Weird Food and Drinks.
One is bound to come across it at some point in your life if you love venturing outside of your home town. Whenever I travel, I like sampling the local food and drinks in every country that I visit.
However, this usually means there are some oddball delicacies you won’t find anywhere else – or want to try for that matter!
Here is a list of some of these culinary oddities – 52 Travel Tips for Weird Food and Drinks – that I’ve experienced, plus a couple of others I’ve come across.
The Strange and Weird Food/Drinks List
1. Chicla Beer, Bolivia. Chicla Beer is fermented from corn instead of barley, and looks like a yellow cloudy concoction. Tastes like alcoholic corn syrup. It’s an acquired taste.
2. Warthog Pie, Namibia. Tastes like lean pork. Quite nice.
3. Horse Sausage, Kazakhstan. Lean and salty.
4. Baron’s Black Wattle Ale, Australia. This unusual but tasty brew is fermented from barley and native wattle seeds and resembles a light bodied stout.
5. Guinea Pig, Peru. There’s not much meat on Guinea Pigs, and the bit that you do ingest is usually dry and salty. They are served whole, with the head, eyes and teeth facing towards you. It’s hard to eat one of these when you had one as a pet during childhood.
6. Haggis, Scotland. Basically, offal encased by more offal.
7. Rakija, Balkans Region. A spirit distilled from fermented plums, towards the rocket fuel end of the alcohol spectrum. Guaranteed to send you into orbit.
8. Horse Steak, Switzerland. Like cow, but leaner and tougher. Expensive at around $40 per kilogram.
9. Chip Sandwich, New Zealand. Potato chips between two slices of bread and tomato sauce. Carbohydrate overload.
10. Deep Fried Mars Bars, Scotland. A heart attack in a chocolate bar.
11. Drinking Beer in La Paz, Bolivia. La Paz is about 4000 metres above sea level (about 12000 ft). At this altitude, atmospheric pressure is considerably less than at sea level, so the carbonated bubbles in beer escape more rapidly. This means beer foam literally pours out of the bottle as soon as the cap is removed. Frustrating.
12. All You Can Eat Meat, Buenos Aires, Argentina. You have a red and green coloured wooden block placed on the table. Green means more meat, red means stop. Waiters come around and literally chomp off large slabs of protein onto your plate until you’ve eaten so much meat, the meal sends you into a long hibernation. A vegetarian’s worst nightmare.
13. Small Size Drinks, United States. Like large sized drinks in the rest of the world.
14. Crocodile Sausages, Australia. Like salty chicken, but quite tasty.
15. Kangaroo and Emu Steaks, Australia. Australia must be the only country where people can eat their national emblems. Actually, they are both very good for you – kangaroo meat has high protein, and low fat (<1%).
16. Vegemite, Australia. A black, tacky, salty yeast extract to spread on toast.
17. Beefy Bovril, England. Like Vegemite, but fermented from cows with the consistency of treacle.
18. Caparinha, Brazil. Do you wonder why Brazilians seem to party hard? Caparinhas are the reason why. A spirit called Cachaca is distilled from sugar cane juice, served straight over ice with limes and sugar crystals to make the Caparinha. It’s happiness in a glass.
19. Baby Beef, Argentina. Ironically, the only thing baby about the beef is the age. I’ve had one that was 700 grams and took me a week to digest. I didn’t bother with entree or salad.
20. Kopi Luwak Coffee, Indonesia. This coffee is made from beans that have been digested by the Asian Palm Civet (a cat sized mammal). That is, the coffee beans are removed from the Civet faeces and processed! Apparently, the enzymes in the Civet’s stomach remove some of the bitter coffee taste. It’s the most expensive coffee in the world, selling between $100 and $600 per pound!
21. Flaming Chorizo, Portugal. Chorizo is a delicious sausage flavoured with paprika and other spices, and is usually smoked. You can eat it as is, or have it served over a flame fuelled by a spirit. Make sure to extinguish the flame before eating.
22. Vodka, Kazakhstan. Vodka in itself is not that strange, but entering a supermarket with a dedicated vodka aisle containing different types from other regions and countries is.
23. Springbok Cocktail, South Africa. The Springbok is a two-alcohol drink containing a green layer of mint-tasting liqueur not dissimilar to mouthwash, overlain by a creamy layer of Amarula, a milky drink fermented from the native Marula fruit. The dangers of drinking a Springbok lie not in the actual drink itself, but the drinking ritual. It involves placing both hands behind the back, stomping the feet alternately, snorting through the nostrils, squealing, picking up the Springbok shot glass via front teeth, and sculling the drink without spilling a drop.
24. Kava, Fiji. It’s a plant that is crushed and mixed with water, and drunk in groups. Effects include mild sedation, numbing of the mouth, and vivid dreams. Usually drunk in a group.
25. Betel Nut, Papua New Guinea. The Areca nut is chewed with the Betel leaf to produce a mild stimulant. Side effects include red teeth.
26. Jellyfish Rings, China. A salty rubber band type appetizer.
27. Durian, South East Asia. A smelly fruit whose odour can often resemble rotten meat. They are banned on Singapore’s Mass Transit System (there are even No Durian signs there!).
28. Ugali, Kenya. Starchy substance that sticks to the roof of your mouth. A staple for many Africans.
29. Ham off the Bone, Portugal. Go to any supermarket or delicatessen, and you can literally watch cured ham being shaved off a pig leg. In fact, there are rows of pigs legs there, depending on how you like it.
30. Fish Heads, Philippines. Filipinos like fish-head stews and soups boiled up from fish heads.
31. Spam, Philippines. Spam (SPiced hAM) is a staple diet of many Filipinos and is found in almost every food cupboard in the Philippines. There is even a restaurant in Manila called SpamJam, which specialises in Spam dishes. The menu sounds like a Monty Python sketch (Spam with spaghetti, Spamburger, etc).
32. Borewors, South Africa. These fatty but tasty sausages are basically intestines stuffed with meat and offcuts, spiced with herbs and cooked on a braai (barbeque). The strange thing about Borewors is their presentation – coiled up like a dog poo. Worth the extra artery coating.
33. Blood, Kenya/Tanzania. The Masai people survive on fresh blood drawn from the neck veins of livestock such as cows and goats. Liquid protein.
34. Witchety Grubs, Australia. Basically, moth larvae about the size of your small finger. Used to be only eaten by Aboriginal people, but now a local delicacy. Eaten raw or cooked in hot ashes.
35. Fermented Horse Milk, Kazakhstan. Enough said.
36. Glacier Sorbet, Ecuador. Locals who live near the Chimborazo volcano trudge up to the summit regularly to cut off 50 kg blocks of glacier ice. They bring up their donkeys to 5000 metres above sea level, and each donkey hauls 2 blocks each. The locals then catch a bus to sell the ice blocks to a sorbet vendor in another town for only one (1) U.S. Dollar per block! The sorbet vendor says this is cheaper than buying factory ice, and the quality is better.
37. Grass, North Korea. Allegedly, people are going hungry in the Kim Jong Il run state, that some have resorted to eating grass.
38. Pie Floater, Australia. A culinary delight of placing a meat pie upside down in a bowl of pea soup, topped with tomato sauce (ketchup).
39. Tree Honey, Tanzania. The Akei tribe of northern Tanzania often have to travel far for food. One of their staples is honey. However, they stick their hand directly into tree hollows to remove the honey and honeycomb, whilst their entire body is stung by hundreds of bees. Funnily enough, most Akei are immune to bee stings.
40. Entire Crocodile, Ethiopia. During long droughts, some tribes have to resort to hunting crocodiles at night for food. However, they do this with a canoe, a couple of flashlights, and two spears. Sometimes they haul 5 metre monsters into their barely swamp-worthy canoes. However, since no refrigerator exists, the entire animal is cooked up and eaten in one sitting.
41. Battered Hot Dog, New Zealand. Usually bought from fish and chip shops.
42. Snake Bite, England. A cocktail made from cider and lager beer.
43. Blood Sausage, England. Also called Black Pudding. It’s pig or cattle blood cooked with a filler that congeals when cooled.
44. Family Dinner, Italy. Usually consists of seven courses. You normally have to run for 2 weeks to burn the calories off.
45. Chimmichurri, Argentina. This is basically Parsley pesto and accompanies the large steak you’ve just ordered. Sounds strange, but the combination of steak and chimmichurri is delicious.
46. Inca Cola, Peru. A sickly sweet soft drink that tastes like Creaming Soda without the bubbles.
47. Morcilla, Argentina. Argentine version of Black Pudding. But roasted over wood fired flames.
48. Apple Strudel, Namibia. The town of Solitaire has a single digit population and is located in the middle of the desert. But the local bakery produces superb apple strudel, a hangover from previous German colonisers.
49. Game Meat at Carnivore’s Restaurant, Kenya. After you have viewed the game at the Masai Mara National Park, you can eat the list you’ve just ticked off at this famous restaurant in Nairobi.
50. Biltong, South Africa. Biltong is dried spiced beef, or sometimes, African game meat like Kudu (similar to Beef Jerky). Whilst Biltong may look like a speckled dry brown dog turd, the combination of meat and spices is addictive.
51. Sheep Head, Morocco. After it has been sitting in the open amongst the flies all day, bring it home and boil it up into a soup. And finally…
52. Airline Food. We have to eat this stuff whenever we go abroad. Is it really food?
Anyway, if you come across these Weird Food or Drinks, say Cheers!
You can also check out other strange travel tips here, as well as my 52 Perfect Offbeat Travel Tips!
Thanks to Alexa at 52 Perfect Days for giving me the idea for this post.
Hope you enjoyed these 52 Travel Tips for Weird Food and Drinks!.
More Weird and Strange Food Stuff
Check out more at Weird Food in the Philippines, Extreme Cuisine: The Weird & Wonderful Foods that People Eat, Strange Foods: Bush Meat, Bats, and Butterflies: An Epicurean Adventure Around the World and Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World of Food: Brains, Bugs, and Blood Sausage.
Kelvin Lim · at
Great post! I can relate to a few of these, and could even add more to your list of weird stuff! =) I do have a travel blog as well, it’s called Fabulous Journeys. Hope you can check it out
Kelvin Lim’s last blog post..Top 8 Things to Experience in Edinburgh
letizia mattiacci · at
I agree about the family dinner in Italy, of course if it’s a wedding there’s more courses!
letizia mattiacci’s last blog post..arrosto riposato al timo
Travel-Writers-Exchange.com · at
This was an interesting read this morning. Thanks for clearing up #16, Vegemite, Australia. Now I have the Men at Work sound playing in my head….As as #6 goes, Haggis is not that bad. If people didn’t know what it was, they’d probably finish their plate!
pixe · at
No. 9 Chip sandwich is to die for. Remember they make us kiwis strong and this has truly contributed to our strong, passionate nation. Remember to add the Watties Tomato Sauce to get the true experience!
Trisha · at
What a fun list! If the theme hadn’t been “52” I’ll bet you could have kept going and added another 52 or so…….if you ever do a follow-up list, be sure to include Rocky Mountain Oysters (Colorado) USA – definitely NOT a seafood, these “oysters” are actually bull testicles – prepared sliced, tenderized, floured, and deep fried, then served with a sauce for dipping (like honey-mustard or bbq)…..
And for you brits who enjoy Snake Bites (#42), remember that if you come to the US, a Snake Bite is very different here – it’s a straight shot of Yukon Jack (whiskey) with a squirt of lime juice…….very tasty!
Luxury Travel · at
Good read! I believe lutefisk and hakarl ins’t on your list but I think it was a good omission, we have to keep people safe, haha! Well the world won’t run out of weird food stuff anytime soon huh? Good news to some, bad news to some, one thing is for sure, it makes travel more interesting and exciting!
Travel Trainers · at
Bit late to the party.
Have you ever tried a pasta soup with a glass of red tipped in?. Happened to me one night in a restaurant in Brive France one night. A Local came up and said we were doing it all wrong and tipped my wine straight into my plate. It was absolutely scrummy.
I loved Pie Floaters from Harrys Cafe de Wheels in Sydney.
My wife ordered me brains in Italy instead of Venison. The 2 are really close when spelt in Italian
Kona Beans · at
Hmmm not sure about the coffee from cat poo … I think I stick to Hawaiian coffee here.
[email protected] Coast Accomodation · at
Be sure to visit South East Asia for a veritable feast of weird and wonderful culinary delights. I remember every time I went in to a particular bar in Thailand they would insist that I drank some cobra blood or monkey brains mixed with rice whiskey. If you get a bit peckish bar snacks in Asia take on a completely different twist, choose from an assortment of fried ants, locusts, cockroaches even bees. If you’re still hungry and thirsty after that experience there is always the option of swallowing the still beating heart of a cobra washed down with shot of alcohol.
guy · at
mmm….. frog leg porridge and turtle soup in singapore
Dog Food Home Cooked Recipes · at
Yummy! Sort of..
I’ve eaten some funny stuff in my time, but it’s nothing compared to this list!
Funny and entertaining
Moonbadger · at
I think 52 has got to be the best. Man i’ve had some really, really strange airplane food, most of it has been edible, but you certainly wouldnt think it from the look of it. Baron’s Black wattle Ale – tried that when i was in Oz, definitely has a bizzare taste, certainly not for me.
.-= Moonbadger´s last blog ..The Land of Oz =-.
Migration Mark · at
There are some wonderful foods on this collected list. Having many relatives in Hawaii, I grew up and really love Spam and especially the Spicy Tabasco Spam. I have also been to Nairobi’s Carnivore many times and have intaken my limits of roasted game meat. There are still some things on this list that I would love to eat!
anthony · at
Excellent Mark! Food’s one of the coolest things about travel, and weird food is just one of those!
South American Animals · at
Hahah .. US small drinks 😉
Have you ever tried Cuy in Ecuador ? Its not bad
.-= South American Animals´s last blog ..South American Animals – Galapagos Giant Tortoise! =-.
João Almeida · at
18. The drink is called caipirinha, not caparinha, like caipira (a kind of brazillian redneck).
21. Chorizo is the spanish name, and confusing Portugal with Spain is a big traveller no-no in Portugal. The portuguese name for that kind of sausage is Chouriço.
Claire Richardson · at
i love to eat and drink exotic foods and delicacies from all over the world.’;*
Kona Coffe · at
Wow! I like to try new food, but I don’t think I would be brave enough to sample blood or a sheep’s head. Maybe kangaroo though, and I’ve always been curious about Civet cat coffee….
Liam Price · at
What other websites offer free travel tips in South America?`,’
Phil Bailey · at
May I suggest Haggis to be included on the list. A Haggis is a small round creature with one leg shorter than the other. In its native environment, on top of mountains, you would not notice the differing leg length, but on a level surface their limp is quite pronounced. By continually running around the tops of mountains their ‘inside’ has reduced in size to enable the small fat round (and tasty) creature to remain standing up straight.
I would advise eating these delicacies to anyone visiting Scotland. They are a fully sustainable food source and will also put hair on your chest (or so my mum says).
Cheers Phil 😉
anthony · at
Ha ha… I’ve only seen haggis being prepared on TV. I almost vomited on the screen after I saw the ingredients being prepared. Urrrgghh!
Phil Bailey · at
I can’t believe you didn’t laugh at the haggis thing ;-))))
anthony · at
No, I laughed! I was thinking that description would be something I would come up with!
Phil Bailey · at
Haggis is surprisingly tasty, especially with Neaps, Tatties and a pint of heavy !
A little more laughter is what this world needs Anthony … Good on you.
all the best 😉
Interesting facts · at
Persians first began using colored eggs to celebrate spring in 3000 BC. Thirteenth century Macedonians were the first Christians to use colored eggs in Easter celebrations. Crusaders returning from the Middle East spread the custom of coloring eggs, and Europeans began to use them to celebrate Easter and other warm weather holidays.
Rambo Movies · at
I’m a big fan of trying the local cuisine too. Chicken feet really tested my resolve in China though
Jane @ Cheap dog clothes · at
I’d like to taste a Spamburger, lol. Thanks for the article. 🙂
j choban · at
I love this list! Did you try the liquor in China that had a snake and a scorpion in the bottle (supposedly the two venoms cancel each other out). I was too chicken.
laura lion · at
great list. But some of those foods I will never taste. They seem little to fishy to me 😛
Infant Snowsuit · at
ENTIRE CROCODILE. That’s intense. Calm down, Ethiopa…there must be other options :P.
China Deals | Stan · at
Hey! Some of the above are real food! :p Vermite, my favorite. Horse sausage is really good too. Spam is great when traveling too. Tree Honey, yummy! Great list, thanks for sharing.
Plaza Hotel · at
So, you said that Kangaroo is good for you. I want to know how it tastes. I’m very impressed you’ve been brave enough to try all of these, by the way.
Bronwyn Lawlor · at
As a South African I’ve never done the stomping and snorting ritual before downing a Springbok…..perhaps you were played for a fool. HAHA!
I would love to find out what the pre-downing ritual is for a “Screaming Orgasm” or perhaps the ever popular “Sex On The Beach!”. 🙂
Anthony The Travel Tart · at
Oh no! Maybe the Springbok ritual is like the ‘Drop Bears’ in Australia…
Huw · at
Like the sound of #12 the meat feast in Argentina.
Surprised there’s no lava bread on the list. A delicacy made in Wales from seaweed and usually served for breakfast with salty bacon and cockles
Anthony The Travel Tart · at
True. This list was drafted before I tried lava bread, which taste not too bad!
Houses in Highlands Ranch · at
Some of these are totally horrid sounding haha. Still interesting though. I like the Airline food one. Made me chuckle
Matt · at
In the English Midlands blood sandwiches are a thing. Tomato sauce on two slices of buttered bread. Or with brown sauce, instead.
Anthony Bianco - The Travel Tart · at
Sounds… interesting! An acquired taste!