Many tourists think that it’s impossible to really get to know a country if you don’t try its national cuisine. However, some of the dishes are so exotic that not everyone is brave enough to try them.
We at Bright Side were interested to find out what national meals people couldn’t forget, even many years after they’d tried it, so we went out on a search for answers!
- In France, it’s called “violet” and I still don’t know exactly what it is but it’s seafood. Closed, it looks like a spongy, dry potato. The first time I saw them was at my local supermarket. I wanted to give it a try as I’m a rather adventurous eater so I bought a couple. They are very easy to open, you just have to cut them with a sharp knife. Inside is this weird-looking cooked yolk thingy surrounded by a cartilaginous white “shell.” THE TASTE MADE ME THINK I WAS GOING TO DIE! I’m French-Vietnamese and can eat super-smelly, strong cheeses and durian. I could eat both at the same time! But this thing knocked my socks off. I split it out and had to wash my teeth right away. But still, next time I see them, I’ll give it another try. I want to know why it’s considered a delicacy. © Ann Obi / quora
- Durian, when opened, you can smell it from far away. When you touch it, it has this slimy, rotted feel to it, which matches the smell. It leaves a coating on your mouth, kind of like a huge lump of cold lard would in the mouth. Surprisingly, the taste is not that bad, it’s actually mild and quite nondescript — if you can get past the texture and smell. © Gwen-Sawchuk / quora
- I was dating a guy from Belarus. His mother made his favorite dish — I have zero clue what it was called. It was basically meat boiled in milk and served with a side of crepes. It was so terrible and had no flavor. It had a weird texture… I was not fooling anybody. © BrainJarShopping / reddit
Curry made of chicken with banana and coconut
- I was at an Indian restaurant and wanted something special. It took me a long time to choose something. Finally, I made my order and got this: a super-sweet mix of flour, chicken meat, bananas, coconut, and curry.
- Fish soup in Singapour — I started eating it and saw a fish eye. It was okay so I kept on eating. Then I saw one more eye, — okay, I know that fish have 2 eyes. I swallowed this one too. But soon I realized I got really lucky — there were around 5 fish eyes in my bowl. There are people ready to fight for this delicacy! Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. © Rynnah Lim / quora
- I recently ate chocolate-covered grasshoppers and deep-fried ants in Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. This was at an international food festival, meaning we’re talking gourmet treats. © Candace Dempsey / quora
- Papeda, a thick, sticky paste made from sago flour boiled with water until it has the texture of wallpaper paste. If you can imagine eating the slime left behind by a particularly slimy snail mixed in with something else really slimy, mixed with more slime then you’re halfway there. It’s horrible! © George Graham / quora
- Hákarl. It’s from Iceland. It tastes like death. Or like nail polish remover. Of course, it’s better than starving but not by much. © Amanda Tendler / quora
- My paternal grandmother is a terrible cook. She makes the contestants on Worst Cooks in America look like Gordon Ramsay! One day, she decided to make kholodets, a Russian aspic that takes hours of loving care to make. But she didn’t have hours to make it or the time to look up a recipe on the Internet. All she knew was that it involved gelatin and meat so she did what any reasonable person would do: buy the first pack of no-name jello and canned meat that caught her eye at the grocery store. Unfortunately for me and my extended Russian family, she picked lime jello and canned tuna. Sometimes my tongue gets nightmares about that meal. © punkterminator / reddit
- The weirdest food I ever ate was uni or sea urchin. I ordered one uni and out comes this small clump of sushi rice wrapped in Nori with this slimy, orange blob sitting in it. I close my eyes and pop it into my mouth, making this awful face not knowing what to expect. The feel is just as I thought it would be: icky, slimy, ugh. Then all of a sudden the most delicious flavor I’ve ever tasted bursts in my mouth. Sweet, salty, goodness. My tastebuds are doing a happy dance. © Michele Stewart / quora
Ciorbă de burtă
- The Romanian national meal is called Ciorbă de burtă — a soup made of cow stomach. It’s a very fatty broth with sour cream and cartilage in it. It’s impossible to chew.
- The worst food I’ve ever had is coagulated pig’s blood. It’s a popular delicacy in Southern China, where I’m from. One day when I was 6 or 7, I tried it for the first time. Being blood, it tastes really unnaturally metallic in your mouth, and the sauce and spices that are added to it don’t make the taste any better. I’ve eaten it again a few more times since then to see if it tasted any better, but every time I get that disgusting metallic taste it makes me want to throw up. © William Yan / quora
- Natto is fermented soybeans and it’s commonly eaten for breakfast in Japan. The smell is awful — almost as bad as it tastes. It smells like an old sock and tastes exactly what I imagine an old sock tastes like. I was staying with a Japanese family on a school trip and they offered some to me and not wanting to be impolite, I ate it. When they asked me what I thought, I said I liked it. Again, only being polite. Unfortunately for me, they took my word for it and gave it to me every day after that. Luckily it was only a few days. © Sean Hardy / quora
The sea squirt
- The sea squirt. My dad brought these little monstrosities home one day from the Korean market. You know how people say, “It tastes a lot better than it looks”? Sea Urchins come to mind when people say that. These creatures are sure ugly but taste absolutely wonderful. Well, sea squirts taste exactly what they look like. Extra chewy, extra rubbery, and crunchy. © Glen-Kim / quora
- Definitely the weirdest food I’ve ever tried was scorpions. I had them in Beijing at the night markets. It’s this long street of food stalls selling everything from snakes to scorpions. I tried scorpions and starfish. I liked the scorpions — they were deep-fried and had a salty taste, similar to potato chips. You eat them, shell and all. The starfish was pretty awful though. It tasted like cardboard. Although they don’t look very appetizing, I’d certainly have them again. © Sean Hardy/ quora
- When I was a teenager, my British-born mother gave me a taste of English marmite. It’s a thick, angry-looking spread in a glass jar — imagine a blackish-brown jam. She buttered a slice of toast then spread a thick layer of marmite on it. It tasted like heavily-salted gasoline or lighter fluid. © Malcolm Marshall / quora
- Shouba is heavy in mayo and contains raw white onion, marinated herring, cold boiled potatoes, more mayo, and the top layer is grated beets with mayo—a.k.a. a candy pink topping and then…dill??? If I didn’t love and respect my mother-in-law so much, I would’ve preferred not to try it at first glance. And apparently this candy pink thing was not dessert, but something that was used to marinate fish! But it was pretty good! © Mel Kartmazov / quora
Beef with blood
- I went to my friend to Belgium for Christmas. When the guests came, she showed everyone a giant piece of raw meat and said she would cook it. I thought it would take like, 3 hours to fry it but she served it 5 minutes later. On my plate, there were 2 slices of meat, bleeding. I hoped to hide/throw them away but the host was standing right next to me waiting for me to try it. I had to eat a piece. It turned out to be quite good, actually.
- Have you ever heard about fish-noodles? It’s an exotic meal in Russia. Usually, every fish is almost transparent, except for the eyes. And the meal itself looks like a bowl of noodles. The taste also reminded me of fish and noodles, maybe just a bit sweet. And the fish is easy to chew, you can’t even feel the bones. © MyTravelNote / pikabu
- A guy I know tried a Ukrainian meal — borsch. In his bowl, aside from the cabbage, there were 2 big pieces of boiled lard. He tried to get rid of them and thought of wrapping them in a tissue and throwing them away later but the host kept looking at him. And when he almost finished, she gave him a third piece of lard.
What has been the most unusual meal you’ve tried when you were in a different country?