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10 Bizarre Animals I’ve Eaten in the Last 10 Months in Asia

by Drew on September 15, 2014 14 comments

Some people may say I’m crazy, but I am just living my life.  Even beyond eating bizarre foods, I like to create new experience everything and push my limits.   Stepping out of my comfort zone is the #1 thing that motivates me to travel. 

I’ve been living in Korea for over a year now, and I’ve gotten quite the tasting tour of Asian cuisine.    On this continent, they pretty much eat any animal that you can think of.  So while I am living here, why not try everything when I have the opportunity?

If you are a foodie and are interested in getting featured on my blog, then you can contribute your favorite dish to my weekly series called “Monday’s Marvelous Meals.”  Just contact me with your meal and get more details from me!

Lastly, I can already suspect the hate mail that I’m going to get from this blog post.    If you are a vegetarian, then I respect your eating habits and you probably will not enjoy reading this post.  And for everyone else who is going to leave a negative comment, then why did you read this in the first place? 

In any regard, read on to learn about 10 Bizarre Animals I’ve eaten in the last 10 months in Asia! 

1.  Boiled Chicken Feet (Singapore)

IMG_1685Yes, I ate the foot of a chicken.

In SingaporeHong Kong, China and Korea, people love eating chicken feet.  Especially in Hong Kong and Singapore, it is a common dish in a traditional dim sum meal.  If you don’t know about dim sum, it is a certain style of food that is prepared with small, bite-sized portions of meat, dumplings, buns and rice.  It is a native Cantonese food style in Hong Kong, and it is one of my favorite meals ever!

Chicken feet is served at almost every dim sum restaurant.  At first, I was pretty intimidated to eat it because of the visual intimidations and the mental distractions of eating a foot, but after I took the first bite, I quickly realized that it was pretty damn tasty.  Actually it was so good that I was hooked and had to get some more.

The eating experience…?

The feet are doused in a blackbean sauce that is a little spicy.  When chewing it, I could honestly feel my teeth crunching down on the bones, and I had to scrape around them with my teeth.  I bit one toe off at a time (haha that sounds funny), and it tasted good! The flavor was pretty similar to any other chicken that I’ve tried, but this was a much more unique experience.

2.  Live Octopus (Korea) 

IMG_2190In Korea, it’s a tradition to eat live octopus and I’ve done it 4 times.   It’s usually served cut up into little pieces (although still squirming on the plate), and accompanied with spicy dipping sauces and oil so it doesn’t stick to your throat.

But my first time eating live octopus, I didn’t follow any of the rules.  Hell, I didn’t even know how it was suppose to be prepared!  I just knew that it was a Korean tradition to eat live octopus..  That being said, “ignorant Drew” picked out a live octopus from a fish tank at the famous Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, and put the entire thing in his mouth.  Literally from tank-to-mouth. I chewed the thing raw for 25 minutes until I could swallow.

At first, I was struggling a bit when it kept sucking onto my throat, but the generous lady who was filming me kept giving me confidence and motivation to do it!  It was a long process to take that guy down.  Watch a video of me eating it at the end of this post!

The eating experience…?

It was really slimy, like the same consistency of a loogie (ewwwww), and it was extremely salty because of the salty water from the tank.  There wasn’t much of a fishy taste, and it was extremely hard to swallow. I could feel it squirming all the way down my throat the ENTIRE 25 minutes before I finished it.

Watch this video to see my experience!

3. Dog Soup (Korea)

IMG_1919Oh boy, this one was tough for me.  I’ve always grown up with cute little puppies in my house, and I’ve always had a love for dogs.  This was by far my hardest challenge out of all the crazy animals that I have eaten in Asia.

In Korea and Vietnam, people have been eating dog meat for centuries.  However, these days it’s slowly declining in popularity.  Most older men still enjoy it, but it is diminishing with the younger generations for obvious reasons.

There is a dog restaurant near my house in my current city of Pyeongtaek, South Korea.  I ventured out there with my friend for dinner, because we wanted to see what it was all about. I had heard mixed things about “where” these dogs came from.  Some people have told me that there are dog farms where dogs literally get slaughtered (like a pig slaughter house), and others have said that these dogs have been found on the side of the street and murdered for the restaurant.

Whatever the case is, I don’t really want to think about which breed of dog that I ate.  I only did it for the experience, and to say “I have tried dog meat.” I’ll never do it again.

The eating experience…?

It was served in a soup with chunks of dog, green veggies and a hearty broth.  Rice and kimchi were served on the side.

The worst part of this entire experience was the smell of wet dog inside the restaurant.  I nearly had to hold my breath the entire meal, because it was almost impossible to get it off my mind.

The meat itself was actually okay… It was sort of a mixture between beef and goat meat, and the texture was really really soft.   There were some fatty pieces and some bones that I refused to touch.  The broth was actually pretty good.  Overall, I didn’t really like it and I couldn’t help but think of my dogs back home.

4.  Snake Soup (Hong Kong)

IMG_1427I actually ate snake soup a few times, once in Hong Kong and the other time in Taipei.  However, the one in Hong Kong was much better.   Despite the name which might make you cringe, snake soup is actually really hearty and delicious.  There are a few notable places to get it around HK, and after speaking with some locals, my friend and I went to the most famous hole-in-the-wall place in the Wan Chai district.

The soup itself contained long thin pieces of snake mixed with chicken and onions in an delicious savory broth.

Inside the restaurant, we met this local guy who has been eating snake soup once a week for 10 years.  What a loyal customer!  He said that a few years ago, they kept the live snakes in a tank in the middle of the restaurant (they still do that in Taipei).  It was great talking with him and getting his perspective during our meal, and he really made the experience legit.  I even got a photo with him :D

The eating experience…?

It was SO good!  Like actually, it was really tasty and I will definitely eat this again when I get the chance.  The snake meat was a bit chewy, and it resembled the white meat of a chicken.  Mmmmmmmm.

5.  Cat Poop Coffee (Bali)

IMG_4100I never even know that cat poop coffee existed, until I found myself adventuring around a coffee plantation in Bali.  Known as “Kopi Luwak” in Balinese, this coffee is produced by “civet cats” which are more like a ferret-type creature that isn’t like your normal cute-cat.

The civet cats are known to eat coffee beans in the wild, and their digestive system cannot keep them down.  So, they poop them back out.  The beans are collected, cleaned (sign..) and then roasted and brewed into a coffee.

The eating experience… ?

It wasn’t bad!  If I never told you that there was cat poop in this coffee, then you wouldn’t know the difference.  I’m not much of a coffee drinker myself, but this cat poop was just as good as any other coffee I’ve had.  It was a bit stronger in taste.  Near the bottom of the cup, I could taste little particles that sort of had the texture of powder… I tried not to think about what I was eating and it was all good.   It was only $5USD in Bali, and around the world, this coffee goes for $30+ a cup.

Despite the name, this coffee didn’t taste shitty!   I’d try it again 😉

6. Pig Blood Cake (Taipei)

IMG_3817In Taipei, this popular street food is served on a popsicle stick at many of the street markets.   It is made from sticky rice which is drenched in pig’s blood, steamed, smothered in pork soy sauce, rolled in peanut flower and topped off with fresh cilantro. How’s that for a mouth-ful?   (I am feeling very punny right now)

Many people eat this for a snack, but it can also be cooked in a hot pot.  I was surprised to see so many different vendors selling this dish, at almost every street market around Taipei.

The eating experience…? 

This dish wasn’t my favorite.   I ate it at the Shilin Street Market.  I found pig blood cake to be firm but chewy, with a deep rich pork flavor.   All of the contracting flavors made the “bloody” taste not as strong as I thought, but the mental aspect of eating this was distracting.  I only ate half of it, and threw the rest out.

It’s really an experience unlike any other food that I’ve eaten, and it’s only in Taiwan!

7.  Ox Intestines (Korea)

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 10.06.00 AMOx intestines are everywhere in Korea.. And maybe this one isn’t so strange to you, because I believe that animal intestines are commonly eaten around the world.

Eating ox intestines is, in fact, quite healthy.  People in Korea say that it’s good for your complexion and digestion because it has collagen inside of it.  This dish also has more vitamins and iron than most other meats, adding to it’s unique taste.   It even has high amounts of protein, making it a perfect meal for a post-workout!

But in the back of my mind, as I was eating ox intestines, I kept thinking, “isn’t the intestines the place that holds your poop?”  I couldn’t get that nasty image out of my head.

The eating experience…?

I cooked ox intestines on a grill, along with vegetables like onions and garlic.  I cooked it pretty long, so it was nice and burnt.  To be honest, the taste wasn’t that bad!  Especially when I dipped it in the red spicy sauce, and washed it down with some soju… It just tasted like any other beef, but this dish was a little more chewy.

8. Cow Blood Soup (Korea)

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 10.06.41 AMKnown as Harjangguk in Korean, many people of the older generation consider this dish a delicacy.   It’s also referred to a “hangover soup” because eating this hearty soup is known to cure your hangover…. But that’s only if you can keep it down in the morning without wanting to throw up everywhere.

The ingredients consist of congealed cow (or ox) blood, cabbage, other vegetables inside of a hearty beef broth.  I will admit that this soup is pretty nasty, and I would never even consider eating it when I am hungover..

The eating experience…?

To be honest, I only could eat half of this because I was so grossed out.  The broth wasn’t so bad- it was a bit spicy with some nice vegetable flavors. But as soon as I started chewing that blubbery cow blood, I couldn’t do it anymore.  Ew.

9. Durian (Malaysia)

IMG_8831Okay, I realize that these last 2 foods aren’t “animals” as the title of this post suggests, but they are worth talking about because you can only find them in Asia.  And both of them carry odors beyond your imagination..

Durian is a fruit that is native to SouthEast Asia.  Many people call this fruit the “king of fruits” because it’s large, covered in thorns and has an unbearable odor that you can smell from 40 meters away.  The smell kind of reminded me like raw sewage, or dirty socks- or a combination of both.  This fruit is actually illegal to eat on the Singapore Metro (by law), and it’s banned from many hotels and private buildings in SouthEast Asia.    It’s that rancid.

The eating experience…?

I have eaten durian about 3 times, but the first time was in Singapore.  I bought it from a local street market and the guy chopped it open with a large knife.  The pieces that were edible are yellowish quite small in size.  The texture was slimy and nasty.  But honestly, the taste wasn’t as bad as I was expecting! I managed to eat a good portion of this stuff, and I would probably eat it again the next time I am in SE Asia!

10. Stinky Tofu (Taipei)

IMG_3879Just as the name suggests, stinky tofu is pretty damn stinky.  Much like durian, you can smell the odor from a few blocks away on the street.

This type of tofu is commonly sold from street vendors in China, Taipei and some other countries in SE Asia.  It’s traditionally prepared with fermented milk, vegetables and meat ingredients.   Most people enjoy stinky tofu as a snack, and it can be eaten cold, stewed or most commonly fried.  Dip it in chili sauce for extra flavor!

The eating experience?

I tried stinky tofu at the Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan.  I saw a women flipping stink tofu on the grill, and she told sold me that it was tasty. So,  I gave it a try.  I ate the whole thing and didn’t think the taste was as bad as the smell.  Once you rid your mind of the stinky odor, the taste is similar to any other tofu that I’ve had.   And especially because it was fried, that makes it crispier and better.  Apparently, there are much “stinkier” tofus than the one that I ate, but I’d try it again!

Thanks for reading!  Which bizarre foods have you eaten? Please comment and tell me!   

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Drew

Hello! Since 2012, I've been traveling and partying my way around 74+ Countries. Shortly after I graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, I took a job as an English Teacher in South Korea for 18 months. Now, I'm traveling and blogging full-time on a never-ending voyage around the world. Please comment with any questions you have, and feel free to join me on Snapchat & Instagram @drewbinsky :)

Drew10 Bizarre Animals I’ve Eaten in the Last 10 Months in Asia

14 comments

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  • andrea - December 5, 2014 reply

    Is good to try everything.u live ones. Enjoy life.

    Drew - December 5, 2014 reply

    Yep, that’s the only way to live life. Thanks for the comment, Andrea 🙂

  • HotMamaTravel - September 19, 2014 reply

    Crazy read with my morning coffee. My 2-year old son is obsessed with your octopus eating video. We had to watch it few times.

    Drew - September 22, 2014 reply

    Haha, that just made me so happy! Thanks for sharing it with your son 🙂 I don’t know if I can ever eat that live octopus again…

  • Graham Askey - September 19, 2014 reply

    Top work mate! Have tried some of them but do insist on my food being stationary so would have to wuss out on live octopus, besides i think they are cute so would have some emotional issues like you had with dog. In west Africa I’ve had agouti, which is like a big cuddly rat but of the porcupine family, if you have the smoked version it’s pleasant enough but some people prefer to let it go a bit rancid before cooking it so the smell is as you would imagine rotten meat to be. I have eaten it like this but I can’t say I would rush back for more, tho have happily eaten the smoked variety a few times. Boiled sheep’s lungs were surprisingly nice and the brains tasted OK just had a wobbly texture. (Insideotherplaces.com)

    Drew - September 22, 2014 reply

    Thanks for your comment Graham! It’s nice to hear other people’s opinions and I enjoy seeing which foods that my readers eat. Boiled sheep lungs sound quite interesting, where did you eat that? In West Africa?

    graham - September 28, 2014 reply

    The sheeps lungs was in Xinjiang – western China, they cook it with gelatin, but there is very little the chinese wont eat is there?

    Drew - September 28, 2014 reply

    Yes the Chinese will pretty much eat everything. Also Koreans and Vietnamese!

  • Derek Freal - September 17, 2014 reply

    I’ve eaten all of those foods too except for the ox intestines and the stinky tofu. At least I can’t recall any tofu that I’ve encountered to be particularly stinky… Oh but to be fair the octopus I ate in Japan wasn’t alive still, so not sure if that counts. What have I eaten?

    In the last ten months I’ve had: dog satay (Vietnam), horse (Indonesia), bat (Bali), scorpion (Thailand), raw king cobra organs, blood, muscle tendons and eggs (Indonesia), turtle (Indonesia), pigeon (Indonesia) and balut (Philippines and Vietnam).

    Drew - September 18, 2014 reply

    Derek- Nice list man!! I haven’t met anyone else who has eaten all of this crazy shit. Where do you live these days?

  • Hannah Wasielewski - September 16, 2014 reply

    Wow, you’ve got me beat! I think the craziest foods are all from Asia. In Peru I ate guinea pig and alpaca, and in Brazil people eat chicken hearts on a regular basis (they’re delicious!). Other than that, nothing like the food you’ve tried! When I make it to Asia, I’ll make sure to refer to this list and see if I’m as daring as you 🙂

    Drew - September 16, 2014 reply

    Chicken heart?? That sounds crazy to me, but I’d love to try it! Let me know when you come to Asia and I can give you some good recommendations on what to eat, and where to eat it 🙂

  • Emerissa U. Baylosis - September 16, 2014 reply

    I eaten durian once and I don’t like it. We have it here in Philippines, particularly in Davao Provinces.

    We have our “balut”. A balut is a developing duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell. Eaten that too. It’s good.

    Barbequed “palakang palay” or farm frog. Frogs found in the rice field. It taste like chicken.

    Drew - September 16, 2014 reply

    Emerissa- thanks for your comment. I actually tried Balut when I was in Saigon, Vietnam. I forgot to add it to this list!! I enjoyed balut, as it was very tasty 🙂

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