No 20: Southern Fried Rattlesnake (USA) is a favourite all over the South-Western States. It is said to taste a little like frog's legs. The meat is boiled off the bones before being dipped in egg and covering in a seasoned mixture of flour and breadcrumbs and deep-fried. A dish with real bite!
No 19: Mopani worms (Southern Africa) are said to be both juicy and full of meat. Although traditionally dried or smoked to preserve, they are usually rehydrated and cooked with tomato or chilli sauce to flavour. One I’m prepared to eat.
No 18: Shark Fin Soup (China) fills me with revulsion. Although considered a delicacy in that part of the world, the cruel and barbaric way in which the fins are harvested means no one should have any business supporting the industry. The fact their fins are hacked from the sharks’ still living bodies makes should put this dish beyond the pale.
No 17: Fugu (Japan) was made famous by The Simpsons. This delicacy has the potential to be deadly if prepared incorrectly. As such, only chefs that have been drilled to perfection are allowed to handle the serving of the pufferfish. Still, it’s said to make one mean little sashimi dish.
No 16: Sago grubs (SE Asia) are said to be creamy tasting when raw or meaty and like bacon when cooked. Generally seasoned and flavoured in the same way as the other Southeast Asian creepy crawly favourite, Jing Leed and is often served alongside it.
No 15: Haggis (Scotland) consists of a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs minced and mixed with onions, oatmeal, suet and seasoned with salt and spices cooked inside the animal’s stomach. If that doesn’t sound appealing, I won’t judge you; been there, got the T-shirt...
No 14: Lardo (Italy) is probably not popular with the Heart Foundation. Marble masons in the Carrara region traditionally ate the cured pork back fat as a source of energy.
No 13: Sannakji (South Korea) ranks high on the cruelty scale. It involves hacking the tentacles off a baby octopus and serving them up to the customer, still wriggling. We can take solace that on occasion the tentacles get revenge and choke the consumer...
No 12: Drunken Shrimp (China) is served both living and drunk, stunned in a strong liquor called baijiu. Diners usually bite the head off first before consuming the body. A horrible pursuit, not just for the cruelty aspect, but also for the severe risk of disease.
No 11: Bird's Nest Soup (SE Asia) is made from the nest of the swift, who instead of collecting twigs for its bed, builds it out of its own gummy saliva, which goes hard when exposed to air. Usually the built high up on cliff faces, harvesting them is a dangerous business and many people die each year. Whether its ‘rubbery taste’ is worth this human sacrifice, I’ve yet to find out.
No 10: Khash (Middle East) is a not-so-pretty dish made up of stewed cow's feet and head. It was once a winter comfort food but is now considered a delicacy. I’m sure it’s fine, so long as you don’t mind that grinning skull staring at you...
No 9: Escamol (Mexico) is also known as ‘insect caviar’. The dish is made of the edible larvae and pupae of ants, harvested from the tequila or mescal plant. Considered something of a delicacy, it is said to have the consistency of cottage cheese and a buttery, nutty taste.
No 8: Fried spider (Cambodia) is a regional delicacy popular in the town of Skuon, prepared by marinating it in MSG, sugar and salt and then frying it in garlic. Apparently it has more meat on it than a grasshopper, but also has brown sludge in the abdomen, which consists of mainly innards, eggs and excrement. Yum.
No 7: Hakarl (Iceland) is the rotting carcass of a Greenland or basking (Somniosidae) shark. It’s buried underground in a shallow pit and pressed with stones so the poisonous internal fluids that allow it to live in such cold waters can be drained out making the meat safe to eat. After this it’s hung out to dry before being cut into strips and served. With a smell that’s described as ammonia-rich and a strong ‘fishy-flavour’, it was described by Anthony Bourdain as “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” he’d ever tried.
No 6: Shiokara (Japan) is a dish made of pieces of meat taken from a selection of sea creatures, served in a brown, viscous paste of their own salted and fermented viscera. Oh, I forgot to say, it’s all served raw.
No 5: Thousand Year Eggs (China) may not be a millennium old, but this egg is pretty rotten. After being preserved in a mixture of clay, ash and quicklime for a few months, the yolk turns a dark green or even black and slimy while the white has turns to a dark brown translucent jelly. Apparently it smells of strongly of sulphur and ammonia, but tastes like a hard boiled egg… until you breathe out that is.
No 4: Casu Marzu (Italy). Also known as ‘maggot cheese’, this traditional Sardinian dish is sheep’s milk cheese famous for containing live insect larvae. Apparently these wiggling little maggots are supposed to enhance the flavour, but are prone to jump when they panic, so watch your eyes. Some people suffocate them or kill the beasts in the fridge before consuming, but others go for the live version. Sometimes they survive the stomach and burrow into your intestines. Nice.
No 3: Tuna eyes (Japan) Although it sounds nasty, apparently it’s rather tame, tasting pretty similar to squid or octopus.
No 2: Balut (Philippines) is a developing duck embryo that’s boiled alive in its shell. As well as sounding incredibly harsh, it looks incredibly unappetising. Still, it’s a common street food and is usually served with beers. Can’t say I have the stomach for it...
No 1: Despite the name, Prairie Oysters (USA) aren’t actually oysters at all. No, they are bull testicles deep in a batter of flour, pepper and salt. Done for breeding purposes rather than specifically for culinary reasons, I guess it’s good they use a part of the animal that would otherwise be wasted. That being said, ow…
Some seriously weird names for food
Number 16: "Scotch Eggs" - despite the name - come from Yorkshire in the North-East of England, not Scotland. The eggs are deep-fried or baked. The result is a hard-boiled egg that has been wrapped in sausage meat and covered in breadcrumbs. Wealthy Victorians would take Scotch Eggs on picnics or on long journeys.
Number 15: Okay, okay. I know that Puppy Chow is pretty much just Chex cereal spruced up with powdered sugar. But can we all take a moment to appreciate the weirdness of a human snack that both looks and sounds like dog food?
Number 14: A cross between a popover and pancake, the Dutch Baby can be sweet or savory, breakfast or dessert. I am also happy to inform you that it does not, in fact, contain babies, Dutch or otherwise.
Number 13: Lady Fingers. Of course I see the resemblance. These cookies are long and slender and delicate — but when we’re digging into tiramisu, we don’t want to be reminded of human body parts, thank you very much.
Number 12: "Singing Hinnies" is a northern dish of currant cakes cooked on a griddle. "Singing" refers to the sizzling sound of the cakes as they cook in fat, while "hinny" is a Northern term of endearment.
Number 11: "Welsh Rarebit/Rabbit" comes as a disappointment to many tourists in Wales when they find that the traditional "rabbit" they've ordered is little more than a gourmet version of cheese on toast. The name is said to be something of an English joke, coined in the 18th Century when many Welsh were so poor they could not even afford a cheap meat like rabbit.
Number 10: No need to alert the police. Priest Stranglers — "strozzapreti" in Italian — are a type of long, twisted pasta that wouldn’t be much good for offing someone, although they hold a sauce quite nicely. Among many theories, Epicurious notes that the name is likely a bit of gallows humor, as priests were thought to be so gluttonous that they would choke on their pasta.
No 9: Coddled Eggs. As much as we love eggs, we don’t actually tuck them in at night while singing sweet, soothing lullabies. Instead, coddling refers to a light steam or bake — just enough to set the whites.
Number 8: The name Head Cheese doesn’t sound appetizing. Gelatinous and gray, it doesn’t even look particularly appealing. But one bite of this meatloaf-like creation and you’ll be hooked. Oh, and yes — you actually do need a (pig) head for this one.
Number 7: "Angels on Horseback" is a traditional Victorian appetizer of oysters wrapped in bacon and grilled. It is little known today. But the snack's dastardly cousin, the "Devil on Horseback" (prunes or dates wrapped in bacon, pictured right) is still a common feature of English Christmas dinners.
Number 6: "Stargazey Pie" sounds rather quaint, but this Cornish dish of pilchards baked under a pastry crust won't appeal to everyone - it traditionally has fish heads poking through the crust, so they appear to be gazing up at the sky. Legend has it that the dish originates from the village of Mousehole, where a plucky fisherman called Tom Bawcock once saved his fellow villagers from starvation by braving the stormy seas to catch a record haul. The fish were baked poking out of the pies, to prove to everyone that there was fish inside.
Number 5: "Eton Mess" is believed to hail from Eton College, the traditional senior school of the aristocracy of England. To make this treat, fold sliced strawberries into broken meringue and whipped cream.
Number 4: "Cullen Skink" is a speciality from the town of Cullen on Scotlands North-East coast. It is a thick soup made from haddock, poatoes and onions. Theories as to where the word "skink" comes from differ: it may be a variation on the Scots skink, meaning soup made from shin of beef.
Number 3: "Bubble and Squeak". Once upon a time, thrifty Britons with left-over vegetabes and potatoes from a roast dinner wouldn't have even considered throwing them away - they'd have fried the remnants up to make "Bubble and Squeak". The name comes from the sizzling noise the vegetables make in the pan, though it could also adequately describe the horrified sounds your children emit next time you propose to cook it.
Number 2: "Toad in the Hole" is a dish of sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter and is said to have gained its unusual moniker because it looks like toads popping their heads from a hole (yes, I know, I can't really see it either). Can't stand the dish?
Number 1: "Spotted Dick"has long been the cause of much hilarity among schoolchildren. It is an old-fashioned steamed pudding which dates back to at least the 1800s. The "spotted" refers to the dried fruit, while "dick" may be a corruption of the word "dink" (pudding). The dish made national news in 2009, when the red-faced staff at Flintshire County Council decided to rename it the rather more polite "Spotted Richard."
The Top Twenty of weird restaurant names
Number 20: Perhaps located in Scotland?
Number 19: Across the street from Penis Biryani
Number 6: For those battling to get out of the anal phase
Number 18: Popular with two-timers
Number 16: This guy needs to start Banting...
Number 15: Where you don't want a personal touch
Number 14: Not part of the Disney Group
Number 13: Is this one in Yorkshire or Scotland?
Number 16: Probably banned in Uganda
Number 11: For diners into S & M?
Number 19: Joseph Kony sweets
Number 9: Show-off!
Number 8: The owner suffers from OCD too
Number 7: Trailer Trash
Number 6: In Wang King Street
Number 5: Where George HW Bush bought groceries
Number 4: Owned by Dirk Diggler
Number 3: A second on the lips...
Number 2: The spirit lives on...
Number 1: Famous for their patties
The Top Twenty of weird product names
Number 20: First names Oui Oui
Number 18: If the patty weighed 450g, would they call it the Anus Pounder?
Number 17: No wonder they are so grumpy!
Number 15: No way am I PAYING for it!
Number 10: They need to work on their hygiene...
Number 12: Slap-n-Tickle must be good for the appetite
Number 14: I wonder if they make them in Medium Rare?
Number 13: DIY beverage
Number 12: Must be hard to milk them...
Number 11: I for one will not touch it.
Number 10: Why? Too fatty?
Number 9: They must have gifted workers or dumb clients!
Number 8: The guys in Austria are REALLY well endowed!