Folks, when you eat
Doritos for breakfast that’s pretty damn exotic right there,
especially if you squirt some guac on top. But in this huge, vast
planet that we share with billions of other people, there are plenty
of weirder things that people shove into their mouths when the sun
comes up and the roosters do their cock-a-doodle-doo thing. But snake
eggs aren’t just for breakfast anymore; you will find that no
matter the time of day, people have an appetite for all sorts of
things that could scientifically be classified as “yucky.” But
keep an open mind because once the world runs out of chicken nuggets
and Cheetos, we might not have any choice but to subsist on the
strange foods on this list.

Rotten shark

Most people go to
Iceland to experience its scenic beauty. But for you, it’s all
about feasting on some delicious Hákarl, or shark carcass that is
covered in sand and stones and left to sit for a few weeks until it
ferments, at which point it is cut into strips and hung in a barn for
a few months until it tastes nice and cleaning product-like. The late
Anthony Bourdain, who wasn’t one to shy away from a peculiar dish,
described Hákarl as the most disgusting thing he had ever eaten. As
you eat it, you are encouraged to down a shot of Brennivín, a type
of unsweetened schnapps that Icelanders really dig, and so will you.

Kopi Luwak

The most expensive
coffee doesn’t come from some beautiful, scenic plantation in the
Kenyan mountains; rather, it’s crapped out of a catlike critter
known as the civat. Native to southeast Asia, civats crave these
coffee cherries, which are then collected, cleaned, and sold for as
much as $350 per pound. On a personal note, a friend brought over a
bag from Vietnam, and while drinking a cup my thoughts were, “Meh.
Tastes like the generic stuff you’ll find at any grocery store.”

Mopane Worms

First of all, these
caterpillars in southern Africa are a delight to prepare. You pluck
them from a tree and then expel their green, gooey innards the same
way you’d squeeze a tube of toothpaste. You can dry them out in the
sun and enjoy them as a crunchy snack, or you can fry them with
onions, tomatoes and spices as the locals do.

Ant Larvae

Known as escamoles
in Spanish, this Mexican delicacy dates back to the days of the
Aztecs. It’s described as having a nutty, buttery taste, so before
you dive in, you should give your taste buds some practice by eating
nuts coated in butter. Escamoles is commonly served with rice and
green onions, but since you’re the type who insists on only eating
things in taco form, you’ll be glad to know this is within the
realm of possibility as well.

Live octopus

When you want to
maximize the culinary experience, the freshest is the best. And in
South Korea, if your meal isn’t living and breathing when it
arrives on your plate, you might as well call the health inspectors
and report them for serving expired food. Live, squirming baby
octopuses are all the rage there. You simply wrap one around your
chopsticks, dip them in a savory sauce, and it’s down the hatch.
Oh, and keep in mind that the suction cups on their tentacles have
been known to attach themselves inside the throat of the diner,
choking them to death. So perhaps you should order pepperoni pizza
instead.

Gold

When you think about
luxury and decadence, gold always comes to mind. This is also true
when it comes to the most expensive food in the world. For instance,
the $1000 Golden Opulence Sundae served at Serendipity in New York
City contains edible 23-carat gold. Likewise, when you order the
$2000 pizza at New York City’s Industry Kitchen, gold is among the
toppings. However, before you salivate over these possibilities, you
should know that gold doesn’t actually taste like anything. Sorry.

Fried calf’s
brain

Breaded, deep fried
and served on toast or a bun, this dish gained popularity in the
1880s among shipyard workers in St. Louis. But just as musical and
clothing tastes have changed, so too has their craving for baby cow
brains. When mad cow disease reached its peak in the early 1990s,
restaurants began to switch to pig brains instead. Today a handful of
restaurants in Ohio and Indiana still serve this stuff, so plan your
trip to Toledo and/or Muncie today!

Egg shells

When you’re making
your famous hot dog scrambled eggs, you probably just throw away the
egg shells because what other purpose do they serve other than to
house the egg yokes? Turns out, there are actually nutritional
benefits to eating them. They are made of calcium carbonate, a key
ingredient found in antacids. But aside from balancing out the acidic
levels in your stomach, the calcium helps keep your bones strong.

Maggot cheese

There are around 10 types of cheese in the world, along with thousands of sub-varieties, but few are as adventurous as casu marzu, a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese that is teaming with live fly maggots because, you know, gotta keep up with those rich, time honored traditions and stuff. You’ll probably be super sad to learn that this cheese is not available for sale due to potential health risks such as dropping dead. Your only real option is to hope that a local who makes casu marzu invites you over to give it a try.

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