One of the main identifying aspects of one’s culture is their food. If you are a Foodie like I am, then you know that sampling the local cuisine is perhaps one of the absolute best parts of traveling the globe. You may encounter some dishes, however, that require you to be a bit more adventurous and open-minded than you originally thought you were. We have a short list of what some may consider as “taboo” foods consumed across the globe. So, let’s get into it because what may be taboo to one, is simply culture to another.
Maggot infested cheese to be exact. Yes, y’all. MAG.GOTS. This delicacy hails from Sardinia, Italy; a rotting pecorino cheese made from sheep’s milk. Although the European Union has declared this cheese illegal based on sanitary regulations, it is proudly still made (traditional artisanal style) and consumed on special occasions in Sardinia. The cheese is eaten while the live maggots wiggle around – in the cheese and your mouth – as it’s the robust flavor from the maggots consuming and defecating into the cheese that sets it apart from all other cheeses across the land. Now, I love a good, robust cheese but I do have my limits. It’s a no from me, dawg.
This Anglo-Indian dish is rare as its main ingredient is the unborn fetus of a pregnant animal that has been slaughtered. It is believed by those who consume it to have medicinal properties and is said to be very beneficial for pregnant women’s health. Uuuuh…..okay.
Cod sperm sac -aka- fish jizz. Yeah, I said it. The sperm sac of the cod fish is consumed either cooked or raw in Japan, depending on one’s tastes. “Shirako” translates to “white children.” I seriously can’t make this stuff up, folks. It is said to have a custard-like texture when cooked, and when eaten raw it resembles……well, y’all figure it out.
I’ll never forget the dinner scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when they served up the chilled monkey brains. Straight out the dome, son! Is it a myth? An exotic urban legend? I say where there’s smoke there’s fire. There are plenty accounts of people in Asia eating monkey brains – sometimes straight from the skull of the monkey (in some instances the monkey is still alive). You can tell something is REALLY taboo when you hear rumblings about it for years, but there is never any real concrete evidence as it’s done in secret due to being frowned upon.
Hey, if they can eat bull’s testicles in Colorado then surely they can eat yak penis in China! Said to have a texture like grilled squid or calamari when cooked, in China, it is believed to give men a boost to the libido much like viagra. It is also said to be beneficial for women’s skin. There is actually a very popular restaurant in Beijing serving up peen from various animals. You get some peen! You get some peen! You ALL get some peen!
Cultural cuisine usually results from tradition, superstition or a necessity due to food shortages. These foods tell a story about who we are and give us a glimpse into a particular culture for deeper connections and better understanding. What are some taboo foods you’ve eaten during your travel adventures? Have you tried or would you eat anything on our list? Sound off in the comments and bon appétit!