Willing to Try Anything? Check Out These 10 Strangest Dishes on Earth

WARNING: These dishes are for adventurous eaters only!

Have you ever heard of Kenka, the Japanese place in the East Village that serves bull penis? Yes, you read that right. Right in the heart of Manhattan lies a restaurant famous for its, um, progressive menu and its dedication to serving up exotic delicacies. While penis may not seem particularly appetizing to westerners, it's consumed all over Asia for its purported effects on virility and its various (possibly dubious) health benefits. Still, there's a certain queasiness attached to the idea of eating an animal's member that most of us can't get past. Call it fear or call it empathy, whatever prevents most us from indulging in this dish is clearly deeply rooted in our western psyches. That said, bull penis isn't even that strange compared to some of the foods being consumed in parts unknown. With that in mind, here's a list of the ten strangest foods being served around the world today. Warning: these dishes are not for the faint of heart.

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Fried up, and served with side suace

Sticking with the theme of bull genitalia, rocky mountain oysters are an Appalachian staple made from the testicles of calves. Invented by ranchers in the Old West, these oysters are battered and deep fried and served in a manner similar to chicken tenders. They say anything tastes good if it's smothered in batter and steeped into a vat of boiling hot vegetable oil, and Rocky Mountain oysters certainly put that theory to the test.

​Tuna Eyes

Here's lookin' at you, kid

A Japanese delicacy, tuna eyes have been described as having a taste that resembles mussels and a texture similar to that of egg whites. While this dish is cheap and relatively easy to make (just boil and serve), some people have a problem making eye contact with their appetizers.

A-ping (Fried zebra tarantulas)

Not your typical street fair...

During the terrible reign of the Khmer Rouge, food supplies in Cambodia were short, and out of necessity, villagers turned to capturing and frying Thai zebra tarantulas. Fried spiders are now a mainstay of Cambodian street food, tasting like a strange combination of chicken and fish. It should be noted however, that the abdomen of these spiders often contains unhatched eggs and excrement, on top of gooey brown internal organs.

Jing Leed

Perhaps your new on-the-go snack?

Jing Leed (grasshopper) is one of the most popular snack foods in Thailand, and is usually fried and sold on the street. These little guys are packed full of protein and essential nutrients. It seems like people are eating bugs everywhere but in the US. Maybe it's time America gets with the program.

Sago Delight

Tastes like bacon?

Edible, fried worm larvae. Yum. Sago larvae is described as a having a creamy taste when eaten raw and a crispy bacon-like flavor when cooked. Never mind the fact that they look like The Very Hungry Caterpillar's cousins, these worms are a specialty in Thailand and Malaysia, although variations on Sago Delight can be found all over Southeast Asia.

Chicken Sashimi

Some think the salmonella risk is worth it

This one is hard to justify, especially considering all of the health risks associated with eating raw chicken, but chicken sashimi is huge in Japan right now. If you can push past the Salmonella risk and aren't afraid to get some horrible stomach parasite, the restaurants who serve this stuff insist it's really good. I think I'll pass on this one.

Starfish

Cooked star fish

Popular in China, and served on a stick, starfish are fried and meant to be cracked open. Diners are meant to slurp out the innards, which have consistency that's somewhere between ground beef and toothpaste. That sounds, um, appetizing.

Drunken Shrimp

Drunken shrimp soup

If you're someone who has a moral issue with boiling lobsters alive, drunken shrimp are probably not for you. This dish, common in China, is prepared by paralyzing live shrimp with ethanol, and then eating them while they're still alive. Poor little fellas.

Stink Bugs

Nutritious, and salty!

Served in Southern Africa, the stinkbug Encosternum delegorguei is spiced and salted and eaten as a delicious snack food, kind of like all-natural Andy Caps. Apparently, like a lot of the other bugs on this list, they are an extremely nutritious form of protein. This article has quickly devolved into an argument for why you should adopt a diet similar to that of a house spider.

Khash

Khash stew, served up hot


I saved the best for last. Khash is a boiled stew made from all of the parts of the cow you didn't know were food, including, but not limited to, the brain, the hoofs, the stomach, and the skull. This Middle Eastern dish is eaten from Greece to Mongolia and everywhere in between. I guess appearance isn't everything.


Alright, you've been armed with a list of foods you've never tried before. It's time to prove how adventurous of an eater you are and whether or not you've got the stomach to handle the world's strangest delicacies. Stay away from the chicken sashimi though. I'm still not convinced about that one.


Matt Clibanoff is a writer and editor based in New York City who covers music, politics, sports and pop culture. His editorial work can be found in Pop Dust, The Liberty Project, and All Things Go. His fiction has been published in Forth Magazine. Website: https://matthewdclibanoff.journoportfolio.com/ Twitter: @mattclibanoff

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If you've googled one thing during this pandemic, it is definitely: "Thai food near me."

Thai food has remained one of the most delicious and sought after takeout gems; and in New York City, specifically, there are so many delicious options that it can be overwhelming. Often unlike Chinese food, Thai food offers fresher ingredients and versatile cuisine options. Whether you want some Pad Thai or Pad See Ew, or some coconut milk-infused curry or even just some soup, Thai food is good for any occasion. But with so many options, how do you know you're getting the freshest ingredients at the best price? Here are the best spots to order take-out from, and we even broke it up by borough for you.


Manhattan: Fish Cheeks

Fish Cheeks

Reviewed by The Times as "fresh, vivid and intense," Fish Cheeks offers solid takes on traditional Thai Cuisine. Their speciality remains seafood, so their Crab Friend Rice and Coconut Crab Curry are delicious highlights. Their Tum Yum is also to die for, made with fresh galanagal, lime leaves and lemongrass.

The version [of tum yum] here hums with fresh galangal, lime leaves and lemongrass. Shrimp and knobby mushrooms simmer in a broth that gets extra body from milk, a twist I've never seen before but one I approve of. It could be spicier, but the use of bird's-eye chiles is far from shy.

Manhattan: Lan Larb

thia food

Arguably some of the best Pad Thai in the city, Lan Larb is focused mainly on the food of Thailand's northeast region. As a result, there is often a combo of meat and seafood involved in most dishes, such as the Lao Chicken Soup, which combines fresh chicken with pickled fish and a steamy brown broth. The menu will make your tastebuds whirl if you're one for experimentation, if not, their Pad Thai is iconic and filling enough on its own.

Brooklyn: Ugly Baby

Brooklyn has always been teeming with amazing Thai food joints, but Ugly Baby is the borough's most established success story. The Carrol Gardens sensation was preceded by two long gone Red Hook restaurants known for their authentic Northern Thai cuisine. With Ugly Baby, a name which comes from an ancient belief in Thailand that ugly children bring good fortune, chef Sirichai Sreparplarn had mastered his craft. The restaurant quickly gained glowing praise throughout Brooklyn and New York, and their take on Khao Soi Nuer and Kao Tod Nam Klook remain the stuff of legends.

Queens: Ayada

ayada thai

Ayada's cuisine is so good that it made a New York Times journalist cry at his table. Not out of emotion though, but out of spice. For those looking for a truly bold eating experience, this Queens Thai restaurant holds nothing back when crafting their drunken noodles or Pad Thai, but that spice is what makes it one of the best spots in the city.

Bronx: Ceetay

​While the Bronx isn't necessarily a buzzing Thai food borough, Ceetay's asian fusion cuisine is of the highest quality and will appeal to anyone desperately needing to nom on some noodles. Their sushi is amazing but their Pad Thai is packed with amazing flavor. Seasoned with onions, peppers, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, peanuts, scallions and cilantro, this Pad Thai is packed with flavors and will slam your taste buds in the best possible way.

Travel

5 Countries to Visit This Fall

As the weather starts to chill out, we're just getting warmed up to travel

It's not winter yet!

So that means, we're all about that fall travel. It's a beautiful time of year to be outside in many countries, soaking up the colorful landscapes and fresh air. Here are our picks for the top places to visit this fall.

1. Germany

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Burg Eltz Castle is a magical step back into the Middle Ages that's been here for more than 850 years.

2. Switzerland

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The red leaves in Bern are absolutely striking.

3. Italy

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Nothing like the sheer beauty of the formidable Italian alps.

4. Peru

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Machu Picchu beckons visitors from near and far this fall.

5. Mexico

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It's not too cold to skip the beach!

Everyone has heard of the murder-hotel where dark shadows creep at the edge of your vision, or the abandoned house where the furniture moves each time you leave the room.

But sometimes the places set up to capture the fun and fright of the Halloween season for paying customers can be far more horrifying than any ghost stories. These "fake" haunted houses will leave you genuinely haunted.



Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

So spoooky!

Thomas James Caldwell

Pennhurst Asylum was in operation from 1908-1987 in the small town of Spring City, Pennsylvania. While we don't have all the records of the residents' experiences there, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this building was home to true horrors. In many ways, 1908 wasn't that long ago, but in terms of mental health treatment—especially in small-town Pennsylvania—it was absolutely the dark ages. This was the time of lobotomies, straight jackets, and shock therapy. Whatever the jump scares and fake blood contribute to the fear you will feel walking through Pennhurst Asylum's aging, echoing halls, they can't come close to the deep, sinking feeling caused by the deep history of torment that has left its imprint on the very fabric of the place. Four spooky skulls out of five.

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Haunted Trap House

Like this, but less 90s

In Centreville, Maryand, in the year 1989, a group of visionaries were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What if—instead of zombies and werewolves and demons, and all the stuff out of children's nightmares—what if they filled their haunted house with the real-world nightmares that were actually infesting their city, killing their residents, and generally afflicting every corner of the entire nation. Thus, the Haunted Crack House was born. Since renamed the Haunted Trap House, it's ostensibly an educational experience on the dangers of drug use, it features simulations of overdoses, arrests, and shootings, as well as actual former convicts who are paid to draw on their real experiences to make your visit as terrifying as possible. This kind of fetishizing of human misery to capitalize on the Halloween season is as despicable as it is spooky. Four-and-a-half skulls out of five.

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McKamey Manor

He technically consented to this

A $20,000 reward? A 40-page waiver? These figures have garnered a lot of attention in recent headlines. Supposedly this is the "scariest" haunted house experience in the country. Who could resist the temptation of that once-in-a-lifetime experience, combined with the chance to win a big cash prize? Unfortunately, that is exactly what Russ McKay wants. There's a reason he's put so much work into the legal side of his operation. Rather than gassing up neutered chainsaws and chasing you around in a hockey mask, McKay has opted for producing actual, real, straight-up torture. You may not find the decorations and costumes that scary, but you will absolutely fear for your life when you consent to be water-boarded with fake blood. For being operated by a man who is clearly an unhinged psychopath, McKamey Manor ties the Haunted Traphouse, with four-and-a-half spooky skulls.

💀💀💀💀.5/5

Donald Vann's House of Horrors

Donald Vann murdered eleven people. Happens to the best of us, but it does present a problem. How do you dispose of all those bodies? Donald's solution was to open a haunted house and put his victims' decaying remains on display as props. Props to him. For eight months he prepared his fetid, malodorous horrors, before debuting on October 1st. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit his house of horrors, because he has since landed in some legal trouble—board of health, maybe?—but I'm sure for the lucky few who were able to visit during its brief tenure, and witness Vann's "psychotic smirk," I'm sure the nightmares they're left with keep on spooking.

💀💀💀💀💀/5

Every Hell House in America

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In the same vein as the Haunted Traphouse, Hell Houses are church presentations intended as educational experiences that warn kids and teens away from the path of sin. Their methods for achieving this obviously vary, but according to The Washington Post, you can generally expect the following: "A devil ushers a gay man dying of AIDS into the fiery pit. A teenager who is raped at a drug-filled rave commits suicide and also goes to hell. A young girl hemorrhaging from an abortion repents at the last minute." Awful. Truly sickening. What kind of trauma are they inflicting on these children to prop up their outdated ideologies? Six spooky skulls. Where'd that extra skull come from?? Nobody knows…

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