No matter where you go in Asia and how long you stay, there will always be an opportunity to try some "interesting" foods. From fried tarantula to hundred year eggs, we take a look at some of the well-known delicacies from around Asia.
If you get a chance, it's well worth giving them a try. Presuming of course that you can stomach it.
It's hard to describe this one. Essentially it is a soup/broth/paste consisting of marine animals and a viscous paste. It doesn't look all that appealing, and is definitely an acquired taste. To put it in some context, you could say it is similar to anchovies in its saltiness and fishiness. The texture is very different though.
This is known as a "rare taste" in Japan and has a few different varieties.
You may have seen one of the most classic Simpsons episodes where Homer is informed the puffer-fish he ate was poisoned, and he only has a short while left to live.
This is the (in)famous Fugu dish.
The Simpsons episode is no exaggeration; eating this fish can be deadly due to its tetrodotoxin, and only chefs with three years' training are legally allowed to prepare it in Japan. It is served as sashimi (raw fish).
That smell when you're walking around the night market is not the smell of drains, it's the much-loved (mostly by locals) Stinky Tofu. The clue is in the name.
Stinky Tofu, served either fried or boiled, comes in various strengths. Some dishes have spent weeks fermenting, and are too much for most people to handle.
Despite the smell, it is considered a delicacy, and it should be noted that usually the smell is worse while it's being cooked.
Balut, or Balot is a fertilized duck egg that is boiled, then eaten in the shell. You'll see it sold as street food and it is fairly common.
Depending on how old the egg was when it was cooked, you may or may not be able to make out the chick, which will definitely put a lot of people off.
Usually though the egg is about 17 days old, and while the embryo has developed slightly, it is still a long way off being "whole" when sold.
Tong Zi Dan
"Virgin Boy Egg" is a delicacy from Dongyang. They are made by cooking eggs in urine collected from young boys. Yep.
Dongyang recognizes these eggs as local cultural heritage.
The cooking takes all day, and is similar to the tea eggs cooked throughout China.
Despite the name (which is also sometimes "thousand year egg") Century Eggs only take a few weeks to prepare. They are preserved in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and other ingredients for several weeks or months.
This process turns the egg yolk dark green, and sometimes a pattern forms near the top.
This delicacy is a collection of steamed or boiled silkworm pupae, which is usually seasoned and sold as a snack.
You can find them canned in supermarkets as well, but the street food versions are ready to eat and more delicious.
This is more than just raw food. Sannakji is a live octopus that has been cut up into small pieces and served immediately. Usually they are served with sesame oil.
The chopped up pieces are still squirming on the plate, so those eating it will have to wrestle to pick it up with their chopsticks, then wrestle once more to get it into their mouths.
This is definitely one of the most interesting of the dishes on this list!
The fried spider, which is usually tarantula is a very well known dish and one of the reasons a lot of people go to Cambodia. The taste and texture is similar to chicken (isn't it always chicken?), although eating different parts of the spider's body will give you a different experience. The abdomen is the most meaty.
The spiders are fried whole, so you will also have to contend with the internal organs, which turn into a brown paste during cooking.
What other dishes are a "must try" in Asia? Share below!