In the field of adventurous eating, those seeking flavor-packed thrills are often ready and willing to sample the world's most exotic cultural delicacies and outrageous ingredients (Photo Credit: Flickr / williamneuheisel).
However, there are some foods out there that push those with even the most fearless palates to the outer limits of their culinary comfort zones. Considered delicacies in some parts of the world, these dishes prey on the phobias of the squeamish and even make some courageous eaters cringe.
The Daily Meal's list of the world's most out-there foods, which includes insects, rotten fish, rodents, genitals, venom, placenta, and semen, will leave both apprehensive and audacious eaters alike chewing over the same question: you eat what?
"Some of the craziest food in the world is so arcane or so seldom seen that it's almost like a cult of people who have eaten them," said Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel series Bizarre Foods America, in an interview with The Daily Meal.
With a dose of culinary courage, however, many of these disturbing delights can be appreciated by anyone with a preference for acquired tastes.
Those prepared to shatter the boundary between savory and sickening have been warned. Dine only if you dare.
- Clare Sheehan, The Daily Meal
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Capture a bat, chuck it live into a vat of boiling water, season it with spices, and mash it into paste to create this potentially harmful dish (bats often carry many diseases). Andrew Zimmern of Travel Channel's Bizarre Food America tried the hard-to-locate treat in the hills outside Chang Mai in the heart of the golden triangle in Thailand. Click here to see The One Food Andrew Zimmern Doesn't Like Photo Credit: © toptenz.net
Spleen sandwiches are a savory favorite for diners circuiting the Sicilian street food scene. This sandwich is stuffed with lemon, caciocavallo cheese, and veal spleen meat that has been deep-fried in lard. The flavor is said to taste similar to calf liver with a chewier texture. You can taste pani ca' meusa for yourself at Pani Ca' Meusa Porta Carbone in Palermo, Sicily or click here to learn more about eating spleen sandwiches in Palermo. Click here to see 10 Chain Restaurant Menu Items You Must Try Photo Credit: © Wiki / Mangus-Manske
Squirrel brains are a regional delicacy in Appalachian regions in Kentucky. Popular recipes include scrambling squirrel brains with eggs or including the meat in a stew known as burgoo. In recent years, however, doctors have warned against squirrel consumption because of the possibility that squirrels carry a variant of fatal mad cow disease. Click here to see 10 Fast-Food Items You Must Eat Before You Die Photo Credit: © Flickr / looli
A delicacy of Cambodia, fried tarantulas are consumed primarily in towns such as Skuon, where they are sold in stalls at food markets. Crispy tarantulas with lime and kampot black pepper dip is served at Friends in Phnom Penh. Locals began eating the eight-legged creatures in order to stave off famine during the reign of Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. These edible spiders are fried in oil and contain gooey insides with a crunchy exterior. Click here to see Which US Airlines Still Offer Free Amenities Photo Credit: © Wiki / -Paxse
Most people enjoy aged cheese, but casu marzu tests the palates of all dairy connoisseurs. Coming from Sardinia in Italy, casu marzu is rotten sheep's milk cheese decomposed within the pecorino rind. The kicker? The cheese contains live insect larvae. The larvae are added to the cheese to aid in the fermentation process, and the result is a cheese with a very soft, sometimes liquified, texture that can contain thousands of hungry maggots. Caution should be taken when ingesting casu marzu, as the larvae are notorious for launching up to 6 inches into the air when disturbed. As a result of health and hygiene regulations, the selling of casu marzu was made illegal in the European Union, though it's still available on the black market. Click here to see Where to Get Deep-Dish Pizza in Chicago Photo Credit: © Wiki / BetacommandBot
Hakarl is an Iceland delicacy that consists of cured rotted meat from the body of a Greenland or basking shark. The Greenland shark is naturally poisonous when it is alive due to its high levels of uric acid. Hakarl is fermented for six to 12 weeks and then dried for several months. The resulting dish exudes a pungent and overwhelming ammonia odor and has a sharp, fishy taste. A shot of Brennivin, a local spirit, is usually served with the dish to ease the process of swallowing. Local Icelandic supermarkets and restaurants like The Sea Baron in Reykjavik sell Hakarl. Click here to see the Best Airline Food as reviewed by Zagat Photo Credit: © Flickr / moohaha
Shots of snake blood are an adventurous drinking pastime of Southeast Asia and can be experienced at locations like the Huaxi Market in Taipei. To prepare, hawkers slice a snake along its underbelly and drain its blood into a glass filled with rice wine or grain alcohol. Snake bile can also be extracted from the gallbladder and consumed as a shot. Other forms of snake wine, known as steeped snake wine, are found in large glass jars of rice wine containing the body of a poisonous snake. Don't worry; the venom won't harm you because of the wine's high alcohol content. Click here to see Top Travel Apps to Guide You to Destination's Best Eats Photo Credit: © Wiki / -Genghiskhanviet
These caterpillar worms are a savory delicacy of Mexico. Similar to escamoles, chinicuiles infest the roots of maguey and agave plants before being harvested for eating. Chinicuiles are red, fleshy, and considered highly nutritious, containing high levels of protein. Consume these critters alive, deep-fried, or roasted inside tacos with guacamole. Eat them at Palma 23 outpost of the El Cardenal restaurant in Mexico City. Click here to see How to Eat Like Olympian Misty May-Treanor While Traveling Photo Credit: © Wiki / Maurice-Marcellin
Sago worms are the larvae of sago palm weevil, a type of snout beetle eaten in regions of Southeast Asia. To eat them raw, grab the worm by the head and bite off its squirming body. Sago worms have a gooey, fatty texture when eaten alive and a bacon-like taste when fried. Give them a try at Nibong Seafood Restaurant in Sarawak, Malaysia; the sago palm, where the worms are found, is widely cultivated there. Click here to see Tour de France Travel Packages Photo Credit: © Wiki / Re-probst
Also know as civet coffee, this type of exotic caffeinated bean is consumed by Asian palm civet animals, which pass the beans through their digestive tracts and defecate, releasing the beans, which are then harvested to brew coffee. Once released from the civet, these beans are washed extensively and left out in the sun to roast. Kopi luwak exudes a strong coffee scent and has less of a bitter aftertaste than other brews. Coffee drinkers with money to spare can invest in a mug of Kopi luwak beans for a cost of up to $227 per pound. Have a sip at Jezalin's Gourmet Market in New York City. Click here to learn about Top App for Talking Travel Pictures Photo Credit: © Wiki / -Tomchen1989
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