Balut, dog meat, goat brain or live octopus are the dishes not always the distant tourists dare to try when visiting Asia.
Steven is a freelance writer from Ohio, USA. In 2015, Steven has lived in Vietnam for a while on his journey to discover the world. Here’s the weirdest food he has ever tried when being a “backpacker” travels around Asia.
1. Chicken neck (Qingdao City, China)
This is the side dish and usually served with affordable beer in Qingdao city. The chicken neck is skewered with a bamboo stick and the necks mostly are bone and skin. Steven shared that he likes spicy duck neck more than this dish because at least there is a little meat. Photo: Joyce Yang.
2. Goat brains (Saigon, Vietnam)
During his time in Saigon, Steven had a chance to enjoy the stewed goat brain dish at dinner. The brain has absorbed the flavor of the broth. Steven found its taste like tofu and not too hard to eat. Photo: Steve.
3. Fried spiders (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
Crispy Tarantula poisonous spider is one of the dishes Steven ate when he stopped at a residence point during his first trip to Asia. He ate the legs first, they were very crispy with enough spices. Steven said they taste like shrimp. However, the spider’s body was cold, hard and sticky. It was the only dish on the list he could not eat all. Photo: Steven.
4. Balut (Manila, Philippines)
Filipino calls the half-hatched duck egg dish as balut. Eggs with fetus are artificially hatched for about 20 days until the unborn ducks develop some parts such as bones and fur, and then boiled. Steven said that he felt like it was a big boiled egg and very hard. Photo: Stephen Bischoff.
5. Pupa (Yeosu, South Korea)
Beondegi is a street food made from the pupa, a very popular food in Korea. The steamed or fried silkworm pupae are put into a small cup. When eating, the diners use bamboo sticks to skewer. Photo: Steven.
6. Horse meat (Tokyo, Japan)
Although eating horse meat is said as a barbaric action in America, this is quite normal for people in the Central Asian states and Japan. Steven had eaten horse meat few times in the restaurants serving sashimi in Tokyo. The lean meats are fresh and very delicious. Photo: Steven.
7. Monkey’s liver (Yiliang, Yunnan, China)
The thing makes this dish so unusual is that Steven had seen the monkeys were in captivity and waited for slaughter in the restaurant, which never happened in the US. Commenting on the dish, Steven said that the grilled monkey liver dish has an attractive spicy flavor. Photo: Steven.
8. Duck tongue (Taichung, Taiwan)
Americans also eat pig tongue and cow tongue, but Steven said that these dishes looked like steak. However, this duck tongue dish gave Steven the feeling as if a tongue was taken out of the animal’s throat before putting on the platter. Diners will enjoy the entire duck tongue, instead of eating each piece as cow tongue or pig tongue. Photo: Steven.
9. Dog meat (Zhanjiang, China)
Westerners are hardly comfortable with the habit of eating dog meat in China. Steven said that definitely all species cannot be classified as the intelligent species, the loyal species or the lovely species, so he respects the culture of the people here. He told himself would not eat dog meat again, but also do not regret that he used to try this dish. Photo: Steven.
10. Live octopuses (Seoul, Korea)
The Koreans call this dish Sannakji. Steven had eaten this dish many times and always enjoyed watching the reaction of other people who try it the first time. In fact, the octopus is dead because the chef killed it. But when presented on the plate, the tentacles still move and make the diners feel like it was alive.