Dishes from Bizarre Foods You Wouldn’t Want to Try
Bizarre Foods’ host Andrew Zimmern is a brave soul. Not only has he traveled to some potentially dangerous destinations around the world, but he has also sampled some of the most gag-inducing dishes along the way. The man seems to have virtually no limits when it comes to food.
Of course, much of what he eats wouldn't even qualify as food for most people in the Western world. Perfect examples include cow brains, grubs, fish eyes and tree bark — yes, that’s right, tree bark. Think you’re brave enough to try everything Zimmern has tried? Well, you might want to think twice before giving these peculiar foods a taste.
The geoduck is definitely a strange animal. Scientifically, it's a type of large saltwater clam. Unofficially, it's an alien organism from a different dimension — we’re sure of it. The elongated soft body resembles a certain part of human male anatomy, and it even spits out wastewater after feeding. Naturally, the host of Bizarre Foods just had to try one.
Iceland's national dishes are typically pretty outrageous by Western standards. The harsh, coastal environment of Iceland has resulted in some creative uses of blood, animal livers and fresh seafood. One such creation is hákarl, which is fermented and dried strips of Greenland shark. Hákarl produces an overwhelming odor that is similar to ammonia.
A dormouse isn't a mouse that prefers to use doors, although you could be forgiven for assuming such a thing. Instead, a dormouse is a type of tiny mouse that is native to pretty much the whole world, except for the Americas. They look like a mix between white lab mice and brown Syrian hamsters. They're adorable.
Cane toads wreak havoc in Australia, but Andrew Zimmern did his part to rid the sunny continent of one of its amphibian pests. In 2009, he explored the wild Australian Outback with an empty stomach and wide eyes. While he sampled wallaby and crocodile, he also kept his eye out for the notorious cane toad.
Even the host of Bizarre Foods isn't immune to an occasional phobia. For Zimmern, one of the most terrifying sights in the world is a fat spider. Many traditional Asian dishes feature insects and arachnids, which meant that Zimmern had to face his fear for this challenge — and then eat it.
Minnesota is known as the American home of the Vikings — and for good reason. Many descendants of the Nordic warriors ended up making their home in the snowy state. They brought ancient customs and traditional dishes with them, and perhaps the most famous dish is lutefisk. Even proud Minnesotans struggle to enjoy the aged, pickled fish creation.
Most people wisely run away from molds. Cheesemakers embrace the stuff, but at least they're very particular about the molds they allow. Consuming mold can make you very ill, which is why we instinctively react with disgust when we find moldy food. Some folks in Missouri apparently missed out on that instinct.
Two words: meat jelly. That's the best way to describe head cheese. It's an efficient use of leftover animal parts that once became a popular, lavish dish. Nowadays, it's just unnecessarily gross. Zimmern, a man who believes that every recipe deserves a chance to shine, seemed to glow with excitement as he waited to try the gelatinous, meaty gunk.
The durian fruit is one of the most controversial fruits in the world. While it may be difficult to grasp the fact that fruit can produce controversy, stay with us here. Imagine a decadent, creamy, delicious fruity treat. Now imagine that magical food smells like the sweatiest, stinkiest feet in the world. Would you still eat it?
Worms of any kind don't tend to trigger the appetite. Worms that live on coral reefs are included in that group. Of course, as you're probably now aware, gross foods are kind of Andrew Zimmern's thing. During his trip to Samoa, he was introduced to a particular species of coral worm that rises to the surface to die.
In case you're blissfully unaware of what a rectum is, here's a brief lesson: It's basically the inside of a butt — and all the feces pass through it. Here's another interesting piece of trivia for you: A horse rectum is typically one foot long. Combining these two facts, you can guess how enjoyable eating a horse rectum would be.
Madagascar is home to some of the most unique species of flora and fauna in the world. It's also a haven of health and safety in case of a worldwide pandemic. When Andrew Zimmern visited the island nation in 2011, the thing that caught his attention and his appetite was the tiny-yet-powerful giraffe weevil.
Why are there so many fermented fish dishes? Honestly, they're nearly everywhere — except the good old U.S.A. This one hails from South Korea and consists of fermented skate (fish), which is a little unique. Still, as with folks in Minnesota, South Koreans have mixed feelings about hongeo-hoe. Some absolutely love it, but quite a lot of people hate the fishy dish.
African dishes vary greatly, depending on the region where the dish originates. Enset is an Ethiopian dish that takes ages to make and even longer to scarf down. It’s likely that it wouldn't seem very tasty to many people outside of Ethiopia. That's because enset is a type of bread made from a mashed-up, pulpy ball of crushed and fermented roots.
This dish is not only vomitous, but it's also disturbing. Balut is a traditional dish in the Philippines, and fortunately for people everywhere, it hasn't caught on in the rest of the world. It is essentially a boiled bird embryo that is eaten directly from the shell.
When you think about picking up snacks, do you ever consider just harvesting some wasp larvae? If you're like the majority of the population, you probably answered no, even if you’re now considering it. Zimmern has not only eaten wasp larvae, but he also ate ant larvae, beetle larvae and cricket larvae.
The notorious century egg has been used as a challenge in Food Factor and is often considered one of the most complex and refined dishes — from a culinary perspective. It is also one of the most hated foods in the world. Also known as a 100-year-old egg, a century egg is a barely-preserved duck or chicken egg that has been fermented.
Gigantic Sea Squirt
Zimmern's trip to Santiago, Chile, resulted in one of the strangest seafood samplings ever presented on the show. The gigantic sea squirt, a popular folk aphrodisiac, tasted like a combination of oysters, sea urchins, the ocean and fermentation. While that description is sure to turn off some seafood lovers, it probably excites a few others.
Beef Tongue Ice Cream
Japan is home to some of the wackiest and most interesting food creations in the world, including beef tongue ice cream. The name isn't a gimmick. The soft-serve stuff is actually made with real beef tongues, resulting in an irony, salty, savory product.
Jellied Moose Nose
This disgusting dish would be awful, even if it weren't jellied, but the fact that it is makes the dish so much worse. Yet, you have to hand it to Alaskans. They sure have some ingenious methods of making meat last longer. To survive the long, harsh winters, you would have to have a tough tummy.
Florida is full of some interesting characters. Zimmern's adventures in the Florida Keys proved to be surprisingly educational as well as tasty. But like many things involving the Sunshine State, there was also a little danger involved. In 2014, Zimmern joined an experienced crew of divers and fisherman in a hunt for lionfish.
Yes, penises, as in more than one penis. The jolly host of Bizarre Foods has wolfed down his fair share of male genitalia, all of it belonging to various non-human animals, of course. Zimmern showed a noticeable preference for a specific type of animal phallus: ox penises.
If you get nauseous or squeamish at the sight — or even the thought — of gore, it may be best to skip this one. The placenta is an organ, and we are technically born with it, but it can only be found inside pregnant mammals. It acts as a protective internal sac that nourishes and strengthens gestating offspring.
Ancient Bog Butter
Peat bogs have a remarkable way of preserving ancient objects. Dishware, parts of buildings, people, clothing and even food have been found buried in bogs. The naturally acidic water and anaerobic environment has a way of freezing organic material in time, including a large hunk of bog butter discovered in Ireland.
Consuming sperm of any kind is a pretty controversial idea. Fish sperm seems like a completely unnecessary ingredient, but it proved to be absolutely crucial to Andrew Zimmern's time in Sicily. Near a small fishing village, the Bizarre Foods host was propositioned in the most unlikely way.
Eating the head of any animal is kind of gross. It's a beastly, violent act that most people avoid. Andrew Zimmern delights in doing the things that most people wouldn't dare do, especially when it comes to eating ghastly foods. This all led to a showdown between Zimmern and fermented sheep's head in Iceland.
While a sea cucumber might seem like a salty vegetable, it's actually a living creature. It even has a single gonad, allowing it to release sperm or ova. Consequently, a sea cucumber sandwich probably wouldn't taste as great as a regular cucumber sandwich.
Eating brains of any kind is fairly gross. Again, instinct teaches us that eating raw organs — that would include the brain — could lead to potential harm. A few diseases are even spread by ingesting an infected raw brain, including Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. Still, that hasn't stopped culinary explorers from dipping into the gray matter for a high-class snack.
Our natural human instincts have developed over millennia in response to various threats. This is why humans naturally fear certain types of animals or insects. Looking at the stonefish, it's easy to see why it's not a common ingredient in seafood dishes. Also, the name isn't exactly appealing. Goats may eat rocks, but people tend to avoid them.
Tofu isn't everyone's cup of tea, and stinky tofu is some next-level stuff. It contains 39 volatile organic compounds. In layman's terms, that means it stinks. Many have compared the scent of stinky tofu to that of a massive landfill or a pile of messy diapers. These descriptions make it difficult to believe that anyone would choose to eat it.