For the 50+ Traveler

Drunken shrimp, puffin hearts, and fried brains -- do you know what they have in common? They're all considered a delicacy somewhere. Learn about some of the most interesting (and strangest) things eaten around the world.

Fugu sashimi.

1. Fugu

When eating, most people don't wonder if the next bite is going to kill them. However, for those sampling Fugu, it is a posibility that has to be considered.

Fugu is a unique Japanese pufferfish. It contains enough poison to kill up to 30 people - all in one fish.

The chefs responsible for preparing this extremely expensive Japanese delicacy have to undergo years of training to do so safely. It can be gripped, stewed or served as paper-thin sashimi.

Even the smallest mistake in the preparation process could mean the untimely end of the person eating it. If you want to try fugu at least once in your life, then you should visit Japan between the months of October and March when it is in season.

Fried spiders.

2. Fried Spider

This dish is available in Cambodia, but especially in Skuon. These eight-legged, creepy treats are deep fried in oil until they become crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside; the type of tarantula you sink your teeth into will vary.

The eating of spiders is believed to have started during the disastrous reign of Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. During this period, villages had to find alternative food sources. In many cases today, the spiders are sold to travelers who are passing through town and searching for a fast snack. In addition to being full of protein, there is a rumor that eating them will increase the beauty of the eater.

While this may seem weird, it's worth a try, right?

Prairie oysters.

3. Prairie Oysters

Don't let the name deceive you, this isn't a tasty treat of the sea. In fact, these aren't oysters at all. This dish is made from bull testicles and is often referred to as Rocky Mountain Oysters. You can find these surprisingly delicious morsels throughout cattle ranching country.

Anyone wanting to try out the Canadian version should visit Alberta. One restaurant to try out if you want a great Prairie Oyster experience is Buzzards, which is located in Calgary. You can find this dish listed on the menu during the summer months.

In most cases, Prairie Oysters are prepared by stuffing, frying or sautéing. The testicles are usually accompanied by spices, dips, sauces, and herbs, providing a real taste of authentic cowboy cuisine.


4. Balut

Eggs are an extremely common staple throughout the world. But in the Philippines, the locals take it a step further than anywhere else by taking a developing duck embryo and boiling it alive while still in the shell.

These are usually eaten with a seasoning of vinegar, garlic, and chili. All of the egg's contents are consumed, including the visible beak and wings. This is a common street food and is often chased down with a cold beer -- just crack and eat.

Snake wine.

5. Snake Wine

A common drink in Vietnam and China, snake wine is considered a real "treat" by those in the region. If you have ever complained about a tepid chardonnay, just be grateful a glass of snake wine hasn't been set down in front of you.

This extremely popular beverage is believed to have countless restorative properties. It can be made by steeping a snake in rice wine or by mixing the bodily fluids from the snake, such as the blood, with some type of alcohol.


6. Sannakji

This is a delicacy in South Korea made up of live octopus. Those eating this dish can either do so in pieces or whole; the choice is usually based on the size of the specimen. Sannakji is served raw and usually just with a splash of sesame oil. It's normally served so fresh that the tentacles are still squirming.

There is a danger to consuming live octopus; the suckers may become stuck in the eater's throat, causing choking and even death. That makes eating this mollusk quite the scary proposition. While the octopus is flavored mildly, if the animal tries to wrap itself around your face, it may be an experience you could do without!


7. Escamoles

While this may appear to be a simple grain salad on first glance, it's actually made from ant larvae. This is often referred to as "insect caviar" and considered to be a rare treat in Mexico. The consumption of this dish dates all the way back to the time of the Aztecs.

The ants are harvested from the root systems of the agave and maguey plants, and the tiny larvae are often put in omelets and tacos. They can also be eaten on their own.

These are just a few of the weird, strange and unusual foods on offer in different parts of the world. If you are feeling adventurous, make sure to add some of these to your bucket list. Or, rather, your bucket menu.