The kingdom of canned foods is a very rich tapestry. Ever since we figured out that you can encase pretty much anything in metal, leave it on a shelf for a few years and still end up with something edible, we’ve been determined to push the boundaries of long life food to the limit. Some of the results are truly terrifying.
You might think you know what to expect when it comes to canned cuisine. But, despite what you think you may know, food in cans isn’t all about dodgy soups and minced meat. Most of this list makes SPAM and spaghetti hoops look like pork tenderloin and freshly made pappardelle by comparison. For anyone who fancies a deep dive into the stranger side of cooking, here are the seven weirdest canned foods from around the world.
1. Canned Cheeseburger
Not content with conquering the fast food world, cheeseburger enthusiasts are also apparently determined to force this classic comfort food into larders and bomb shelters everywhere. Looking like a cross between old Big Mac and mashed dog food, this has got to be one of the most alarming things you can ever contemplate putting in your mouth.
2. Creamed Possum
Generally speaking, putting “creamed” in front of anything tends to make it seem more appetising. As with any rule, however, there are exceptions. I’m not sure there are any words in the English language that you could put before possum to make me want to eat it. “Creamed” suggests that the makers decided to put some roadkill in a blender.
3. Canned Pork Brains
Depending on how they are prepared, brains can be perfectly delicious. On the other hand, I’d be willing to bet good money that stuffing them in an aluminium tube alongside tantalisingly non-specific sounding “milk gravy” is not a method that will win many culinary stamps of approval. Complete with cover art that looks suspiciously like scrambled eggs, you have to wonder what else may have managed to sneak into this dish.
4. Canned Whole Chicken
Nothing says “yum” quite like a grease-drenched dead bird slithering out of a tin. Despite coming “fully cooked” and containing a serving of “delicious gravy”, it’s difficult to see how anyone could think eating what looks like hardened alien phlegm could possibly be a good idea. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to scare away irritating family members who fancy a Sunday lunch at your expense, this could be the perfect repellant.
5. Canned Scorpion
As if getting your head around ordinary scorpion wasn’t tricky enough, one masochistic business decided to up the difficulty level still further. Though supposedly safe to eat after being cooked, a slowly mouldering scorpion carcass is still almost certainly an acquired taste.
6. Canned Beondegi
Continuing the many-legged theme for our next entry, we have a canned version of a popular Korean street food snack. Beondegi, or silk worm pupae, are usually served stewed and hot by the cup-load to adventurous passers by. Keeping them in a can full of what looks like bong water is bound to do little for their flavour.
Known to anyone outside Sweden as the smelliest food in the world, everything about surstromming is extreme. So potent is the pong that these cans of fermented herring have to be opened underwater in order to prevent the smell from seeping into clothes, kitchens or cooks. Despite being a Scandinavian staple, this is not a food for the faint of heart.
In many cases, canned foods can provide an invaluable source of nutrients in areas that might otherwise struggle to store food effectively. That being said, there are clearly some things that were never meant to be kept like this. For everyone’s sakes, we beg the can lovers of the world to draw the line somewhere. Another photo of canned chicken might spell the end of my career in the food industry.