If eating were an Olympic sport, no other country would come close. I’ve never seen a nation show so much dedication to consuming anything that walks, crawls, flies, swims, slithers or grows in my whole life until I travelled to China. Bizarre foods? Yes, please.
I’m a food lover, therefore, most of my time spent travelling the world is wandering through food markets in search of tasting anything that is recommended to that country or indulging in food that locals love to eat.
I thought that I was quite the adventurous eater until China seriously tested all of my culinary barriers.
Here are ten of the most bizarre foods to eat in China.
Would you dare to eat any of them?
1. Sheep Penis
Yes, you heard that correct. Threaded on a stick, grilled and served hot.
2. Tuna Eyeball
I’m told this tastes similar to squid and comes with severed muscles and fish fat around the eyeball. The eyeball is boiled, seasoned and served. Bon Appetit.
3. Bird’s Nest Soup
A Chinese delicacy made using the nests of a small Chinese bird, the swiftlet. The bird makes its nest from its own saliva, which hardens when exposed to air. Chicken broth is added to the saliva to make this soup. Like many things in China, its famed for its health benefits.
4. Chicken Testicles
Chicken testicles seem to show up on many menus in Hong Kong. The testicles themselves look much like large white beans which are boiled or fried whole with a soft squishy inside. They’re served in a broth with your choice of rice or noodles. Nothing like a bowl of testicles for dinner!
A balut is a developing duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in the shell. Locals absolutely love them. They tell me the best part is when you tip the egg up and sip on the liquid inside. Balut is a common food in other countries such as Philippines, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Deep fried on a stick. Choose to have yours seasoned with salt, chilli salt or whatever else the vendor is offering. If you close your eyes and forget about what you are snacking on, you might be able to stomach it.
7. Thousand-year-old eggs
Duck eggs coated with lime, ashes and mud, soaked in brine for 100 days until the yolk turns green and the whites become gelatinous and dark brown. The eggs have a creamy cheese flavour with a strong smell. Sound inviting? Only 3 left to complete this list of bizarre foods to eat in China.
8. Snake Soup
More commonly eaten in Hong Kong, especially during the winter to warm up, this soup is considered somewhat of a gourmet dish. The soup is served with snake shredded inside. Many say it tastes like chicken.
9. Stinky Tofu
It’s the name that turns most people off, even before they wonder what it might taste like. It’s a fermented tofu that has a very potent smell. You definitely smell it half a block before you see it. It’s been described to me as the blue cheese of tofu. I love blue cheese, so I ordered and ate a whole plate, served alongside pickled cabbage. I’d do it again for sure.
10. Roasted Street Bird or Whole Pigeons
Yes, only because I love the food served on a stick, this had to make it to my list. I found this one quite impressive, because it is an entire street bird threaded on a stick, dipped in a marinade for all that flavour and roasted.
I didn’t eat one because I was too full from consuming all those foods I mentioned at the top of my list. Next time maybe?
Planning a trip to China? Be prepared and read our post – How to avoid common tourist scams in China.