Image source – Pixabay

Food – a lot of us live for it. When we eat our favorite meal, we enjoy it with all our senses. There are multiple cuisines across the world. Every culture has its own specialism. Some of the food items are so tasty and popular that they have easily entered our homes. Now they are a part of our regular menus. There are many such dishes.

Now let us look at the other side. There are also multiple cuisines that make foods that fall in the ‘gross’ category for most of us. This is because it may sound yucky or look horrible. The ingredients or method of preparation may be such that we wouldn’t have thought of it in our wildest dreams. From insects to rotten animal parts, there are plenty of disgusting foods eaten as delicacies across the world. Let us look at some of them in detail.

A fair warning – This article is not for the faint-hearted and may make you feel queasy in the stomach after reading.

Let us start.

1. Chicha

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The name sounds quite harmless, doesn’t it? Chicha is the milk of rotting and chewed up corn. It is one of the most famous drinks in Peru. It has a history dating back to hundreds of years. It is said that in ancient times, young girls used to go to special schools to actually learn to brew this.

Chicha is a celebratory drink. It is served at festivals, fairs and social gatherings. It is said to foster brotherhood and a feeling of friendly community. It was also a part of religious rituals. Chicha would be given as a sacrifice to the Gods.

Chicha is milky pale yellow in colour. In order to make it, women would first chew up the corn kernels well. This is to kick start the fermentation process. They would then spit this chewed up corn into a jar of warm water. This brew would then be left to sit and ferment for a few days. After a few days, the chicha would be ready to serve. It was considered a mildly alcoholic drink.

What is more is that it was considered rude to refuse this drink. Hence people were urged to at least take a sip of the same.

2. Casu Marzu

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The name itself sounds a bit scary. And it should because it refers to cheese that is infested with maggots.

It is a Sardinian cheese made using goat’s milk. It is considered a delicacy in Italy and parts of France. It is also called maggot cheese.

Casu Marzu takes the process of fermentation to the next level. The way in which it is prepared is both unique and disgusting. The makers of this cheese add the eggs of flies into it, early into the fermentation process. As the cheese ferments, the eggs develop, and the maggots occur. They start eating the cheese. This breaks down the fats of the cheese and gives it a unique flavour and a soft texture.

The cheese makers are careful to serve the cheese with the live maggots as that is when it reaches its full flavour.

Some consumers prefer to carefully remove these maggots before eating. Most others like to eat the cheese as is, to experience the true flavour and texture. This cheese is considered very tasty by its patrons. It is supposed to taste much stronger than your regular blue cheese and also have a slightly stinky taste.

3. Balut

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This is a street food delicacy served in many South East Asian countries. Simply put Balut is fertilized duck embryo which is boiled when alive and eaten directly from its shell.

This dish is very popular in the Philippines. Fertilized duck eggs are kept out in strong sunlight. After about 17-20 days, they are inspected against the light to ensure the embryo is forming well. The beak, bones and feathers are not fully developed at this point. After this the eggs are boiled and then served with salt and a dash of lemon.

Balut is supposed to be a popular side dish served with beer. It is said to have a mild flavour which gets enhanced with a squirt of lemon.

4. Hakarl

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The Icelanders have a unique and gross way of preparing this Greenland shark delicacy. The Greenland shark is a poisonous shark. It contains large quantities of uric acid and cannot be consumed when fresh.

To solve this problem, the shark is first gutted and then buried in a shallow hole. This hole is covered with heavy stones. These stones press the fluids out of the shark’s body.

The shark may be kept here for a few weeks or even months. Once the shark is removed, it is cut into strips. These strips are then hung to dry for months together. The shark emits very strong ammonia smell. People have described the smell as akin to having bleach thrust up your nostrils.

Anthony Bourdain of the No Reservations fame has actually described hakarl as the worst and most disgusting thing he has ever eaten.

Barring the ammonia smell, its taste is said to be fishy and that like very strong blue cheese.

5. Virgin Boy eggs

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While the name may sound funny, there is nothing funny about the way this dish is made. This dish is a delicacy in Dongyang – China.

Regular duck or chicken eggs are used to make this dish. These eggs are then immersed in the urine of young children (under the age of 10). The egg makers actually approach primary schools where kids volunteer and collect their urine.

These eggs are supposed to be very good for the body’s circulation. The locals are more than happy to pay twice for these eggs. They are conveniently priced at twice the cost of the regular eggs.

People who have tried it say that it tastes salty and sour. These are just some of the weird and disgusting foods found across the world. Which one would you dare to try?