Earlier today, I was craving some grasshoppers. No, I’m not pregnant but I’ll admit that is a weird sentence that I never expected to write out. So one time, I was in Puebla, Mexico when this adorable old lady selling not-so-adorable snacks coaxed me into trying a sample of her wares. She gave me a small bag of chapulines seasoned in some garlic and chili. It was like heaven in a bag. Who would have thought that nearly a year later, I would be Googling where to find grasshoppers near me.
Maybe there was some slow-release nicotine in those grasshoppers because all of a sudden I am addicted and can’t get it out of my mind. Out of everything on the following list, the chapulines are by far my favorite.
As far as weird food goes, this is relatively tame. I mean, it’s a fixture in French cuisine. I’ve had escargot a few times but usually, it’s prepared with so much other stuff that you can’t even really get a feel for what the snail tastes like. You get the texture which is slimy and gross and chewy, but not nearly as rancid as one would expect.
Snails are on here because while in the Philippines, we would eat these weird snails all the time. They weren’t ever prepared in a dish really. We’d just suck them out of their shells. They were greenish-blue and slimy, too. However, they aren’t even remotely close to the grossest things I’ve eaten in the Philippines. Not even remotely close.
Ugh, I’m so hungry right now. What I wouldn’t do for a bag of that crunchy, high-protein, salty, crunchy, spicy snack in my mouth.
Like BROOOO, look at all of that. Mexico really needs to share the love and send some of that over here. Honestly, how are there even that many grasshoppers in the world. That’s like a million grasshoppers alone in just one corner stand in Oaxaca. I have so many questions about how they even get them all together. Like is it someone’s job to just capture thousands of grasshoppers a day? Or are there sneaky grasshopper traps hidden in the Mexican countryside to wrangle them all?
Alright moving on because the longer I look at that picture the more my stomach rumbles.
8. Cow Brain
Ahh, here we go. Something disgusting to help me lose my appetite. So in the Philippines, we have this soup called Soup Number 5. I don’t know why it is called that but my theory is they put all the good stuff in soups number 1 through 4 and Soup Number 5 gets the rejects. I personally don’t want to know what they put in Soup Number 6.
Cow brain. Disgusting right? I would talk about it but you don’t even know the half of it. Soup number five only gets worse, and I hate myself for enjoying it.
Okay, another thing just came to mind so I’m taking off one of the Soup #5 ingredients that was further up along this list. Cow’s balls. They honestly aren’t too bad considering that you can get them in the U.S. under the strange euphemism of Rocky Mountain Oysters. But anyway, read further along to find out the final mystery ingredient of Soup #5.
7. Pig Intestines
Okay, so this isn’t the mystery ingredient of Soup #5 but it’s making me think that maybe us Filipinos eat too much weird shit. This is actually one of my favorite things to eat in the Philippines, especially barbecued. They wind it up and put it on a stick and you eat it like some demented flesh lollipop. We call it isaw if you want to look it up on Google since I’ve never actually thought to ever take a picture of it. It also tastes great with banana ketchup, a Filipino condiment that seems normal by all of the other standards on this list.
I don’t really remember what this tastes like, just that I couldn’t get it out of my teeth for forever. It’s crunchy and will break apart and find its way into the tiniest crevasses of your mouth and never leave. So when you’re on Khao San Road on a night out, stay away from the scorpions.
These aren’t much better. They pretty much tasted the same as scorpions but they were slightly larger and a lot more unsettling. The carapace of the spider is maybe a tad crunchier than the scorpion’s but other than that, really no noticeable difference. I have no idea why I ate this but a lot of weird stuff happens in Bangkok. The small microcosm of Khao San Road will have the ignorant backpacker believe that Thai people just eat bugs for sustenance. Seriously though, Bangkok has some of the best food I’ve ever had in the world and people really be out here eating spiders.
And we’re back to the Philippines! I initially didn’t put this on here because I thought it was just meat in pork blood (totally normal I know) but when I googled it, it said “offals” in pork blood. I had no idea what offals are, but despite the similarity in sound, I can probably guess that it is not very similar to waffles. Except maybe the blue kind.
The three definitions I found for offals?
the entrails and internal organs of an animal used as food.
Disgusting but I’m sure I’ve had worse.
refuse or waste material.
decomposing animal flesh.
3. Cow’s Dick
And here we have it. The final mystery ingredient of Soup Number 5. Apparently, eating Soup #5 is believed to have aphrodisiac properties. I don’t know about y’all, but eating cow penis, cow balls, and cow brain does not make me horny in the slightest.
Chapulines on the other hand…. hnnnnggggg.
Seriously though, y’all need to stop eating all those weird bugs that they sell on Khao San Road. All of us would be better off just not seeing bowlfuls of maggots on our nights out. And I can’t imagine what the poor locals have to go through trying to scrape together all of these bugs in the first place. I know most of them know that it’s a quick cash grab from the curious tourist, but knowing how sweet Thai ladies are, I can just imagine a few of them working really hard just so they can feed the farangs who strangely can’t get enough of eating bugs.
You already knew this list was going to feature something from the Philippines at the top spot. Growing up in the Philippines as a kid, I can still hear the local balut vendor screaming outside my grandparents’ house.
I thought nothing of it eating it then, but now, yikes. My white vegetarian friend came to visit my hometown in the Philippines with me earlier this year and out of all of the weird plates we devoured in front of her, balut might have been the one that crossed the line.
On the outside, balut looks just like an egg. It is an egg. But unlike the chicken eggs you get from the supermarket, it is an egg with an embryo developing inside it. So you don’t get just the yolk. You get the baby duck. I grimace at the thought of it now, and even looking it up on Google just now made me gag. The limp baby duck is sad enough, but the veiny yolk and slimy goo are the icing on the (clearly figurative) cake.
You drink the soupy goo, eat the duck whole, and then take bites off of the hardened other stuff. It is one of the Philippines’ most popular street foods and also one of its most famous. It’s pretty clear to see why this common thing I grew up with has captured the intrigue of foodie daredevils worldwide.
Philippine food is still my favorite in the entire world. Mostly because we have so many dishes that some of them are bound to be good. If it exists, a Filipino has probably tried to put it in a soup.