What you eat isn’t just what you think tastes good. According to Jennifer 8. Lee, “What you want to cook and eat is an accumulation, a function of your experiences – the people you’ve dated, what you’ve learned, where you’ve gone.” According to TED, food is a part of identity, and it’s one of the aspects of culture that’s hardest to give up due to the intrinsic memories and feelings we connect to it.
In different cultures across the world, different foods are considered normal, healthy, and traditional. Fried tarantulas are a traditional snack in Cambodia often believed to make the consumer beautiful. Many consider the national dish of Scotland to be haggis, which often consists of a sheep’s heart, lungs, and tongue boiled inside its stomach. Traditions vary as widely as cultures do, so we’ve rounded up a list of five foods considered normal in other countries that many Americans wouldn’t dare try.
Angulas (Miniature Eels)
These baby eels, known as elvers in English, are a popular dish in parts of Spain. They are about the length of your pointer finger with two pinpoint black eyes. In order to maintain the right texture, the eels must be cooked alive or immediately after they’re killed, and they’re usually combined with olive oil and garlic.
This street food in the Philippines doesn’t look – or sound – appetizing to most. Balut is a developing duck embryo, boiled alive and eaten from the shell. It’s considered a traditional hangover cure and often seasoned with chili, garlic, and vinegar.
Calf’s brains are a staple of French cuisine, and are popular in parts of Europe and the Middle East. The deep folds show through no matter how they’re cooked, which usually means deep-frying or, in Cuba, flavoring with lime and cumin.
Pig’s feet, or trotters, are high in fat and protein and used in dishes around the world. They resemble truncated hands with two immense, stubby fingers to the uninformed observer. Some recipes call for stewing them or boiling them with celery, onions, and garlic. Greens and mashed potatoes are often served with pig’s feet in the South.
A traditional Icelandic meal and delicacy, puffin heart is eaten raw, while it is still warm, after a hunter snaps the bird’s neck. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay found himself the subject of heated controversy after trying it on television.