanda!! I see I have a LOT of catching up to do – either that, or I’ve got a great new list of things to avoid 😀

    • Ha! There’s a bit of both in this post I think. Although I have now decided that the time has come to get over the smell and try durian. I’m heading to Myanmar next so will take Nomad Girl’s advice and try it twice. We shall see if I end up getting hooked.

  2. The post turned out so interesting. I didnt know people ate emus !! Thanks so including me its an awesome read ????

    • Awwwww, thank you! So glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for being a part of it.

      As for emus, they’re not that common and not at the being sold in the supermarkets level like kangaroo meat is, but they are eaten in some places. Definitely not one for you as a vegan, but we could probably find some strange fruits somewhere in Australia for you to try 🙂

  3. So interesting to hear what others have eaten! There are some crazy food choices out there. I forgot I’ve also eaten turtle before with a local Aboriginal family. That was an awesome experience and the turtle was delicious.

    • Oooh, turtle would be interesting. When I was in Litchfield a lovely indigenous woman was telling me about how they used to cook echidna when she was a little girl. Apparently it’s delicious, but it would also fall under the Too Cute To Eat category for me (with apologies to lambs and other really cute animals that I grew up eating).

  4. Ieuw! Happy we have had dinner already! Our worst food experience: fish guts for breakfast in Japan! Slightly too strong on an empty stomach….

  5. You’ve done a great job at collecting some truly weird and wacky food here!!! The concept of chocolate coated worms and cockroaches makes me a little uneasy lol I think I’ll stick to my rotten shark 😀

    • Thank you… and I’m with you. I think I’d go rotten shark over the chocolate covered worms and cockroaches. Especially if they made Raffles vom! 🙂

  6. Johanna says:

    These are all pretty intense! I would like to try durian, I think. I’ve had some strange things, but I think the most difficult for me was Congolese fufu from a communal bowl. You take a wad with your hand and use it as an edible spoon for your other food. It can be made from different types of starch and I think this one was cassava. It felt like wall paper paste in my mouth and was so hard to choke down. The idea of all the hands in the bowl didn’t make it easier!

    • I’m with you on being up for finally trying the durian, but some of the others aren’t really calling my name!

      The fufu sounds really interesting. A good one to have tried, even if it’s not something you woke up the next day hoping you could do again

  7. Actually the smell of durian depends on the single person! My boyfriend hates it, but for me it’s just another fruit aroma! Anyone has ever tried the durian and egg moon cake? Incredible that it has a real salted egg yolk inside.
    Gloria

    • The Durian and Egg Moon Cake is a new one to me! When I think moon cakes I think of Alabama, but that’s a very different kind 🙂 If I see one of those on my travels I may get brave enough to give it a go. Who knows, I may turn out to be one of those people who loves durian after all!

  8. Such a great article and thanks for including me! Even though I kissed the toe, I often shy away from Durian! I prefer the milder Thai durian to the Malaysian one. The latter is for hardcore durian lovers 🙂

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