street food

Strange Street Food

When it comes to street foods, there’s perhaps no place more exciting to visit than Asia. An assault on your senses, Asia is packed full of street vendors hawking at you to buy their foods as they thrust their offerings in front of your eyes as you walk by. For the brave foodie – it’s a culinary adventure that will fascinate and inspire you, and keep you coming back for more. For others, it’s just a damn right rotten and repulsive sight that might remind you of a witch’s broth. Here is a roundup of some of the strangest street foods you could stumble upon whilst in Asia.

Bull penis

Nope, it’s not a type of sausage – it really is an ox’s penis. It’s cooked by steaming or deep frying although is known to be served raw also. Although common in restaurants in a soup, it is also sold by street vendors in Vietnam and Taiwan. It has been likened to overcooked rubbery calamari with a subtle beef like taste.

bulls penis

Fertilised duck eggs or ‘balut’

There is the saying, ‘don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched’, but that doesn’t apply to ducks. In the Philippines, a common dish sold by street vendors, thought to be an aphrodisiac, is the fertilized eggs of ducks that have been boiled and are served with just a pinch of seasoning. The duck embryo and all the insides of the egg can be eaten as they are, with the bones being supple enough to crunch through.


Pig’s blood cake

Like rice pudding, only made with pig’s blood and served on a stick – as the name would suggest. The rice is mixed together with the blood, steamed, then smothered with a layer of peanut powder and a pinch of coriander, then handed over along with a chilli sauce. This street snack is one of the most popular of its sort in Taiwan.

pigs blood cake


More familiarly known from days out to the aquarium, little seahorses are actually served fried and on skewers on the streets of Beijing in China. Seahorses are said to be good for men’s kidneys and their virility, and for girls they’re meant to improve their skin and looks.


 Fried mosquitos

This one has to be a guilt free snack – not only because it’s low in fat and high in protein, but it’s a bit like getting your own back on those creatures that happily feast on your ankles. These mosquitos that are specially bred for consummation are fried and often eaten as a breakfast snack on the streets of Cambodia.

Fried bats

Usually using the larger fruit bats, these creatures are usually deep fried until they’re crunchy and sold whole on a stick. Served with a dipping sauce, it’s a popular dish throughout South East Asia, especially Indonesia and Thailand.

Dog meat

Unfortunately for pooches, dog meat is actually quite commonly consumed all over the world. It is considered to be a delicacy in many places – especially Vietnam where it is believed to bring good fortune and raise libido in men. Often sold on platters with the head looking like it’s still snarling straight at you – this definitely isn’t a dish for dog lovers.


So, sannakji is baby octopus. Not so strange. It’s raw, again, not so strange – it’s been a while since the Japanese introduced sushi and started the raw fish revolution. It’s cut into little sections and served instantly with sesame oil – sounds good. What makes this dish a little bit special is, that it’s actually served alive, still twisting and turning on the plate. People are warned to chew thoroughly, or the suction cups that are still active will stick to the throat or mouth which can lead to choking!


Another one to watch out for, again in Cambodia. The eight legged arachnids that many people fear are fried in oil and served with salt and sugar. The legs are usually crunchy in taste and the main body is gooey. They are a regional delicacy from the town of Skuon, where many tourists test their bravery and show the strength of their stomach.

Holy samosas

Found in the deepest depths in the slums of Kolkata are holy samosas. In Hindu religion, cows that are seen freely roaming the streets of India are known to be holy. You can’t eat a cow of course, as that would be a huge taboo. However, sold for around one rupee each, holy samosas are made from cow dung and have got to be, one of the most shocking types of food you can find on the streets of India.

Images from flickr:
Main feature by Narith5
Seahorse by denn
Balut by Caryl Joan Estrosas
Bulls Penis by LWY 



Date posted: 25th September, 2012

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