As we’ve mentioned several times when discussing our visit to the food stands of a night market in Beijing, or our culinary exploration of Taiwan, there’s very little food we don’t like or, at least, won’t try – even the dishes that are labelled as the “weirdest foods in Asia”. We’ve even surprised a lot of locals when they offer us different dishes that foreigners typically consider “weird Asian food”, and we eat with hearty enjoyment, but the Nomadic Boys, another couple of travellers whose culinary explorations always capture our attention, have put together a list for us of some weird foods they’ve tried in Asia, and we think that these may cause even us to hesitate.

Here’s their list, and experience, with 5 of the weirdest foods found in Asia:

Nomadic Boys Dive Head First Into Some Of  The

Weirdest Foods In Asia

 

Nomadic Boys mermaids photo

 

We are Stefan and Sebastien, a gay couple from London. Stefan is second generation Greek Cypriot, born and raised in North London and Sebastien is from Lyon in France.

We first met over 6 years ago in London and have been together since.

We have two main passions in common: food and travelling. So, we decided to combine the two and eat our way around the world together, starting with Asia. Nomadic Boys is our travel blog chronicling our adventures with our food discoveries.

Along the way we’ve encountered some delicious food, particularly in places like Sri Lanka, Vietnam and China.

But along the way we’ve also tried some pretty weird foods, and here’s 5 of them:

#1 Peking Duck Feet in Beijing, China

Stefan and Sebastien from The Nomatic Boys eating Peking Duck Feet in Beijing, China, one of the weirdest foods in Asia

 

Beijing is famous for its duck dishes (named after the city’s former name, Peking) and they are delicious. We had lots of yummy duck dishes ranging from roast to crispy.

But, the Chinese eat all parts of the duck. Literally, every single part of the duck is eaten including the face and the feet. Ok the face may have some flesh and is easier to stomach, but the feet?

We struggled with this a little bit.

#2 Airag (Fermented Mare’s Milk) in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Stefan drinking Fermented Mare’s Milk one of the weirdest foods in asia

Airag is fermented mare’s milk with a slight alcoholic content and popular with nomadic families throughout Mongolia. It dates back to the days of the Mongol empire in the 1200s when traditionally guests to a nomadic ger (their fast-to-assemble nomadic home) would be offered a bowl of airag along with a plate of dairy based treats.

We were quite excited to try airag as we had heard a lot about this drink before arriving.

But it’s absolutely disgusting: bitter and sour, like a yogurt that has passed its sell-by date by several months.

It is also supposed to have “cleansing” qualities and you are warned to go easy on it. We did not need to be warned as a few sips was more then enough to satisfy our airag curiosity once and for all.

#3 Vu Sua Fruit in Hoi An, Vietnam

Sebastien from The Nomadic Boys eating Vu Sua Fruit in Hoi An, Vietnam, which is considered to be one of the weirdest foods in Asia

Vietnam has the ideal tropical climate to keep us fruit lovers happy and we were spoiled with a variety of mangoes, dragon fruits, papaya, passion fruits…

In Hoi An (Central Vietnam), we stumbled upon a new fruit we’ve not yet come across in our travels around Asia: the breast milk fruit!

Actually it’s more formal name is ‘Star Apple’ (or Vu Sua in Vietnamese).

Star apples are juicy and sweet. They are so nicknamed because as you peel them, a few white milky drops dribble out, just like, er breast milk!

#4 A Platter of Bugs in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Fried crickets and silk worms anyone? Washed down with a platter of spring rolls with chopped red ants with fried giant water bug, tarantula and scorpion? All of this topped with a samosa containing chopped feta, spinach and tarantula…?

a plate of bugs and some of the weirdest foods in Asia- courtesy of The Nomadic Boys

Okay, we’re showing off now, but Cambodians make the most of what they have and cook these high-protein-easy-to-maintain creatures for a crunchy and quite chewy meal.

We were too shy about trying cooked bugs from the streets vendors in Cambodia, but instead visited the famous BUGS cafe in Siem Reap and sampled their discovery platter.

Sebastian from the Nomadic boys eating scorpion - the weirdest foods in asia

The fried scorpion particularly excited Sebastien. After he got over the whole psychology of ‘UN SCORPION…QUELLE HORREUR: IT’S A FRIGGIN’ SCOPRION!’ , he found it to be palatable, chewy and not so bad – almost like eating a prawn.

#5 Balut (Duck Embryo), The Philippines

Sebastien eating one of the most weirdest foods in Asia, Balut (Duck Embryo), in The Philippines

Now THIS bad boy always raises eyebrows with every foreigner visiting the Philippines.

Balut is a developing duck embryo boiled and eaten as a snack in the shell and with a splash of vinegar.

It is a popular street food snack that originated in the Philippines and is also frequently found in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Stefan from The Nomadic Boys eating Balut (Duck Embryo) in The Philippines, one of the weirdest foods in Asia

The ideal age of the duck embryo is 17 days (called balut sa pulaI), when the chick is almost fully formed with feathers, beak, claws and bones. Let’s just say it has a slight crunch to it…!

The alternative is a younger balut (known as balut sa puti): more mushy and gooey…equally as, er, tasty.

We tried a few baluts at Puka Beach on Boracay island in the Philippines and absolutely, er, loved (!) it. It tastes like a very concentrated egg flavour but with a very gooey, jelly-like texture with pieces in it.

What is the weirdest food in Asia you’ve ever tried? Comment below and let us know! 

 

 

 

45 replies
    • onemoderncouple
      onemoderncouple says:

      We were thrilled to feature you! Weirdest food? Well, we’d have to say the weirdest food we’ve tried was duckblood and stinky tofu soup in Taiwan, raw sea cucumber in Korea and raw chicken and, sadly, raw horse in Japan. Let us know if you have any questions about Taiwan – Taipei was one of our all-time favourite places!

      Reply
  1. Vlad
    Vlad says:

    I love reading the stories of Nomadic Boys, their Instagram photos are always so funny! 😀 Balut has got to be the weirdest food I’ve ever heard of, I always cringe when people must eat it on Survivor. Thanks for linking up with The Weekly Postcard 🙂
    Vlad recently posted…10 Brutally Honest Travel ConfessionsMy Profile

    Reply
    • onemoderncouple
      onemoderncouple says:

      They are definitely characters! We saw scorpions and tarantulas in Beijing and said no then… pretty sure we’ll be passing on them again in Cambodia but kudos to Nomadic Boys for their courage!

      Reply
  2. Sophie
    Sophie says:

    Great post! I live in Beijing and so of course when friends come to visit I have to take them to the night market and indulge in the weird stuff. Snakes, starfish, spiders, and all types of bugs!

    Reply
  3. Sarah Lambert
    Sarah Lambert says:

    The facial expressions in the photos are hilarious!

    As a vegetarian, I happily can avoid even considering eating some of the weirder things we see on our travels! I did try crickets in Mexico though as I was curious. They just tasted like the chilli powder they were covered in, although the texture was a bit weird. Didn’t make me want to give up my veggie-ness! And neither did this post!
    Sarah Lambert recently posted…Being vegetarian in IndiaMy Profile

    Reply
  4. budget jan
    budget jan says:

    I couldn’t do the duck embryo, especially the one that is fully formed. When I was pregnant I went off eating eggs all together. The thought of eating one with bones and feathers in URGH. I’m not judgemental about others doing so though – I mean eating it at pre-birth and at 3 months old is the same thing I guess. Umm but they would be getting boiled alive! I’ve not tried the bugs but I think they would be tasty – I love deep fried anything really. I believe they are a popular snack with a beer.:)
    budget jan recently posted…Ten Weeks in Europe 2015My Profile

    Reply
  5. Linda Bibb
    Linda Bibb says:

    Ewww … those are 5 ways to say YUCK! For me it’s not just the flavor of a food, it’s also its texture. I tried chicken feet in Indonesia and those half-dissolved bones felt like sand between my teeth. Never again, I hope.

    Well, maybe I’d try the vu sua though. I have no excuse because I’ve already tried durian, the fruit that’s so stinky that it’s not allowed in buses or hotels. Deservedly.

    Have you tried durian too? What did you think?
    Linda Bibb recently posted…River Cruise Journal – Day 5: Wine and MelkMy Profile

    Reply
    • onemoderncouple
      onemoderncouple says:

      We also tried to build ourselves up to try it – we didn’t really see it anywhere (though we weren’t really looking that hard) – but we’re not sure we would’ve had the courage to try it if we did find it!

      Reply
  6. Katey
    Katey says:

    The weirdest thing I’ve eaten is snake. I sampled a tiny bit of it in Vietnam – gross.
    And another thing would probably be frog – I had some in Vietnam which was quite tasty (I wasn’t told what it was…as soon as they told me what it was I couldn’t eat any more). I also had bullfrog in China which was just really chewy and bony.
    I haven’t eaten too many weird things because I’m too scared 😀

    Reply
  7. Ridha
    Ridha says:

    I’ve seen people eat the snake’s hear while it’s still pumping. Yep! It has to be that fresh. Haven’t tried it because… well… it’s still pumping. I have to say the weirdest food I’ve tasted were those fried maggots, or something that looked like it. White slugs; but not sago worms. These were smaller and usually sold with the bugs in Cambodia. They’re just nasty!

    Reply
  8. Boss Penguin
    Boss Penguin says:

    We also went to the bug cafe. (our most recent post Ant Bread and circuses includes a video of us trying them). The spider was OK. The biggest issue was the insect antenna getting stuck in my teeth (tmi?). We also tried the duck egg in Cambodia but we our brains weren’t in gear and for some reason we thought we were going to be eating a little duck egg and not what we got. It wasn’t bad but now I know what it is I can’t face it. Gareth also had green ants in Australia that they just picked off the tree. Apparently they taste lemony.
    Think I’ll pass on the chicken feet and anything in liquid form

    Reply

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