And by unusual, I mean unusual to me at the time they were first sampled.  Today, I don’t find most of them unusual at all.

Well.  Most of them.


10) Beef Tendon

This one was an usual one for me to wrap my head around at first.  No meat.  Just the tendon?  I’ll have to admit, I wasn’t convinced the first time I tried it but, on subsequent outings, the dish has grown on me – at first as an accompaniment to beef, and now a favorite all on its own.  Served with a side of white rice – delicious!

Recommended?  Yes!


9) Snake Soup

I have always considered myself an adventurous eater, so when the opportunity presented itself to try some snake soup at the Hong Kong airport enroute to Tokyo, I thought “Why not?”.  The verdict?  I found it unremarkable.  More notable, however, was the ensuing week of gastrointestinal distress that saw me shed 15 lbs, inadvertently allowing me to stumble upon what I would later coin The Snake Soup Diet!

Recommended?  Hell, no!


8) Alligator

I first tried alligator at a  cajun restaurant in Montreal back in college days.  I found it an uninspired dish that would be best described as as a cross between overcooked veal and frog.

Recommended?  Nope.


7) Frog’s Legs

Less chewy than alligator, but more fishy-tasting.

Recommended?  Also no.


6) Fugu

The first time I tried fugu was on one of my first trips to Japan when I was served it, sashimi style, as a part of an omakase (chef’s choice menu) meal at a high-end restaurant in Tokyo.  I was, admittedly leery.  We all remember that episode of The Simpsons, right?  The fish is deadly and can only be prepared and served by trained masters.  A misstep could mean certain death for the diner.  I have since learned that most fugu in Japan is now farmed and toxin-free – although some high-end restaurants still kick it old school.  I suspect my experience was the latter.  Although Akemi loves fugu, I found it neutral in flavor.

Recommended?  Not really.


5) Haggis

Sheep stomach stuffed with offal, oatmeal, onions and spices.  What’s not to like?  Well…  I picked up a haggis out of curiosity back in Vancouver and looked up preparation methods.  Most were incredibly unappealing, but I happened on one that involved roasting the haggis and serving it with a butter-whiskey sauce.  When I mentioned this to actor Robert Carlyle, he briefly looked like he was going to throttle me – before politely and calmly informing me that boiling is the proper preparation.

Recommended?  No.


4) Chicken Feet

It’s all skin and bone and, to be honest, cartilage.  But the sauce really puts it over the top.

Recommended?  Depending on the preparation, a cautious yes.


3) Lamb’s Brains

I came home from school one day to discover my visiting roasting up some lamb brains in the oven.  Seasoned with oil, garlic, salt and black pepper, they smelled delicious.  But had an off-putting coppery taste.

Recommend?  Afraid not.


2) Sweetbreads

A.k.a. thymus gland.  It has a bit of a brain-like appearance and, in that respect, is instantly off-putting – BUT is surprisingly delicious served bacon-wrapped, fried, or pan-roasted with garlic and thyme.

Recommended?  Yes.

1) Century Eggs.

A terrific accompaniment to most any congee, but I find a little goes a long way.  A deeper dive into their preparation methods has somewhat dampened my enthusiasm.

Recommended?  Yes.  Occasionally.  In congee.


And one for good luck) Shirako

On my first trip to Tokyo, I enjoyed a soup at the Hyatt in Shinjuku that contained some unusual dumplings – slightly sweet and very creamy.  When I asked the waitress about them, she informed me I was eating milt.  I asked her for the English translation and she told me that milt was the English translation.  It wasn’t until I got back to my hotel room that I was able to google it and learn milt is cod sperm.  I’ve since been served it steamed (not recommended) and tempura’d (high recommended).

Recommended?   Yes.

13 thoughts on “Top 10 Most Unusual Foods I Have Eaten!

  1. Snake soup is a NO for me … Something about eating “my own kind” sounds aversive … LOL

  2. You dare insult the Great chieftain o the puddin’-race?!

    You’re lucky Robert wasn’t playing Rumplestiltskin in Once Upon a Time yet, or he might have hexed you.

  3. Beef Tendon: OK but not really meaty enough for me.
    Alligator: I’ve had crocodile on pizza. Does that count? Tastes like chicken.
    Haggis: I had it when I was on holiday in Scotland. It was served at the breakfast buffet in the hotel. It was fine. I prefer black pudding, though.
    Lamb’s Brains: Yeah, the metallic taste isn’t great.
    Sweetbreads: I’ve definitely had it but can’t remember anything about it.

    Some others that I’ve had:

    Whale: The dinner buffet at the hotel I was staying at in Iceland had it. It was kind of fishy but didn’t really taste of much at all. There was a lot of weird stuff at that buffet. I can’t remember what most of them were now.
    Shearwater/Muttonbird: Very gamy. Stinks the house out while you’re cooking it.
    Kangaroo: It’s pretty much a staple in restaurants in Australia and you can buy it from most supermarkets so it might not be classified as unusual. Very similar to venison. I like it.

  4. I remember the first time i tried frog legs. Didn’t care for them. Opinion did not change the second time i tried them prepared a different way. Wouldn’t say beef tendon is a fav but it’s not too bad.
    Sweet bread is always a yes. A definite no on the rest of your list.
    Albeit I was kinda surprised i scored 22 on the southern foods list you posted considering I’ve
    not spent all that much time in the south.

    Here’s a little something to lend a smile to your day, Joe.
    The Queen made a video with Paddington Bear for her Jubilee.

    And this one’s for Suji & Akemi
    Four legged pampered divas get to ride Japan Railways in style.

    Still in all too gradual recovery mode here. Not healing as quickly as I’d hoped. I suppose age and all the stress of everything i’ve endured over the last twelve months has taken a larger toll than i’m willing to concede.

  5. I want to know who the hell first looked at cod sperm and thought, “I bet that would make a delicious meal!”

    I also don’t want to know how it is harvested.

    1. It wouldn’t be hard. Fish just release their eggs and sperm into the water and hope that one reaches the other.

  6. Not sure what happened with that Paddington bear vid link?
    but the Palace reposted with the full vid.

    Check it out. It’s really cute.

  7. I have eaten frogs legs here in Tennessee. I found them to be tasty and not at all fishy, although I felt sorry for all of those frogs getting around in tiny wheelchairs

    A Kenyan friend taught me how to prepare beef kidneys. I was surprised at how good they are.

    My mother would eat head cheese sandwiches. Disgusting!

    Haggis in Scotland was delicious! I wish I could get it here. And yes, you boil it. Period. Black pudding/blood pudding, on the other hand, was palatable, but not my favorite. My mother made fried duck’s blood when they slaughtered a bird. Same principle. Still not great. It tastes like… Well… Blood. Go figure!

    I probably would pass on the rest of your menu. I don’t even like caviar, which really tastes fishy to me. I like venison and similar game meats, but that’s about it.

    Interesting blog entry!

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