10 Craziest Restaurant Meals in the World

by Lexa Pennington /
Lexa Pennington's picture
Sep 16, 2012 / 0 comments

People love to talk about what they eat. Whether it’s at a Michelin-starred restaurant, a burger joint, street food, or what they’re cooking at home, talking about food is as ubiquitous as taking about the weather. People love food. They love to talk about food. And, they love to eat crazy food. It’s one of those things – the bragging rights to eating crazy restaurant meals. However, you actually have to go through with the possibly unpleasant meals, in order to gain those bragging rights! I’m not talking about rat, or roasted grasshopper. This is hard core.

I once ate a live anemone, at a corner sushi bar in Japan. It was, definitively, the worst eating experience of my life. It has also been, in the ensuing decades, the best story I can trot out to old friends and new, when we talk about the craziest food we’ve ever eaten. By now, I’ve perfected that story, to include not only my choking gasp of horror, but also the looks on the faces of my fellow diners; the sights, sounds, and tastes of this crazy meal.


Here are 10 crazy restaurant meals, from around the world.

  1. Japan – Fermented blood clams. They look like small yellow golf balls, floating in blood. Fermented. Not to be confused with Chinese blood clams. Best chased with an alcoholic beverage, to erase the taste from your mouth and the heinousness from your mind.
  2. China & Vietnam – Blood clams. These are more regular clams (not fermented). When roasted, they omit a red, bloody liquid. Some say this tastes great?!
  3. Thailand - Deep fried giant water bugs. They look like enormous roaches (palmetto bugs, to you Floridians). They look crispy (and are), but also taste somewhat creamy, with buggy aftertones. Helpful if they are covered with sauce.
  4. China - Stir-fried silk worm pupae. A deep, chestnut brown, with one rounded end and one pointy end, silk worms are also called “tasty crispy silkworms” in Chinese. The pupae are not worms, per se, but pupae of moths. Have to get your facts straight for future tales of this particular meal. These quite large pupae (about half the length of your thumb) are served with sesame seeds and salt, for dipping. Ignore the unpleasant aroma, and dig in. Please note: not particularly crispy, but rather chewy. It can be done in three bites, if you’re into punishing yourself. Try to down it all at once and get it over with. Will you go back for a second one?
  5. Philippines – Balut. This is a fertilized duck embryo. That means that you’re eating a mostly-formed duck. You crack the egg shell open, drink the juice, and then peel away the shell. Inside, you’re left with a boiled, membranous glob. When you chew it, you’ll need to work around the bones, bill, eyes, and feathers. Yes, a fully formed fetus. Tastes like duck (you knew that was coming).
  6. Global – Animal body parts. Yes, this is a global phenomenon. From goat penis to lamb eyeballs, cultures all around the world serve up the entire animal, hoof to fork. Pick your body part, feel the squishiness or hard crunch, revel in the shivers going up and down your spine. Brag.
  7. Southern United States – Chitlins. This is the intestines of a pig. You can buy huge 5 pound buckets of them, which you can spend hours and hours at the sink, scrubbing out. For you definitely want those intestines to be completely cleaned from the inside out. Slice up, cook, and serve with a hot sauce. Or, if you don’t want the smell in your house for the next 6 months, head to a soul food restaurant and order a dish. That way, only you will smell like it until your next shower.
  8. Japan – Shirako (fish sperm). Actually called cod-milt, this fish sperm is a blob. You will be served several of these sperm sacs. When gently cooked, shirako turns into a creamy custard. How many can you down? Depends on if you like the texture, honestly.
  9. Mexico – Larvae tacos. Often the larvae are wax moths, and are long and skinny, like fingers. They are served on soft corn tortillas, with spicy peppers, cilantro, and chilies. Don’t let the larvae squish out of the other end – there are many in your taco! Also,order the mealworm ice cream for dessert as your coup de grâce.
  10. Mexico – Escamoles. Riffing on the insect theme, escamoles are ant larvae. These tiny ant eggs are harvested from the maguey plant. They are cooked with butter, onion, and cilantro, and then heaped into a warm corn tortilla. Crunchy texture, nutty taste – that’s Aztec caviar.


Do you have a crazy meal experience to share? Where did you eat it? How long have you bragged about it?

Magnus Hirst is a tour guide and Social Media Coordinator at Icelandic Travel Market, a leading Iceland tours company specializing in bus tours, Iceland day tours, jeep tours, Iceland group travel, glacier walks, whale watching tours and more.