10 Weird Foods That Are Actually Delicious

Our definition of “weird food” is so subjective that it’s difficult to define and call something as it is. My brother thought mashed potatoes were weird food when he was ten years old. Most of the world questions the U.S.’s obsession with peanut butter. “Weird” is a cultural and personal culinary designation.

Even so, the West, especially the United States, has a few culinary items that people find strange, even within their own borders. The problem is that weird can also be associated with bad taste. The fact is that some of these foods are pretty friggin’ delicious. Here are 10 bizarre foods that actually taste good.

10 Pickled Herring

You may have seen Vita Brand pickled herring in the corner of the refrigerated area in your grocery store. It’s this big jar filled with sour cream, onions, and rectangular chunks of greyish fish. Though it may appear that something is wrong with the jar, you’ll be happy to know that no one has tampered with the cap and the expiration date is a couple of months out. It isn’t mayonnaise that has grown black mold, nor is it the contents of a sick person’s stomach after eating cream of mushroom soup. Pickled herring with sour cream, onions and mayonnaise is the best seafood snack.

Though it’s definitely not for everyone, pickled herring is a great source of fatty acids and is a tangy, meaty snack. It isn’t as fishy as you’d expect, and the texture of the sour cream and onions cuts through the savory nature of the fish itself.

If you’re ever feeling adventurous, grab a water cracker and put a piece of herring on top. Enjoy!

9 Fried Grasshoppers, Chapulines

You say to eat a bug? Never! Linda, please eat shrimp, crab, lobster. They’re essentially underwater bugs. So what’s the big deal with fried grasshoppers?

This Mexican treat is often served with chili, lime, and is a great source protein. Even more, the commercial farming of edible grasshoppers doesn’t impact the environment as the meat industry does.

Fried grasshoppers may be odd to folks in the United States and Europe, but it’s a popular snack among kids in the Oaxaca region and is gaining popularity globally. They can be made at home by heating some oil in a frypan, adding the chapulines, and seasoning it with garlic salt or chili powder. You could even make some chapuline tacos or an Oaxacan-style “pizza” called a tlayuda.

8 Escargot

The country of France is located across the pond, where snails are both garden guests and food. Although the French word for snails is still used, it has a fascinating history in the U.S. Escargot was a $300-million industry at one time. Although it has been a bit of a lost cause in recent years, it is still worth trying.

Some chefs will serve the garlic bread with butter and garlic, while others will slather it on. You can just mentally get over the texture of snails. This is how I imagine it feeling when you bite into an eyeball. The texture is soft, chewy, and hard but it’s delicious. It’s strange, I know.

A word of caution: don’t harvest snails from your garden and assume they are edible. Some species are not edible. You can cook them at home with apple snails and helix promatia.

7 Dandelions

We take dandelions as a given. We treat dandelions as a weed, when we should be harvesting them! Although, knowing pollution and the chemicals we lay down on our grass each year, perhaps grazing on our lawn’s annual dandelions is not a good idea. However, you can purchase dandelion leaves from the grocery store and they are safe.

This bizarre food was once eaten often in the pre-Victorian Era. The roots and leaves of the flower are rich in vitamins C, E, folate, and have medicinal properties. The flowers can be made into dandelion wine, and the root into tea. If you add chicory, it will make a good substitute for coffee flavor-wise.

The leaves are bitter if eaten by themselves. You can make a delicious side dish out of young leaves by sauteing them with salt, lemon, and pepper.

6 Nixon’s Favorite

President Nixon was a brilliant man who did something extremely stupid. We only remember Nixon for his tax evasion, and the fact that he believed he could get away without paying what every American takes from their bank accounts each year.

Ahem, anyway.

Nixon liked to eat a weird little somethin’-somethin’ that I have personally eaten before and can vouch for its deliciousness: macaroni, ketchup, and cottage cheese.

It sounds like vomit. But it’s good! It’s tangy, filling, and a good thing to feed the kids when you’re broke from tax season and can’t afford to buy groceries—a veritable bowl of odds and ends.

5 Blood Sausage

Blood sausage is a strange product because it uses real blood. It is not human blood but pig, sheep or cow blood. It is not bloody, but the Brits and people in Ireland cleverly named it black pudding due to the dark, almost black color it takes.

Blood sausage is a delicious savory treat that can be mixed with a filler, such as oats or barley, and then stuffed in a casing. It is often served with full breakfasts. It’s high in protein and iron but not very good for you on the cholesterol front.

Still, you shouldn’t shy away from it if given a chance to eat it. It’s certainly not like eating a regular pork sausage, but the texture is far from weird, and the flavor, especially if you dip it in brown sauce, is out of this world.

4 Chicken Liver Pâté

Chicken livers, meh. Chicken liver pâté? Now we’re talking. Chicken liver has become the ” ethical ” alternative because the foie gas industry is so controversial (goose farmers force-feed geese grains to make their livers fatty for the dish). It’s not as good as foie gras, in my opinion, but it’s a nice low-budget option for a dinner party hors d’oeuvre.

Don’t try to make this at home, though. It’s hard to eliminate the metallic taste of the liver, even after soaking it. It’s best purchased pre-made, ready for you to enjoy on a soft baguette, surrounded by your fancy friends.

3 Kishke (Stuffed Derma)

If you are familiar with anatomy terminology l, this may be the name of the one you are looking at with raised eyebrows. Derma, doesn’t that mean skin? Yup. It does. But kishke translates to guts, so I’d focus more on that name.

Kishke, which is also known as stuffed derm, is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish treat. You can find the meal in practically any Jewish deli you go to, including Manhattan’s famous Katz’s Deli.

What is it made from? Glad you asked.

Encased within cow or sheep intestine (making the sausage of sorts), modern fillings are schmaltz (rendered bird fat), chicken or duck fat (whatever is convenient), matzoh, flour, and other spices.

Right? It’s not that strange. I think it’s just weird that food is called what it is by a name.

2 Bone Marrow

Do not waste your time. Bone marrow, which is high in cholesterol, but rich in protein, collagen, vitamin B12, is another delicacy. This weird food is so common that it really shouldn’t be labeled as weird, but the concept of eating bone marrow is a little odd.

Who thought that they should first cut open the bones and then suck the insides of a cow? Isn’t that a dog’s job?

Evidently not.

The yellow marrow is prepared by chefs all over the world. They are split into beef bones and roasted. The delicious, buttery-rich flavor in the marrow is irresistible. They charge you a bazillion for it.

Listen, it’s a darn good dish and a great go-to for an adventurous and sophisticated palate. I can find cheaper options. There’s no reason restaurants should be charging that much for this appetizer.

1 Rocky Mountain Oysters

It’s balls!

Rocky mountain oysters can be sheep or bull testicles. They are called prairie oysters in Canada. You may remember the scene in 1988’s “Funny Farm” with Chevy Chase as he proudly downs ball after ball at a diner only to be told, “It’s balls.” After which, he runs out, disgusted.

But hey, he liked the food! And I guess maybe we shouldn’t be so judgemental toward the food, either. The calves who sacrifice their lives for our enjoyment would not be happy that we gross them out.

Considered a delicacy, rocky mountain oysters can be deep-fried, eaten with ketchup, marinated, sauteed…when the whole testicle pops on a hot stove, they’re done!

So if you’re curious about what animal testicles taste like, you don’t have to go on Fear Factor. Head to Montana’s annual testicle festival (yes, it’s real) and try them for yourselves!

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