Find out how much you know about these strange foods! Quiz


Carolyn Brooks Fleming

4 Min Quiz

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About This Quiz

Test your knowledge of exotic cuisine!

The Sardinian specialty known as casu marzu is cheese with what special addition?

Casu marzu is Italian pecorino cheese allowed to rot and become a breeding ground for live maggots. This cheese is actually illegal in most places, but a black market exists.


What is hakarl?

Icelanders who enjoy hakarl, which is fermented and dried Greenlandic shark, say it tastes sweet and nutty. It smells like rotten cheese and ammonia. Greenlandic shark can only be eaten when it is properly prepared, because the fresh meat is poisonous.


What is another term for variety meats?

The term "offal" may come from Middle Dutch words referring to a variety of meats which fall off the butcher's block. Offal includes heart, liver, tongue, lung, tail, head, feet, giblets, and other interesting bits.


What Korean delicacy is liable to squirm right off of your plate?

Sannakji is fresh octopus tentacles, chopped and served raw. Diners are advised to dip the tentacles in sesame oil and chew them well, to prevent suction cups on the tentacles from catching hold anywhere in your digestive tract.


In what country are charred coconut tree grubs popular?

People in Peru enjoy these grubs, called suri, either grilled on skewers or fried. Or sometimes they eat the grubs live.


What is a Carolina Reaper?

As of 2013, the Carolina Reaper is considered to be the world's hottest chile. It scores up to 2,200,000 Scoville heat units. Compare this with the Moruga Scorpion at 2,009,231 SHU, the well-known Ghost Pepper at 1,041,427 SHU, or the mild-mannered ancho chile at only 2,000 SHU.


Stink heads are a delicacy for which native culture?

Stink heads are actually fermented salmon heads. Native Alaskans bury them in the ground, put them in barrels, or allow them to decay in plastic containers. The dish is well loved, even though the aftermath sometimes includes botulism.


In Mexico, if you order tacos de sesos, what will you be served?

Tacos de sesos are made with cow brains. They are reportedly delicous, but high in cholesterol.


Who is the creator and host of several "Bizarre Foods" shows on the Travel Channel?

Andrew Zimmern has won multiple James Beard Awards. Over the years he has sampled sea slugs, tarantulas, fermented skate, and rectum sausage.


Airag is the fermented milk of what animal?

Airag, also known as kumis, is made from fermented horse milk. It's popular in Mongolia, probably because it has a higher alcohol content than beer.


Which fruit takes up to a year to ripen, plus it's toxic if eaten unripe?

Other than the fruit, all parts of the Monstera deliciosa plant are poisonous. The scaly outer part of the fruit resembles an ear of corn.


What organ meat, banned in the U.S., is an important part of the Scottish national dish, haggis?

It's illegal to serve lung in the U.S. because the meat may carry tuberculosis or other pulmonary disease. Haggis is a combo of meat (lung or other meat), oatmeal, onion, and spices, cooked in a sheep's stomach or other casing. It's often served with bashed neeps and mashed tatties - turnips and potatoes.


What is the special power of miracle fruit?

Miracle fruit contains a protein, miraculin, that affects sweetness receptors on the tongue. Miraculin can be consumed directly from the fruit or in convenient tablet form. Lemons don't have to be puckery any more!


What ingredients are combined to create black pudding?

To make black pudding, blood, fat and oatmeal are combined, stuffed into a casing, then cooked like sausage. The pudding can be served in slices or crumbled and used as a stuffing or soup garnish. It's common in Great Britain and parts of Europe.


What is honeycomb tripe?

The stomach lining of some animals, including cow, actually resembles a honeycomb - thus the name. Honeycomb tripe is often used in soup, including Turkish iskembe corbasi and Latin mondongo.


What prep is necessary to make tarantulas edible?

The hairs on a tarantula are an irritant that will cause gastric distress. Cambodians enjoy deep-fried tarantulas, served with garlic and chiles.


In Kazakhstan, what part of an animal is eaten to gain wisdom?

Eyes are eaten to gain wisdom, ears are eaten to improve listening, and tongue is eaten to make a person more expressive.


What are Rocky Mountain Oysters?

This fried testicle dish is served in the U.S. and Canada. Rocky Mountain Oysters can be made with the testicles of buffalo, bull calf, sheep, or goat.


Which fruit gets its name from a Malay word that means "hairy"?

Rambutan tastes like grapes. It is usually eaten raw, but sometimes stewed with sugar and cloves.


What is tetrodotoxin?

Licensed fugu chefs remove the tetrodotoxin before serving fugu, a type of puffer fish served in high-end Japanese restaurants. Even though tetrodotoxin can cause death, some true thrill-seekers enjoy a trace of the venom in their fugu for a tingle on the tongue.


Bosintang, a soup served in North and South Korea, is made with the meat of what animal?

Nureongi are dogs raised for human consumption in Korea, so people are not eating their family pets. Bosintang, or "invigorating soup," is flavored with green onion and an herb called perilla. It's often eaten on the three hottest days of summer.


Which Japanese dish is the masculine equivalent of eating caviar?

Shirako is the sperm sack of the male codfish, so it's the macho equivalent of eating caviar, or eggs harvested from female fish. Shirako is served either cooked or raw.


In Poland, czernina is made to use up which remnant of a slaughtered duck or goose?

Czernina is a soup made with duck or goose blood, combined with dried fruits and vinegar. The vinegar prevents the blood from clotting - thank goodness. Traditionally, Polish parents of a daughter would serve czernina to unsuccessful suitors.


The meat of what animal is used to make cuy, a delicacy in the Andes?

These guinea pigs, part of the rodent family, are raised in captivity on a diet of grass and alfalfa. They are grilled, roasted, or fried, and they're considered to be an environmentally-friendly alternative to beef.


Which fruit is known in Southeast Asia as the "king of fruits"?

Although fans of durian say it is custardy with an almond flavor, many other people won't get close enough to find out. The fruit reportedly smells like gym socks or rotting onions.


What is the Russian dish known as holodets?

Holodets, a type of aspic, is often served at the new year in Ukraine. It is made by cooking down pork parts that have cartilage, such as feet or ears, then mincing the meat and refrigerating it in the broth until it jellies.


What Scottish beverage is made from a secret recipe with 32 flavors?

The recipe was set in 1901, and only three people at a time know all of the ingredients. The beverage was originally called Barr's Iron Brew. Owners were forced to change the name in the 1940s because the beverage isn't technically brewed.


What unique soup is named for its main ingredient, which contains spittle?

The nests used to make soup are created by Southeast Asian birds called swiftlets. They use their saliva, which dries and hardens, to make their nests.


What is placentophagy?

The placenta has vitamins and nutrients, plus some experts believe it protects mothers from postpartum depression. Placenta can be consumed as a soup or a shake, or it can be made into capsules for longer-term consumption.


What are chitterlings?

The small intestine is a great source of protein. It's popular in African-American cuisine. Chitterlings is sometimes spelled and pronounced as chitlins.


What is unusual about the production process of kopi luwak, the world's most expensive coffee?

In the wild, civets eat not only coffee berries, but also insects, reptiles, and other fruits. Sadly, in captivity the civets are sometimes forced to eat only coffee berries and live in cramped quarters.


Which West African fruit is also known as vegetable brain?

Ackee is sometimes called vegetable brain because the edible bits resemble yellowish brains. It has been imported and cultivated in Jamaica, Haiti, and Cuba, and comes with a risk of deadly Jamaican Vomiting Sickness.


What is a Candwich?

Candwiches are available in peanut butter and jelly or BBQ chicken.


What is the Japanese dish known as basashi?

Much of the horse meat consumed in Japan - particularly on the island of Kyushu - comes from Canada, where eating horse meat is considered taboo. Basashi is usually served very cold and dipped in soy sauce.


What is a turducken?

Turducken is a Cajun Thanksgiving dish on steroids, so to speak. A turkey is deboned (except for the wings and legs) and laid flat. A layer of stuffing is added, then the turkey is topped with a deboned duck, another layer of stuffing, a deboned chicken, and a final layer of stuffing. The whole thing is then rolled up into a basic turkey shape and roasted. Variations include the gooducken (goose, duck, chicken), turbaconducken (a turducken wrapped in bacon), goochiphetridge (goose, chicken, pheasant, partridge), and quaducant (quail, duck, pheasant).


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