Most Exotic Dishes in the World

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Chicken Feet is considered a delicacy in many parts of Asia

Food is a daily part of human life. Whether it be sweet, salty, spicy, sour, or more, the taste or texture of a dish can determine if it’s delicious or repulsive. This can go for any meal, even if it may not seem appealing at first glance. There are many different varieties of foods, but some may have to be a bit more adventurous than others to try certain ones out. Whether it be rotten sharks, chicken feet, or 100-year-old eggs, anything can taste delicious, no matter how odd it seems. What may seem disgusting in one country could be a special delicacy in another. Those with open minds and large appetites are willing to try anything, while picky eaters usually eat the foods they’re most comfortable with. Whatever the case, one shouldn’t be too quick to judge a food by its look, smell, or name, as it may turn out to be delicious. 

One of China’s finest food delicacies, the 100-year-old egg, or the century egg, from Hong Kong, is an interesting case. Despite its name, the egg itself is not 100 years old. In fact, this egg, whether it be a duck egg, quail egg, or chicken egg, is prepared through months of preservation, causing it to be rotten. Not only that, but it was preserved in a mixture of salt, clay, wood ash, and quicklime. Because of this process, the outer egg white becomes dark brown or black and becomes gelatinous, while the inner egg yolk turns dark green. This dish can be served with soy sauce as an appetizer or added to congee, a type of rice porridge. Regardless of how the dish is made and numerous misconceptions, century eggs are free of bacteria or mold and are safe to eat if made correctly. 

Though the idea may seem strange to some, eating chicken feet is quite popular in Asia, South America, and Africa. Chicken feet can be served with broths, soups, or stews. Some superstitions believe that eating this dish can make one beautiful, and it’s partly true. This dish is rich in collagen, or a protein with many benefits. Collagen not only helps with healthier and younger-looking skin, but it also contains lots of calcium and protein, strengthens blood vessels, reduces pain and swelling, and many more. However, the protein and its supplements are expensive, so eating chicken feet is a great alternative source for its benefits.

The national dish of Iceland, hakarl, may not be the ideal dish for many. A type of dried shark meat fermented throughout the course of four to six months, hakarl isn’t very pleasant. The putrid smell of the meat is strong, and the taste isn’t much better. However, the dish is a part of Iceland’s history and tradition. Centuries ago, when the first Icelandic settlers resided on the island, the options for food were limited. They found the Greenland shark–a perfect source for food. However, Greenland shark meat is toxic to humans, but the Icelandic people found a solution: they made the meat edible through a method of preservation and purification, which hasn’t been changed or used since the Viking times. The dead shark is beheaded, and the meat is fermented and buried in the sand. After the process is complete, the shark is cut into strips to be hung and dried. According to hakarl makers, one can tell if the meat is ready by its smell, which is similar to rancid cheese. There are two varieties of hakarl: Skyrhakarl, lighter, softer meat from the body, and glerhakarl, reddish chewy meat from the belly. Hakarl can be found in most Icelandic stores and is traditionally eaten at Porrablot, a celebration in winter. 

Different cultures have their own unique dishes that are a part of their tradition. No matter how a food looks, one shouldn’t be too quick to judge, as looks or smells don’t always equal taste. However, everyone has their own preferences in foods, so some dishes may not appeal as much as others. No matter how it’s prepared, any food can taste delicious, even these exotic dishes!