For many people, traveling around the world is a great way to get a taste of some of the world’s best cuisine. One of the most exciting aspects of traveling is the opportunity to sample a wide variety of cuisines from around the world. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit China, you’ll be surprised by the wide variety of strange and unusual street foods available. Listed here are 35 dishes that you may not want to eat in China!
Are you not a fan of silkworms when they are alive? So rest assured that you will not enjoy this Chinese speciality. If you’re familiar with silk, you may recognize silkworms as the creatures that produce it. Though they may seem disgusting, did you know that these tiny worms are a common ingredient in Chinese cooking?
On skewers, the Silkworm Pupae of China is served as a delicacy in the country. Despite its unappealing appearance, those who have tried it report that it tastes a lot like shrimp. It’s not a surprise that these little snacks have so many spices on them. At least the flavor of the worm can mask the fact that you’re eating it!
In a culinary context, the word “lizard” does not sound very appetizing. In addition to lizard dishes, Chinese cuisine includes flying lizards that many people are unaware of. It’s true that flying lizards exist, and you can find them fried in Chinese food markets all over the place.
Flying lizards (also referred to as flying dragons) are served on skewers, just like silkworms. They’re usually fried and seasoned with salt for added flavor. Food markets in Hong Kong as well as other Chinese regions are a great place to find flying lizards.
Snake soup is a real thing, and you read that right. Many people enjoy a hearty bowl of soup on a chilly night, but few are familiar with snake soups. As the names imply, the dish is made up entirely of shredded snake meat and bones.
Se Wong, or “snake kings,” is the name of a chain of restaurants in Southern China where snake meals are a specialty. Cooking snake dishes requires specialized training, so you won’t find many of these in restaurants.
Take into account that the egg isn’t actually a thousand years old before you start freaking out. The meal’s name comes from the fact that the egg is supposed to look ancient, but we’re glad it isn’t. As a matter of fact, if you’re looking for “pidan” in Chinese markets, you will get it!
It can take weeks or even months for these eggs to go through a lengthy fermentation process. As part of the preparation, they are covered in a layer of ash, clay, salt, and lime to protect them from oxidation and other environmental influences. Reportedly, the egg’s interior smells like vinegar and stinky cheese. This does not sound appetizing, does it?
When dining out in China, you have to be on the lookout for roasted cats as well as dog meat. All over the world, cats and dogs are revered as beloved family members. Except in China, where you can always order a roasted Mr. Mittens at any restaurant.
Does eating a cat straight from the bowl sound appealing to you? This is the weirdest and presumably the worst thing you could ever do from our culture and perspective. Even so, in China and the neighboring areas, eating cat meat is perfectly acceptable.
Considering all the revolting foods we have already encountered, we kind of anticipated this one. And besides, roaches appear to be some of the most prevalent insects, so it would seem odd if they were absent from Chinese food markets.
If you’re the kind of person who cringes when they see roaches on the ground, try picturing a plate full of them in front of you. We’re not quite on the same page as Chinese people, who believe that these insects are delicious and packed with protein.
Because someone decided to roast an entire crocodile, there must have been some wild and crazy feast going on. At social gatherings, roasting this type of animal is not something you’d expect to see. People in China, on the other hand, view it as just another meal.
The crocodile should have been slaughtered for its meat, but instead, it is being roasted whole. Nothing in Chinese cooking appears to be thrown away. If we’re talking about a fictional crocodile, this may be a desirable quality, but not in the real world.
Head Of Sheep
After seeing snakes, crocodiles, as well as roaches on plates and sticks, sheep might seem like a natural choice. When it comes to Chinese cuisine, you know that even a simple dish will have a unique flavor.
It’s interesting to note that in China, sheep heads are served and eaten whole. This appears to be a strange way to eat since it’s a whole head. Before serving, the head is boiled and then roasted to bring out the best flavor.
Stinky Black Tofu
Tofu, but not the stinky black variety, has been discussed previously. This isn’t your average bland tofu, believe me. In the end, you may regret having tried this type of tofu on your trip to China.
The least bizarre Chinese dish on our list is a pigeon. For the most part, the pigeon would be our choice to eat, as it is most likely to taste like chicken meat. Even on auspicious occasions, the Chinese eat these birds.
Squab, the Chinese word for pigeon meal, is a traditional dish served during the Chinese New Year. Squabs deep-fried or live pigeons for sale can be found at a Chinese food market.
Balut, a dish popular in Chinese street markets as well as the Philippines, is the subject of much debate. What is Balut? It’s an egg embryo, most commonly from a duck, that is cooked and consumed along with the embryo within it.
Even though Chinese chefs attempt to make it more enticing by trying to add salt and vinegar, it doesn’t sound very appetizing. Balut’s flavor has been compared to that of cream cheese or a soft mousse by some reviewers.
On the other hand, if you are afraid of spiders, you should avoid this meal at all costs. Think about tarantulas, and your hair or neck will stand on end just by thinking about them. People in China are not afraid of tarantulas, contrary to popular belief. It’s no surprise that they think of them as a tasty treat.
Traditional deep-fried Chinese cuisine has included tarantulas for centuries. Only in the late ’90s did it gain widespread acceptance outside of China. Spider stew can now be made at home with the help of numerous online recipes for spider stew.
The East Asian and Chinese cuisines both use tofu as a staple ingredient. You may be familiar with tofu, but have you heard of fermented tofu? It’s an interesting concept. The “stinky tofu” moniker comes from its distinct flavor and distinct aroma.
Tofu fermented in a Chinese food market is likely to cause you to wonder “what’s this smell?” before you have a chance to look at it. Manufacturers use fermented milk, vegetables, meats, and herbs to smoke regular tofu cubes to create fermented tofu. It can take months to achieve the desired level of fermentation in this process.
Yes, these sea creatures that resemble slugs are in fact one of the most popular Chinese delicacies in the area. Sea cucumbers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, including some that have spikes covering their bodies.
Chinese chefs will continue to serve their usual menu items, despite the occasional spikes. When it comes to sea cucumber meals, those who have sampled them say that the dish is essentially tasteless and often tastes like whatever food or sauce is on the plate.
Try a tuna eyeball and see what all the fuss is about. Both of us didn’t know that! But in China, the eyeballs of tuna are a popular delicacy because of a chef’s desire to use every part of the animal. The eye, as well as everything else, must be consumed.
The eye of the tuna is said to have a flavor similar to that of an egg white, but that’s not enough for us to try it. As a bonus, the eyeballs of tuna are among the largest you’ll find in sea animals, so the portion sizes must be quite large.
Bird’s Nest Soup
Those familiar with snake soup may be wary of bird’s nest soup, but are you up for the challenge? This dish, also widely recognized as the caviar of the East, is actually extremely rare in Chinese cuisine. For a soup that’s so unique, you can expect to pay a high price for it.
The soup’s name didn’t disappoint, as it contains a real bird’s nest in the mix. Specifically, we’re referring to the swiftlet’s saliva-based nest. You can’t even compare this to the nest made of branches and little branches of leaves. Imagine a soup made from bird saliva!
If the thought of 100 legs doesn’t terrify you, then go ahead and eat some centipedes! Centipedes are poisonous, but that won’t stop Chinese chefs from preparing them as a delicacy.
Many different kinds of centipedes are available in Chinese food markets, from salted to dried to fried to fresh to powdered. Some people say that the taste of these insects is similar to that of seafood, but we have no plans to test this theory anytime soon!
An example like this one might not be ideal for people who own dogs. Dog meat is a popular delicacy in China, as you may have heard. In this culture, dog meat is treated as equal to chicken meat. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s also commonplace in China.
That dog meat can be sold and eaten in these regions is even more shocking. Every year, China hosts a Dog Meat Festival, where locals and tourists alike can sample a variety of dog-based dishes.
In fact, bamboo worms are extremely beneficial to your health. As disgusting as these worms may look, they are a great source of protein and can be a nutritious snack. That really is, until you realize that you are in fact consuming worms!
Despite the fact that we haven’t tried it ourselves, we’ve heard that bamboo worms taste like milk and have a creamy consistency. Remember that we’re discussing worms here, so don’t get too excited!
Those foods we had shown you earlier were terrible but prepare for the caterpillar fungus, which is even worse. It is possible for a caterpillar to become infected with this fungus, which can take over its resources and deplete its energy. Once the fungus is done with its host, it just pops out of its head and goes about its day.
All over China and Hong Kong, this fungus can be found on restaurant menus. Despite the fact that it lacks a distinct flavor, it is a specialty item and as such commands a hefty price. You’d have to fork over $1,000 just to get a pound of this odious-looking fungus!
Another soup to stay away from if you’re ever in China or the surrounding areas: this one. Bats are bathing on the plate as you eat this real soup. We shouldn’t be surprised to find bats in soup, given that they’re a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine.
For bat dishes, Guam, Palau, and Indonesia are the most common destinations. Before serving, the bat is usually grilled as part of the preparation process. Even if this dish is cooked, it will remain unappetizing to us.
Duck Blood Soup
Blood and soup have been mentioned previously, but this meal incorporates the two. Duck blood soup is what you’re looking at, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. In order to create a more satisfying meal, the red blood is served with vegetables and meat.
However, since we’re dealing with real, raw animal blood, we’re not sure how filling this will be. Blood pie and even blood blocks are common ingredients in Chinese cooking, so don’t be surprised if you see them.
One more odious bug that’s considered a delicacy in China. This area is known for its love of cicadas, and we’re not quite sure why. Everyone else views these insects as disgusting pests that should be exterminated as soon as possible.
However, fried cicadas are a popular dish in China, especially if they’re crunchy enough to make you hear the squeak of their tiny legs. If this doesn’t make your hair stand on end, you could be brave enough to try authentic Chinese food.
In Asia, octopus is prepared in a way that takes it to a whole new level of deliciousness. Smaller octopuses are commonly served in restaurants with trained chefs who know how to handle live creatures on a plate in most regions of the world.
But in Asia, they prefer to go for the largest octopus they can get their hands on. In fact, the meal will be even better if the octopus is large. It appears that the chewy dishes of giant octopuses are popular in Chinese restaurants.
There is no such thing as a sea serpent in mythology. A real animal is served in most Chinese food markets, so you know what to expect. Despite their small size, sea serpents have a terrifying appearance!
When it comes to handling these animals, Chinese workers are fearless. They treat it like a piece of cake! Sea serpents are reputed to be a delectable Chinese delicacy, according to some.
Genitals Of Sheep
Specific parts of an animal’s anatomy are considered taboo for human consumption in some countries and cultures. Visitors to food markets in China, on the other hand, are used to seeing a variety of parts served as dishes. The male sheep’s genitals can be found among these unusual dishes.
The genital of a sheep is said to increase a man’s libido and is frequently requested by a large percentage of the Chinese population. The dish is typically steamed and seasoned with curry powder.
Guilinggao, the dish’s formal name, is also widely recognized as Turtle Jelly and is served as a dessert in China. It is common in China, and the cost will vary depending on where the turtle or tortoise was sourced. Street vendors sell the less expensive versions, while fine dining establishments can afford the more expensive versions.
In addition to enhancing circulation and kidney function, this delicacy is said to have numerous health benefits as well. Some women swear by Turtle Jelly as a way to keep their skin looking young and healthy.
Brains Of Monkeys
People in China initially discounted reports that a tourist had seen monkey brains being marketed in a street market. However, the fact that monkey brains are served as a delicacy in China cannot be denied.
It was typically served as the centerpiece of the meal at high-ranking banquets. Although it has only recently appeared on the streets. Raw or lightly fried monkey brains are the best options for consumption.
Popular in the United Kingdom, blood is a key ingredient in the dish black pudding. There are a variety of dishes made with it in China, including the street food Devilish Sausage. Devilish Sausages are made with pork blood in a variety of ways, depending on the region.
Some recipes call for a mixture of seasonings and meaty bits seasoned with peppercorns, salt, as well as white pepper, while others call for blood. Adding Chinese cabbage and pork belly to this dish makes it a hearty stew during the winter.
Patrick and Spongebob’s favorite pastime of catching jellyfish is depicted numerous times in cartoons, but the next street dish that is popular in several Asian countries takes the cartoon characters’ favorite pastime to a darker level. Dehydration and pickling are the most common methods for preserving it.
It can be found in a wide variety of dishes, but salads are the most popular. Several Asian countries, such as China, Japan, and Thailand, are big consumers of it. Some airlines even serve pickled jellyfish as a main dish.
Tongue Of Duck
Eating duck tongues in most Western countries would be seen as a joke in most places. Due to its small size and lack of meat, it not only sounds like an inedible part of a bird. Is it possible that… It is a common street food dish in China.
The webbed feet of the duck, for example, are frequently included in dishes that also contain this strange component of the duck’s anatomy. It is regarded as a delicacy.
Fish Lip Soup
There is a popular street food dish in China called Fish Lip Soup. However, despite its name, this dish does not involve cooking fish lips… Or at the very least, it’s not just fish lips. Most of the time, the entire fish head is used, but Garoupa fish lips can also be used in some recipes.
The fish head is generally served as a soup with tofu and brown fried in oil. It is then added to boiling water.
Street vendors in China are selling pork lungs in chili sauce, a traditional Chinese dish. This is largely due to the fact that it is prepared in advance and can be served at room temperature or chilled.
Pork lungs are not always present in the dish’s name. Tradition calls for strips of tender pork, heart, tripe, as well as tongue to be included. It is drenched in chili oil and garnished with sesame seeds before being served.
Pork, Goose, As Well As Duck Fried Intestines
The intestines of certain animals are considered a delicacy in China, despite the fact that it may not sound appetizing to most Westerners. Intestines from animals like geese, pigs, and ducks are a popular delicacy in China. It is also popular at street markets, where it is often deep fried and served with a variety of hot and spicy condiments.
Many popular soups, including those sold at street markets, contain this ingredient as a hot pot ingredient. To enhance the juicy textures, it is sometimes stewed or stir-fried.
Toads And Frogs
While most people outside of Asia would consider these foods repulsive, in Asian countries they are considered delicacies. Vendors in China and other Asian countries, such as Vietnam, serve frogs and toads as part of their food offerings to customers.
Taiwan Bullfrogs are the most commonly used, and the Huang Shuang Black Stone Frog is a popular delicacy in China. In fact, the Taiwan Bullfrog is known as ‘Field Chicken’ in Chinese, and it’s a common ingredient in soups and stir-fries throughout the country.
Many dishes in China use Snow Fungus, also known as White Fungus. In addition to its medicinal and nutritional properties, it is highly regarded as a delicacy. Although it looks like a mushroom, the White Fungus found in China is actually a fungus that’s harvested for its edible fungus.
To soften it, it is generally soaked in water and then cooked in a spicy mixture of water and other spices. For desserts, it can be used to make a wide range of treats, and it is a common ingredient in so many street market dishes.
Testicles Of Chicken
Unless you’re a vegan or vegetarian, everyone loves chicken. However, in some parts of China, chicken testicles are considered a delicacy. A lot of people believe that it can help men’s libido and give women the smoothest skin they’ve ever seen.
Noodles and rice are commonly served with this dish, and it is only lightly cooked to preserve the dish’s tenderness. It comes in two colors: white and black and is best enjoyed with all of its juices.
There are many cultures in China where the turtle is revered as a symbol of longevity and health. They are, however, eaten – in fact, it is the complete opposite. Soup made from three different species of turtles found along the Chinese coasts is a common way to consume turtles.
It’s said to be both nutritious and delicious. It’s also a superfood that’s commonly given to patients in the hospital. It can be eaten in a number of different ways, but it is most commonly served in a soup form at street markets.
Dried Lily Buds
The following ingredient isn’t as unusual as some of the others on this list, but it can be found in a wide variety of dishes. It’s actually quite a delectable and sweet component. A wide variety of flowers are used as food in many different cultures around the world.
Chinese people eat the dried yellow lilies’ buds. More than two thousand years ago, the Chinese began using the golden lily, also known as the tiger lily, as medicine and food. Stir-fries at street markets are the best place to find it.
Stewed Moose Nose
Alaskans may be familiar with this delicacy, but it has become a popular dish in the northernmost province of Harbin in China, where it is sold on the street.
Soybeans or noodles are often included in the soup, which is simmered for an extended period of time. It is necessary to first tenderize the moose’s lips and nose before using them in the soup recipes.
Sea Urchin With Boiled Eggs
Here’s one more sea creature you probably won’t want to eat anytime soon. Our topic is sea urchins, which are served with boiled eggs. The eggs on the plate are from sea urchins, not chickens.
As part of this meal, Chinese chefs remove the urchin shell and then boil the inner parts, including the eggs and any mushy, pudding-like things you can discover inside. Despite the fact that it does not sound or looks appetizing, some people insist that it is worth a shot. In China, would it be brave of you to eat any of these unusual dishes?
Compared to a silkworm or a rotten egg, a starfish sounds like a better option. People in China, both foreigners and residents, seem to enjoy starfish specialties, particularly the straightforward starfish-on-a-stick treat. Even if you’re not in the mood for starfish right now, you should know that it isn’t bad at all!
Traditional Chinese medicine uses starfish to treat allergies, asthma, and heart disease, among other ailments. It’s hard to eat a starfish and not think of Patrick from Spongebob, amidst the starfish’s meaty texture.
When you think of scorpions, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Not for the purpose of eating them! In China, scorpions are one of the most popular food items on the market. Scorpions, like starfish as well as silkworms, are served on a stick just like the other two.
Despite their crunchy exterior, scorpions are often described as incredibly chewy by those who have tried them. With their barbecue-like flavor, black forest scorpions appear to be an excellent choice. Others have a more delicate flavor, more closely resembling that of shrimp.
Even though some people find eating rats disgusting, others enjoy this delicacy as if it were a rare treat. As rat meat is extremely popular in China as well as a means of rescuing families from poverty, rat breeding has become a major industry in China.
Because rat meat has a very normal, meaty flavor, many people believe it isn’t that unusual at all. Although these animals don’t appear to be the best choice for your next dinner, if you think about it, In China’s rural areas, they can at least be a reliable source of income for families.
Shark Fin Soup
If you ever visit China, you’ll be able to find a wide variety of shark dishes and products for sale at food markets and even in shops. Shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese New Year dish made with the fins of this dreadful marine predator, is a popular choice.
The soup is flavored with a variety of different kinds of shark fins. To ensure a prosperous year ahead, this dish is served at New Year’s celebrations. Shark fins have become so sought-after that a market has sprung up for them.
Brains Of Pigs
Rat meat isn’t all that bad, but pig brains? That’s where the line is drawn! In many Chinese dishes, the brain is served as a side dish because of its mushy and soft texture that is similar to pudding.
Pigs’ brains have been described as savory and just unpleasant by some. However, if this dish wasn’t popular, it wouldn’t have been around for centuries in Chinese cuisine. This dish is popular because it can be prepared in a variety of ways, such as by frying, sautéing, or boiling.
This is the strangest food you’ll find on this list. In fact, we’re referring to the tofu-like blocks that make up most blood transfusions. Soups and stews in Chinese cuisine frequently include these ingredients.
It’s exactly what you’d expect from a dish like this. After taking a bite, you will be overwhelmed by the blood-like flavor of the jelly-like structure. Is this something you’d like to do?
Pad Kee Mao, a traditional Chinese noodle dish, will be served to you if you order drunken shrimp while in China. Every Thai restaurant serves this dish as a staple. Be prepared to be disappointed if it is not offered.
In fact, the dish’s name is quite appropriate given that the shrimp are actually swimming in a type of alcoholic liquid. Make sure to keep in mind that those are live shrimps that will consume the alcohol before you eat them.
In China, seahorses are a delicacy enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike, despite the fact that many people have never even seen a seahorse. As a side note, it’s interesting to note that male seahorses give birth to babies, not females.
In any case, eating a seahorse isn’t something you’d do for a quick snack or even dinner. A popular snack in Chinese food markets, this dish resembles squid and is frequently served on a stick.
Grasshoppers, as opposed to tofu and pig’s brains, are a crunchy snack option. In Asia, insects are a common snack, as you may already know. Since at least 2500 BCE, people in China have been eating bugs as a delicacy.
As a result, don’t be alarmed if, while on vacation in China, someone offers you a fried bug. To achieve a particular taste, grasshoppers are sometimes boiled or roasted. Regardless, we will not be purchasing this item.