Oh, nothing much, just a poisonous species of an icky looking, hairy spider that is deep-fried till perfection. In Cambodia, the Thai Zebra Tarantula, which is about the size of a human hand, is a common delicacy. These can be found everywhere in Cambodia- from street-side vendors to expensive restaurants. The tarantulas are pan-fried with garlic and a pinch of salt. It is crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Most people only eat the legs and upper head, which is said to be extremely crispy, but the brave-hearted also eat the abdomen.
Do you remember fighting from breath every time you passed by a science lab with ammonia and sulfur? Now imagine eating it. Century eggs or millennium eggs are a Chinese dish in which the eggs of quail, chicken, and duck are covered in ashes, clay salt and preserved for months together. The insides of the egg decompose and form a greenish jelly-like mixture which is then served straight on your plate. Their taste is extremely strong but the dish is very well-liked in China.
Balut is a duck meat dish. Now, eating ducks is completely normal and people from all around the world eat duck meat. But this dish serves the duck with a twist. Balut is a dish served mainly in the Philippines and Vietnam, which is basically a fertilized duck egg. The eggs are served with a hole and they contain a grown duck embryo. To perfectly get the taste, you have to pierce the duck eggs first and drink all the liquid inside it and then break the shell and eat the entire developing duck baby. Mostly, Baluts are eaten when the egg is 17 days old but some people wait till it is 21 days old and the duck has developed beak and feathers!
Durian is, one could say, less painful to the eye but a pain to the nose. Durian is a fruit that is rather yummy-looking which has a very strong and foul odor. The fruit can be eaten raw or can be used to make a variety of stuff. But it smells so bad that people who have smelled it said it was a mixture of rotten eggs, vomit, rotting flesh and sewers. In fact, it smells so strongly that it has been banned in many hotels in Asia and is banned from airports all around the world!
Tea Leaf Salad
Fermented tea leaves actually, onion, garlic, oil, peanuts, sesame seeds, cabbage, shrimp powder, lime… This is classic street food in Myanmar (Burma), so you don’t typically get it in restaurants — but it’s possible. Wandering around any main city in Myanmar, you’ll come upon a food stand that has it. It will likely be served to you in a little plastic baggy — the poor man’s ziplock, with that fold-over bit. If it looks like cow cud mushed at the bottom of the baggy, then your mind is about to be blown with the delicious taste of Tea Leaf Salad. On the first bite you can’t figure out if you hate it or love it. It’s an overly soggy salad (like eating cooked spinach that’s become cold) with an odd combination of ingredients, but after your third bite your inner Action Bronson comes out and you’re like "Wow that’s delicious". You hate looking at it, but don’t worry, you’ll be done eating your second baggy in 4 minutes!
Birds Nest Soup
Also known as the "caviar of the east," this dish is considered a rare delicacy around the world, but is particularly popular in Asia. The nest is not made of sticks and leaves, but rather the bird's saliva. The soup, comprised of a nest covered in a light chicken broth, is said to be one of the priciest animal products eaten by humans in the world, ringing in at anywhere from $30 to $100 per bowl!
Sushi is pretty common in the United States; we even occasionally eat octopus. But live octopus? Not so much. In Korea, fresh baby octopi are cut up, quickly seasoned with sesame oil, and served while the tentacles are still moving. If that's not enough of a dare for you, be aware that the dish can actually be quite dangerous if the suction cups stick to your mouth or throat.
Also known as civet coffee, kopi luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world, ringing in at $75 per quarter-pound. The coffee is only made on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi, Indonesia, and what makes it so special is the processing cycle. A small tree-dwelling animal, the Common Palm Civet, eats the outer layer of the coffee cherry, but does not digest the inner bean. Thus, the droppings contain intact beans mixed with digestive enzymes, which locals collect and sell to vendors, who sun-dry the beans before putting them on the market.
This Vietnamese wine is processed by fermenting a dead cobra or scorpion in a bottle filled with rice wine liquor or grain alcohol—the venom is deactivated by the ethanol. The importation of the wine is illegal in many countries because cobras are on the endangered species list, so the best snake wines can only be found online and are priced in the $100 range.