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Travel and Food - Weird Foods People Eat

Updated on April 1, 2013

Weird Food

Scorpions and insects are food-on-a-stick for walking about with are common in the Far East.  Strange food by North American standards is often found in Asia.
Scorpions and insects are food-on-a-stick for walking about with are common in the Far East. Strange food by North American standards is often found in Asia. | Source

Strange Foods People Eat

Upon leaving Manila, the capitol of the Philippines, friends - who were also flying out of the International Airport that day - joined me for an early lunch of strange foods before departure. At the restaurant, the waiters spoke little to no English and I was left to mime my order to the waiter, as the others spoke to their own waiters. Pointing at a picture in the menu, I indicated that I wanted a salad with a side of beef covered in gravy. To clarify, I pointed to the meat in the picture and, with each hand on the side of my head, used my index fingers to point up, and began to "moo." Satisfied that I made point, I smiled and nodded and the waiter was off with the order.

A short while later, my friends and I were laughing over stories. While engrossed in conversation, the waiter returned with our meals. A few bites later and I frowned. This beef was unlike any beef I had ever tasted and had a different texture - unlike that of beef. My friend, a native Philipino asked me what was wrong and examined my food. I told him, "I don't like my food. It doesn't taste like beef." To that, my friend answered, "That's because you're eating dog." I just about fell out of my seat, saying, "No, no, no. I ordered beef! Moo! Beef!" Feeling sickened, I picked at my salad until it was time to go.

People Eating Strange Things

Snake, pig intestines, and a side of tripe are common food choices in parts of Asia.
Snake, pig intestines, and a side of tripe are common food choices in parts of Asia. | Source

Why People Choose Unusual Foods To Eat

That's how it is in other countries. The noises we make for our animal sounds are not the same animal sounds people make in other countries for the same animals. The foods we consider strange and unusual - or even horrifying - are normal to other people. People eat these foods out of convenience, custom, or necessity. In my travels, here are some of the strange foods people have eaten in the lands I visited.

Their Usual Foods - Our Unusual Foods

Bugs are food that are sold in the open markets.
Bugs are food that are sold in the open markets. | Source

Unusual Foods To Eat

Some strange foods are well-known. For example, it is known by North Americans that, in Asia, people eat dogs and cats. North Americans have a difficult time understanding or accepting this concept. Likewise, in Nepal and India, slaughtering cows is not only taboo but illegal and the concept of killing cattle is as disgusting or sacrilegious to them, as it is normal to North Americans. Unusual food choices to North Americans that are normal in other countries may include rodents, mammals, and creatures of the sea:

  • rats
  • snakes
  • eel
  • dog
  • cat
  • mice
  • insects (crickets and cockroaches are starters)

Unusual body parts of animals are also sold for food consumption:

  • heads
  • claws
  • beaks
  • tongue
  • intestines
  • animal organs

Odd Food

More Asian delights are available - grilled frog on a stick, live eel and raw frog.
More Asian delights are available - grilled frog on a stick, live eel and raw frog. | Source

More Strange Food - Food, Like Monkey Toes

Then there are the very unusual off-the-menu choices:

  • monkey brains (Asia - cooked in the head)
  • fertilized eggs (Philippines - this means the chick is cooked inside the egg)
  • pigs blood in eggs (Hungarian - ritual includes the immediate blood use after the slashing of the pig's neck)
  • fried tarantulas (Cambodia)
  • squirrel brain (USA - Southern states)
  • jello made from calves feet (Eastern European Jewish)
  • calf's head with brain (France)
  • sheep head (Norway - includes eyes and tongue)
  • bird spit (China - the birds nests are made of their saliva and cooked into a soup)
  • smoked bats (Indonesia)
  • live octopus (Korea - they are alive as you eat them)
  • bull testicles (Canada, USA - Southern states)

Eating Dog in Vietnam - Sold Live in the Open Market

People Eat Scorpions - Here's A Video To Prove It!

Why Do People Choose Usual Food To Eat?

Eating in so many countries has given me a high tolerance for people who eat differently than I do. Even so, the more I see it, the less interested I am in eating meat and bugs. I haven't gone fully vegetarian but I certainly am not the everyday meat eater I once was.

Eating abroad can be an exciting food adventure. But travel as an informed visitor when a guest in a foreign land. People eat strange food because it's normal to them. But the traveler can avoid potential shock at finding something that may have been on the menu - but just not the menu from home!

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    • Li Galo profile image
      Author

      Li Galo 4 years ago from Mainly the USA but Sometimes Abroad

      Thank you, MPG Narratives and freecampingaussie!

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 4 years ago from Southern Spain

      Interesting hub ! We enjoyed our frogs legs in France the other day ,just wished we had wheelchairs for them .We have also tried kangaroo in Aussie etc .

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      This is a great article for any potential traveller to read. Food shortages may mean we will be eating more insects in years to come but for now I think I will stick to more traditional meats and vegetables. Shared, voted up and useful.

    • Li Galo profile image
      Author

      Li Galo 4 years ago from Mainly the USA but Sometimes Abroad

      Thanks so much, ComfortB!

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Yes, as you rightly mentioned, what seems weird/unusual for us to eat over here in the west/US may just be a normal item on the menu in other foreign country.

      As I will attest that in 'some part' of my native country, Nigeria, some culture eat dogs, snakes etc. I wouldn't, but to those in that part of my world it's just as normal as eating chicken or hamburger.

      Great hub with great images. Voted up and useful.