Unusual Dishes from Around the World

Dr. Jonathan Vrban worked in San Francisco as a practitioner at Kaiser Permanente. Dr. Jonathan Vrban enjoys cooking and traveling. When he travels, he likes to immerse himself in the local culture and sample new dishes.

One of the most exciting parts of traveling to another country is having the opportunity to try its lesser-known delicacies. While many people will want to order pasta in Italy or enjoy an authentic Swiss dessert, there are countless exotic dishes most tourists likely never seek out. China’s bird’s nest soup, for example, is comprised primarily of a swiftlet’s nest. Rather than collecting sticks and leaves, swiftlets use saliva to make their nests. The idea of eating bird saliva might not sound so appetizing, but swiftlet saliva ranks among the most expensive animal products consumed by humans. A quality bowl can carry a price tag of $100.

When it comes to the American diet, few – if any – meals come to mind that emphasize fried insects as a key ingredient. In Cambodia, however, fried tarantula is considered an affordable delicacy. World travelers can further broaden their tastes in Korea, where live octopus can be found on the menu. The meal is prepared with a light sesame oil seasoning, and is famous for severed tentacles still moving.

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