Interesting, unusual, or just plain weird, there are some food items that are hard to believe actually exist. With so many ingredients and methods of cooking, unique food creations are sure to pop up everyday. Our reservations of trying new food might come from being used to our own cultures and the palates that we’ve developed over the years. But don’t simply judge based on what you see and read; step out of your comfort zone, go in with an open mindset and derive your own conclusions.
1. Raindrop cake
This Japanese water cake, named the raindrop cake because of its round shape, recently debuted in New York – and it’s become a huge hit with the locals. It’s made from a mix of spring water and agar agar (gelatin that isn’t made from animal collagen). The cake first became a hit in Japan a couple of years ago, termed as mizu shingen mochi, and it has to be consumed within half an hour. It’s, essentially, a colourless jelly, which doesn’t sound interesting but the look of the dessert itself is enough to warrant a taste.
2. Ramen burger
The ramen burger is just like any ordinary burger, except that the buns are made of instant noodles. The concept of this unique Japanese-American mash-up of two popular foods was created by Keizo Shimamoto in 2013. The original version of the burger contains a beef patty, vegetables and, sauce, but several variations with chicken and pork have also been made available. It is undoubtably a novelty food item and is something you could indulge in once in a while.
This Australian paste is brown in colour and is spread on toast – but don’t be fooled, it’s not nutella. As it is made from brewer’s yeast extract, vegetable and spice additives, vegemite has a salty and bitter taste that is reminiscent of beer. Just a small amount is needed to get the full taste, but due to its peculiar nature, only a select group of people are able to really enjoy it. Cadbury has recently released a vegemite chocolate bar, describing it as “surpisingly delicious”. So, does that make you want to try it?
4. Pickled herring
A known delicacy in The Netherlands, pickled herring (or soused herring) is marinated in a preserving liquid, which makes it packed full of flavour. Fried, baked, grilled, or simply eaten raw, there are many ways to enjoy this fish. Traditionally, it is eaten by holding the herring by its tail, tilting one’s head back and then lowering it into one’s mouth. At most fish stalls across the country, it is served on a paper plate in bite-sized pieces, complemented with slices of pickles and onions.
Balut is a fertilized duck egg with the embryo intact that is commonly sold as street food in Southeast Asian countries like Philippines, Thailand, and Cambodia. It is boiled and served with salt or vinegar. The taste of balut varies, depending on the type of duck breed and the duration in which the eggs are left after being laid that ranges from 16 to 21 days. Balut comes with its share of controversy – many campaigns have been started by animal rights activists over the years to halt the production and sale of this food.
6. Kangaroo meat
Kangaroo meat is an environmentally-friendly lean meat that gives off a sweet, smoky flavour. While it’s not as unconventional as the other food on this list, it’s probably not something you would eat often – purely due to the fact that it’s not readily available in many countries other than Australia. It serves as a great substitute for carnivores who want to get their fix of red meat without the high cholesterol and fat content found in widely-consumed meat like beef, mutton, and pork.
Insects such as grasshoppers, spiders, and crickets are savoured the world over – particularly in Asia, Africa, and South America – and are a regular part of many diets due to their high protein content. These insects are normally deep-fried and well-seasoned with salt, pepper, or chilli powder, and the tastes have been compared to be similar to that of popcorn, shrimp, or potato chips. Whether this is actually true is for you to decide.
8. Puffer fish
This Japanese delicacy is for the bold and daring as if it’s not cleaned and prepared correctly, the consumer could get poisoned, so preparation is only reserved to licensed and trained professional chefs. The pufferfish is usually served raw as paper-thin slices of sashimi, but can be fried or baked as well. To better understand the risks, toxins from a pufferfish disrupt signals sent to the brain and cause suffocation by paralyzing the diaphragm. In case that’s not enough to scare you off, it is also said to be potent enough to kill 30 adult humans!
I’ve personally never eaten anything particularly strange – then again, that’s because I’ve never really come across them (perhaps I should count my blessings). Have you ever tried any of the food mentioned? Tell us more about it!