You haven’t lived until you’ve had a good fried-brain sandwich.
Yeah, the above sounds like a quote straight from Rose McIver’s character, Liv, on “iZombie”, but we’re being serious. Well, half serious. (Are we ever completely serious on this blog?) Sure, most of us are inclined to grab a slice of za, grill a hot dog, or cop a pack of nugs from McD’s, but there’s a wide world of crazy ass food out there, both in America and abroad. And it’s all calling to you.
We’re here to educate you on some of the weirdest.
You may think some of these foods will actually kill you… but no worries! We promise they’re all *mostly* safe for consumption. With that totally reassuring assertion out of the way, let’s roll!
1. Fried-brain Sandwich | Location: St. Louis, Missouri
The name isn’t a misnomer… it’s exactly what it sounds like. Arising out of St. Louis in the late 1880s, some clever cat decided it would be tasty to throw thinly-sliced fried slabs of cow brains on toast. Bam! The fried-brain sandwich was born.
Demand has slowed due to concerns over mad cow disease, although the Ohio River valley area still reportedly serves them regularly on burger buns. However, many establishments have made the switch to pig brains.
2. Snake Wine | Location: Southeast Asia
You need something to wash down that fried brain, and what better than something called snake wine?
This fermented liquid treat is made either by submerging a snake in rice wine or directly spraying snake fluids (blood, etc.) into alcohol. Herbs and spices are often plopped in there to add to that awesome flavor, which apparently tastes like wine and “fishy chicken.” Chinese practitioners have long believed snakes possess restorative properties, though, so perhaps we shouldn’t poke fun.
3. Fried Spiders | Location: Cambodia
Spiders (often tarantulas) are fried up and occasionally served with a festive party dip. Perfect for your next pre-game/tailgating event!
4. Escamoles | Location: Mexico
Often referred to as “Mexican caviar” or “insect caviar,” escamoles refer to ant larvae pulled from agave plant roots. Squishy and soft, these eggs are typically cooked up with chili and onions and then served within salsa or on tacos. Don’t be rude—it’s considered a delicacy. Eat up!
5. Sannakji | Location: Korea
Like sushi? Then you should embrace Sannakji. A talented chef will dismember an octopus in front of you, season it with sesame oil, and send it your way completely raw. If it’s still moving, don’t be alarmed: it’s supposed to be like that. Really.
6. Cockscombs | Location: France, Italy
Almost everybody likes chicken. And that red, goofy-looking growth on the top of their heads? Apparently, you can eat that, too.
Cockscombs were traditionally used as garnishes in French cuisine. Further, the Italians utilized them in an old recipe, Cimabella con cibreo, which combined them with chicken eggs and livers in a sauce. This was also paired with ricotta cheese and potato, which really doesn’t sound half bad.
7. Rocky Mountain Oysters
You’ve likely heard of them, but some of you may not be aware that “Rocky Mountain Oysters” aren’t oysters at all. Not even close.
Also known as “prairie oysters” to our northern neighbors in Canada, Rocky Mountain Oysters are, in fact, a dish full of bull, sheep, or pig testicles. As in, actual animal balls. However, they’re usually fried, as seen above, and look completely inoffensive. Pair with some COCKtail sauce, and bon appétit! (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)