All About Asian Food

Top Ten Most Bizarre Asian Foods: 10 Dishes you Have to See to Believe

10. Chocolate Ramen Soup

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The Japanese candy maker Lotte teamed up earlier this year with Ghana, the popular chocolate manufacturer to introduce the first ever chocolate flavored Ramen. If you've ever had Ramen noodles, you probably know there's nothing sweet about the spicy soup meal. The chocolate flavored Ghana Miso is nothing short of a bizarre combination of sweet chocolate with salty Ramen soup broth. What won't the Japanese do if it'll make for good marketing? Well, Chocolate Ramen Soup was available earlier this year in honor of Valentine's Day. Does that answer your question?  If that sounds nasty, check out these normal Ramen noodle soups.

9. Kimchi

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This spicy garnish is a traditional Korean favorite. You may be familiar with the popular side dish. You may even be wondering why this dish made the top ten most bizarre Asian foods. What you don't know about kimchi is that the spicy cabbage you're eating carries with it a unique zesty quality due in part to long periods of fermentation. That's right, kimchi is rotten cabbage. And any rotting dish that has managed to become as popular as kimchi makes our list.

8. Quail Egg and Roe Sushi

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You might have tried quail at a gourmet restaurant. Maybe you even had the opportunity to try this smaller bird's egg cooked once or twice. But have you ever had one raw, wrapped in seaweed, and resting on a bed of raw flying fish roe? It's unlikely you'll see this on the menu at your local sushi restaurant, but it's likely to be available. If you're an old hat to Japanese sushi and you're feeling adventurous, request raw quail eggs the next time you visit you're nearby sushi bar.

7. Octopus Testicles

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Alec Baldwin's Schweddy Balls have nothing on these fried Japanese delicacies. Taboyaki is deep fried in batter and consumed at some of Japan's most prominent national festivals. Don't let their donut appearance fool you: these balls are filled with fish shavings, ginger and - of course - octopus testicles.

6. Bird's Nest Soup

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This Chinese soup's broth is literally made from the nests of Swiftlet birds. If you think that sounds odd, what makes this soup bizarre is the fact that Swiftlet's make their nest almost entirely out of their own sticky saliva. Anyone for more saliva soup?

5. Durian

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Dubbed the 'king of fruits' in Asia, Durian is the most pungent fruit you will ever encounter. It's infamous smell is notorious to foreigners, and this unpopular smell has lead to the fruit king's banishment from Asian hotels and public places. Durian's smell has been likened to raw sewage. Yummy! Maybe mother nature had a deeper meaning behind making Durian's exterior shell spiked like a porcupine.

4. Sea Cucumber

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Remember those sticky slimy sea critters you encountered on your grade school field trips to the aquarium? Well, the Japanese have been eating this oblong shaped gelatinous blob of an animal for centuries. If the texture and the look aren't enough to have you running for the hills, considering the sea cucumber's anatomy is essentially one giant gonad surely will!

3. Duck Embryo

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What's with Asia and its egg delicacies? Full of embryonic goodness! Served still in its shell and known as Khai Luk in Laos this dish is the innards of a nearly mature duck or chicken embryo. Mostly available through Vietnamese street vendors, Balut is just as bizarre looking as its name suggests.

2. One Hundred Year Old Egg

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This Chinese cuisine is made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a unique clay mix for months at a time. The process makes the egg yolk turn black, and is supposed to enhance the flavor of the surrounding egg white, which becomes clear and gooey. Whatever the change may be, century egg's are yet another bizarre Asian spin on a food we all grew believing came scrambled, fried or poached.

1. Stinky Tofu

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Originally from Taiwan, stinky tofu is also a popular cuisine in China and Indonesia. What makes this fermented tofu dish top our list of bizarre Asian foods? Simply put, stinky tofu is one of the most pungent smelling, uniquely tasting foods anyone encounters. Even the native Taiwanese have mixed feelings about their regional tofu based cuisine. And, hey, if Andrew Zimmern - the host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods series - can't even stomach the stuff, you know it's truly one of a kind.  Stinky Tofu may be the most disgusting smelling food on the planet, but don't let it stop you from checking out these healthy Tofu Shirataki Noodle products.

22 Comments

aiko said:

Wow, most of these look really nasty! I've had takoyaki before, though, and it's made with pieces of octopus legs - NOT testicles! I'm surprised natto isn't on this list... it's stinky, slimy, and made of rotten soybeans.

Megalomegalodon said:

Balut is from the Philippines, not Vietnam.

Cocoazilla said:

OK the duck embryo thing is truly horrifying. Chocolate ramen is OK though!

melon said:

its octopus TENTICLES, not testicles. and its TAKOYAKI, not taboyaki. Get your facts right before attempting to post anything.

Ora said:

Geeze... Read the Wiki article you link to at least.
"Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼 ?) (literally fried or baked octopus) is a popular Japanese dumpling made of batter, diced or whole baby octopus..."
It's not much of a delicacy at all either. It's street food.

jojo said:

obviousl this is an american writing for this website. taboyaki isn't a delicacy at all. what's wrong with you? have ever even been to asia? you know, just because you have an asian grocery online doesn't mean you know anything about the foods there...which is more than apparent that you don't.

although that sea cucmber thing is pretty sick...the chocoalte ramen doesn't sound too bad, though. sort of like Wendy's french fries dipped in a Wendy's Chocolate Frosty.

Allyson said:

Well, I don't have to tell you what you guys had wrong in there. My fellow commenters have done the job.

I would say kimchi fried rice is a little more odd than kimchi as fermented foods aren't extraordinary.

ショウガ said:

I appeciate the people who took care of the issue with the Takoyaki. I read that and was horrified by the lack of knowledge presented. Takoyaki is wonderful and can be found easily, just by walking down the street!

And I think Kimchi is super and Kimchi Okonomiyaki. Mmmm.

Kylian said:

Quail Egg and Roe is called Tamago!!!
GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT!

Sophia said:

I tryed the Duck Embryo before, and it tasted pretty good :).

Kat said:

taboyaki? You mean Takoyaki? That one isn't right
:(

sNip said:

I guess, if you realize how expensive bird nests are, you'll definitely go for a tiny spoon of sip..and then you'll get the reason why it's one of Asians delicacies..and by the way, despite it's shocking source (bird's saliva), it's not a cursed thing because it's full of nutrition.

Sea cucumber..it's one of the many wonders of the sea..sure it's slimy, but you'll eat it just fine if you don't have bad thoughts, you'll enjoy the soft elastic texture with the rich flavor of the creature cooked.

Stingky Tofu???Maybe because it's made by fermenting soy beans..but the stench is only present at the raw state of the tofu..once you cook it (if you can cook it properly), you'll get a decent taste of the tofu.

addychan said:

with regards to the bizarre foods reference, Andrew was able to eat the street shop version of the stinky tofu,enjoyed it even. It was the freshly (recently pulled out of tub) produced stinky tofu that did him in. on the Balut, its not the innards you eat but the duck itself once the egg is approx. 17 days old. The sea cucumber isn't all one gonad, but has a single BRANCHED gonad. As for the ghana ramen, its not so hard to belive because chocolate was used in alot of different dishes long before it was processed into a sweet. Durian is delicous regardless of the smell.

Kevin said:

Lotte is a Japanese chocolate company. It is also the name of an Asia store in N. VA.

rene said:

most of this stuff was on bizarre foods

Anonymous said:

"Durian's smell has been likened to raw sewage...Maybe mother nature had a deeper meaning behind making Durian's exterior shell spiked like a porcupine."

AJ said:

First off, Kimchi is delicious. So is Durian. If you can get past the appearance/smell of something, and try it, you would be amazed at the taste. Thats why "dont knock it until you try it" is a cliche.

AJ

asdfou said:

@Kylian lol, tamago (卵) is just the Japanese word for egg. It doesn't mean that particular dish. ^^

Branko said:

This article really, really, really looks to be made by a US american who tends to only eat radiactive McDonald's hamburguers. First of all, octopus is not a mammal, therefore it has got NO TESTICLES. Duh! Takoyaki is just flour dough balls with octopus inside. Duh! And also, you should know what's the difference between fermented food and rotten food. Rotten food is a food that stinks so much and if you'd eat it, you'd go to the hospital due to an intoxication. Fermented food is a food, that has passed through a certain process to keep it edible during a long period of time. Pickled cucumber and german sour cabbage are kinds of fermented food ;-) DUH! So, kimchi is not rotten cabbage. Eat rotten cabbage and you'd go to the hospital. Kimchi is fermented, EXTREMELY HEALTHY fermented cabbage.

To the author of this article, please take an interoceanic plane and throw yourself off! :-P

Rebecca said:

Fully agree with Snip and Branko.

I love Takoyaki and in NY, there are some restaurants sell it. Smell good and taste good.
Stinky tofu and 100-year old eggs are not stinky at all unless you are standing there and watching and smell the whole process. I love deep-fried stinky tofu with Kimchi in it.
Quail Egg and Roe Sushi are my favorite order everytime when I eat in a Japanese Restaurant.

Bird Nest soup - excellent! Unfortunately, I can't afford to have one every week.

However, some kimchi stews and some types of cheeses do scare me away.

Rachel Ai said:

Unbelievable!!!! Octopus don't even have balls, Balut is Phillipino NOT Japanese!! Americans will twist and lie and say anything to entertain themselves! I'm suprised CATS weren't on the list beucase you know how all Asians eat those right? Psshhh morons.

Anonymous said:

eeeewwwwww

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