The World’s Grossest Delicacies

silkworm larvae

What are the World’s Grossest Delicacies?

Every culture is proud of their traditional dishes: Peru has ceviche; Spain has paella and Thailand has pad thai. While these delicacies may make your mouth water just thinking about them, other countries prepare such unusual delicacies that they could make you lose their lunch. While I am a food lover and adore trying new food as I travel, some foods I just can’t bring myself to taste. The following list details the grossest delicacies from around the world.

Grossest Delicacies – Balut

Where: Philippines

This delicacy found in South East Asia, particularly in the Philippines, is a half developed duck egg inside a fertilized egg. Peel back the shell and you will find the soft boiled eggy interior holding the body of a small chick –complete with small bones, feathers and beak – some chicks are more developed than others. This delicacy is available on almost every street corner in the Philippines and is eaten with a touch of salt and occasionally vinegar. And yes, you are supposed to eat the entire chick- including the feathers.


Grossest Delicacies – Pacha

Where: Iraq

This Iraqi delicacy comes in the form of a boiled sheep head. Traditional pacha is served in a nice big soup, with the entire sheep head thrown in, along with the stomach and some other random parts of sheep meat for good measure. The grossness of the soup slowly reveals itself with each bite you take; the more eaten of the head means that more of the skull is exposed. Scarily, once finished devouring the sheep head, a tooth filled grin is staring back at you.

Grossest Delicacies – Fruit Bat Soup

Where: Palau

No one is sure where this delicacy came from but it is posited that the Micronesians’ were inspired by the cooking of lobster – throwing a big crustacean into a pot of boiling water.  Instead of lobster, they use live fruit bats which they immerse in boiling water, cooked with coconut milk, ginger and local spices which is then boiled for several hours. If you are lucky, you may be able to pick your bat before its preparation. While some claim the soup is tasty, it would be hard to get over dealing with the fur, innards and a large bat staring up at you.

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Grossest Delicacies – Casu Marzu

Where: Sardinia

This Sardinian cheese specialty is sheep milk cheese that has been deliberately infested by a Piophilia casei or “maggot cheese”. Once the maggots hatch in the cheese they squirm through the cheese giving off enzymes that produce a pungent smell, creamy texture and rotten taste. This surely is the most disgusting cheese in the world as it reeks of rottenness.  The tradition of this rotten cheese goes back centuries and is considered a process of finely metered fermentation. The translucent larvae are able to jump 6 inches in the air making it one of the only cheeses that require eye protection. While this cheese practice is exclusively available in Sardinia, it is considered illegal, as it does not really jive with sanitation mores. However, don’t let that stop you from scooping up some black market Casu Marzu on your Italian adventures.

gift 10 casu marzu

Grossest Delicacies - Escamoles

Where: Mexico

Otherwise known as ant caviar, this delicacy is made from the eggs of the giant Liometopum black ant, which is collected from colonies harvested on the mague and agave plants. The ants must be collected just before the larvae turn into ants. Despite the discomfort of eating the escamoles, collecting them is equally rough as these ants are highly venomous and are quick to bite their captors. Supposedly they have the consistency of cottage cheese and are most commonly eaten with tacos.

A Taco of Escamoles (ant eggs)

Happy Eating! What do you think the world’s grossest delicacies are – have you tried them or merely steered clear?

Backpacking Bex