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Bizarre Delicacies in Southeast Asean Countries

Updated on December 20, 2022
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Brian is an aspiring writer that seeks to inform and educate the public through informative and educational pieces from various categories.

Bizarre Delicacies in Southeast Asean Countries

Bizarre Delicacies in Southeast Asean Countries
Bizarre Delicacies in Southeast Asean Countries

Southeast Asian countries are a melting pot of over hundreds of traditional cultures, historical places of attraction, unique natural wonders and amazing array of delicious food that unites its people. Locals express hospitality to visitors through food and are always happy to showcase their food to impress tourists and travelers.

Travelling is a good way to experience different culture and open-mindedness helps one to embrace the diversity of the host country. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone enables you to experience the local culture better. For the courageous traveler, trying out the local delicacies does not stop there, but can include the more exotic treats.

Here is a list of a few Southeast Asian countries with bizarre and exotic delicacies that are not for the faint-hearted.

Vietnam – Snake Meat

Vietnam – Snake Meat
Vietnam – Snake Meat

The Vietnamese believe that snake meat is a form of aphrodisiac and it can increase strength and virility in men. The reptile is also on occasions used to make a type of alcohol called ‘Xa Nhuc’, which is consumed as traditional medicine.

Consuming snake meat is said to be an effective treatment for diseases related to that of bones and joints, fatigue and toxic removal treatment. In restaurants, the meat of the reptile is often used to make a wide array of dishes and its blood added to rice wine. Characteristic of snake meat is that it has a salty taste and smells a little fishy.

The Philippines – Balut

The Philippines – Balut
The Philippines – Balut

'Balut' is a well-known Filipino food that is much of an acquired taste. It is basically a 16-to-21-day-old fertilized duck egg that contains a yolk and a semi-developed duck embryo. For some, it is a delicious treat, but others will find the sight of the semi-developed duck embryo a huge turn-off. Often seen as one of the Philippines’ most iconic and exotic delicacies, it is cracked open and eaten with a dash of salt and not much else.

Some describe the experience similar to eating hard-boiled eggs. Although ‘balut’ is one of the delicacies credited to hail from the Philippines, this delicacy is not unique to the Philippines—it also exists in nearby Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and is said to have been brought to these shores (once again) by the seafaring, island-hopping Chinese. The name is derived from the idea that when you crack open the shell of a cooked ‘balut’, the duck embryo should be ‘balut sa puti’, meaning wrapped in white.

Thailand – Raw Pig’s Blood

Thailand – Raw Pig’s Blood
Thailand – Raw Pig’s Blood

Raw pig’s blood soup is a Thai dish specifically eaten in northern Thailand. This Thai dish is so delicious that it might just kill you. The tradition of drinking raw pig blood soup goes against everything you ever know about cooking. Cooking is used to kill bacteria in raw food, but the main ingredient in this dish – the pig’s blood, skips the stove and is dished out raw with some other condiments. The raw pig’s blood also known as ‘lou’, is combined with pork blood pudding, potato, onion, and garlic to make it a complete dish.

Cambodia – Fried Tarantula

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Cambodia – Fried TarantulaSpiders
Cambodia – Fried Tarantula
Cambodia – Fried Tarantula

The appearance of the large arachnids itself is pretty scary, what more the thought of consuming the eight-legged creature. However, in Cambodia, it is one of the delicacies of the locals. Back then, this delicacy came to be part of the Cambodian diet out of necessity. During the reign of the Khmer Rouge, a radical movement that ruled Cambodia in 1970, the Cambodians are forced to eat any living creature that they could catch and tarantulas are one of it. Nowadays, spiders are eaten as a snack rich in protein, folic acid, and zinc; it is sold in markets and restaurants across Cambodia.

Indonesia – Sate Biawak

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Indonesia – Sate Biawakmonitor lizard
Indonesia – Sate Biawak
Indonesia – Sate Biawak
monitor lizard
monitor lizard

It is also known as the monitor lizard meat skewer, which is made by marinating small pieces of monitor lizard meat with spices and skewered onto thin strips of bamboo stick, then slowly grilled over hot coals until its cooked. The cooked meat is then served with peanut sauce, sliced red onion, chili, and tomatoes. It is said that the texture of the meat is slightly tough and has a taste similar to beef. Although classified as an extreme food, monitor lizard meat turns out to have a number of health benefits. Reportedly, monitor lizard meat can cure skin diseases and also relieve asthma.

© 2019 Athena Chan


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