You can try to explain it, deny it or ignore it, but ultimately there’s no getting away from the fact that humanity likes eating weird stuff. For every perfectly seasoned sirloin or beautifully roasted chicken breast, there’s an alarming oddity waiting to give you a stomach turning surprise. While no one wants to see any animal go to waste, it seems logical that there should be some limits on what we decide to put in our mouths. Apparently not. Gathered from cultures across the world, here are the seven weirdest animal parts people insist on eating.
1. Pig Fallopian Tubes
Any dish that is specific enough to revolve around the porcine reproductive system is clearly no accident. This delightful Singaporean specialty has been labelled as one of the “10 grossest foods” on the island by CNN correspondent Cathy Ling. Rumoured to increase female fertility, the tubes are typically served stir fried with kung pao sauce.
2. Chicken Feet
One of the most important tenaments in true Chinese cookery is texture. This often leads to dishes that rely heavily on ingredients that may initially seem utterly horrible to the untrained eye. One of these is chicken feet. Deep fried or steamed before a long stew, the feet are prized for their gelatinous consistency.
3. Pig Rectum
If there’s one part of the animal that common sense tells you is best left alone, it is surely the rectum. Nevertheless, ignoring all laws of logic and hygiene, the French have seen fit to stuff their piggy behinds into one sinister sausage. Andouillette is considered a local delicacy and prized for its unsurprisingly strong and distinctive flavour.
4. Tuna Eyeball
Though folklore has always claimed that carrots are the only way to help you see in the dark, it seems clear that this Japanese specialty is a far more effective prescription. Despite looking extremely unnerving, tuna eyes are in fact highly nutritious - rich in omega 3 and other essential fatty acids. You’ll just have to get over the gag factor.
Out of sheer curiosity, I would love to meet the person who first looked at the red flap of serrated skin on top of a chicken’s head and thought, “I bet that tastes delicious.” Clearly, whoever they were stumbled across a cult classic. Cockscombs have been eaten across Europe for hundreds of years and remain popular in Italy to this day.
6. Ox Penis
It tends to be a good rule of thumb that penises are best put in the mouth while the owner is still alive. As the Chinese prove, some rules are made to be broken. In traditional Chinese medicine, ox penises are rumoured to increase virility and masculinity. You certainly need balls to try them.
7. Bull Testicles
Speaking of balls, this list wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Canada’s infamous rocky mountain oysters. Deep fried after a generous coating in flour, salt and pepper, after you get over the stomach churning ingredients, bull’s testicles are perhaps the tastiest of all the oddities we’ve discussed.
Wherever you travel, the chances are that there is a local delicacy lurking in wait with a vomit-inducing list of ingredients. However, it’s also important to remain open to new ideas. It might seem initially horrible, but as bull’s testicles prove, weird sounding doesn’t necessarily mean weird tasting.