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
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
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
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
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…?
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.
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
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.
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!