Although multiculturalism is wonderful in things like fashion and the arts, some differences are more difficult to embrace than others. Take food, for example. Jeffrey Dryfoos, who publishes food magazines, including Dessert Professional, has prepared a sample menu of ten edibles from around the world that make our list of the world’s most disgusting food!.
1. Escamoles: Mexico
You won’t find this at Taco Bell (we hope): eggs of the large, black, venomous Liometopum ant, sometimes called ‘insect caviar.’ They have the texture of cottage cheese and are often eaten in tacos with guacamole.
2. Casu Marzu: Sardinia, Italy
The eggs of the Piophila casei, or ‘cheese fly’ are put in sheep milk cheese. The larvae eat it, the acid from their digestive system makes the cheese softer. By the time Casu Marzu is ready to be eaten, it will contain thousands of maggots. (Barf!)
3. Lutefisk: Norway
Codfish which has been soaked in lye for two days, a substance so corrosive that it can disintegrate silver utensils. A long cold water bath helps to dilute the stuff, but still… Another reason to avoid: if the fish is soaked for too long, the fat turns to soap.
4. Baby Mice Wine: Korea
A traditional Asian ‘health tonic’ in which live mice are shoved inside a bottle of rice wine and left to ferment. It supposedly tastes like gasoline.
5. Pacha: Iraq
Simply put, it’s a boiled sheep’s head. The wool-less treat is supposed to be picked clean, leaving only the skull.
6. Balut: The Philippines
Fertilized duck egg containing a nearly grown fetus, which is then boiled and eaten in the shell. It’s generally believed to be an aphrodisiac and a good source of protein.
7. Tarantula: Cambodia
The giant spiders are cooked whole, and everything from their hairy legs to their fangs are eaten. Ketchup, anyone?
8. Kopi Luwak Coffee: Asia
Beverage made from coffee berries which have been eaten and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet, a cat-sized mammal. The berries are retrieved from the animal’s feces. Why, you ask? The stomach enzymes break down the protein and make the coffee less bitter. Kopi Luwak is the priciest coffee in the world, going for from $100 to $600 per pound.
9. Beef Tripe: global
The edible guts of a butchered cow. We’re not talking liver, here: it’s usually made from the first three chambers of the cow’s stomach. Which means, as a bonus, you get whatever grass and stuff the cow’s belly has absorbed. Yum.
10. Monkey brains: China
Rumored to be cure for impotence, the practice of eating this delicacy appears to have come from watching chimpanzees do it in the wild. Some folks choose to eat them live, with the monkey’s head held immobile in the center of a small table.
11. Sago Worms: New Guinea
Plump, yellowish grubs that are eaten either cooked or alive, and are said to taste like bacon. We’ll take their word for it.
12. Durian Fruit: Southeast Asia
This large, thorn-covered fruit has been described as eating a raspberry in the bathroom and French-kissing your dead grandmother. Sticking to melon, here. (Photo: Jupiter Images)