By now, Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods has become a cultural powerhouse. The Travel Channel show has done so much to not only introduce us to foods that we never realized existed, it’s also introduced us to cultures we didn’t know much about either. Zimmern is a cultural ambassador of the best kind, and in every episode he demonstrates how food can bring us together.
There’s really no such thing as a “bizarre” food; our bizarre can be another man’s commonplace, and vice versa. But there are some foods that he’s showcased that are completely outside of the traditional American comfort zone, ones that you might be surprised to learn you can actually find in the United States if you look hard enough. Foods like haggis (sheep innards) and hakarl (fermented shark) are illegal in the United States, but these aren’t. happy hunting!
Chapulines are grasshoppers, and are a popular snack and taco filling in Mexico. You won’t find them at many markets like you do in Mexico, but there are a handful of restaurants that import them from Oaxaca and serve them on tacos, like New York’s Tolocahe.
Blood sausage is common all around the world, from Argentina to Spain. You’ll find morcilla at many Spanish restaurants, blood pudding at some English pubs, and boudin at some French and Cajun eateries.
An entire roasted head is a delicacy anywhere nose-to-tail cooking is commonplace, which is to say most of the world. While you’re more than welcome to slow roast a pig’s head of your own, there are some restaurants that will actually serve you an entire one, including The Cannibal in New York. Lamb’s head is also a popular taco filling in Mexico.
Ever eat anything that’s still moving? This Asian delicacy isn’t easy to find at American restaurants, but if you call ahead some may be able to procure it for you. In New York, Korean restaurant Sik Gaek will serve you octopus tentacles that are still squirming, but you’ll have to call in advance.
If you’re looking to eat brains, your best bet is to visit taquerias. Called sesos, these usually come from veal, and are rich and creamy, with not too much in the way of actual flavor.