Rattlesnake Sausage at Wurstküche
Photograph: Courtesy WurstkücheRattlesnake Sausage at Wurstküche

Kooky cuisine: ten of the world’s most weird and wonderful dishes uncovered

Written by Time Out PR
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Time Out reveals where to go to for Instagrammable food in cities around the world

What are the most unusual and downright incredible things to eat from around the world? Time Out, the leading global media and entertainment brand that inspires and enables people to make the most of the city, reveals extraordinary dishes and where to get them – from a giant raindrop cake to a juicy rattlesnake sausage.

A survey by Time Out of 20,000 city dwellers across 18 cities found that 31 percent admit to Instagramming their food. That’s a third of people across cities worldwide who put their camera before their taste buds and who want to know where they can find the most exciting dishes, and take photos of them!

Tania Ballantine, Time Out London Food & Drink editor says: ‘I’m constantly on the hunt for the most delicious, the most exciting, the most surprising dishes; and sometimes ones that look quite extraordinary. Think ants’ eggs (like tiny pearls of fatted rice) or moreish and cheesy “tapioca marshmallows”. London offers some of the world’s most amazing restaurants and so do New York, Tokyo and Paris. That’s why we asked our Time Out colleagues across the globe to reveal some bizarre and extraordinary dishes to help you track down those Instagram-worthy places.’

So, what and where are the most weird and wonderful dishes that make the social media show-off shortlist? Here are Time Out’s favourites to feast your eyes on, from London to New York to Tokyo:

Tapioca marshmallows at London’s Chicama

Chicama’s ‘tapioca marshmallows’ are wonderfully chewy pieces of cooked-down tapioca, a starch made from the root of the cassava plant. The result looks like marshmallows but with a delicious crispy cheesiness (from parmesan). It is this combination of pale marshmallows with red chilli sauce, served on colourful plates that make this a delicious and wonderfully Instagramable dish, that looks a bit like a Miró painting.

Raindrop cake at New York’s Smogasborg

In New York, good old H2O is making waves as the latest social media food trend, in the Japanese dessert known as mizu shingen mochi. This crystalline creation was brought to New York by Darren Wong, who’s dubbed his version the Raindrop Cake. And it does look exactly like a giant drop of water. The orb-like cakes can be sliced like any soft jelly, but will melt if left out for too long – so pictures should be taken quickly! Wong’s version, which is already taking over the feeds of the best foodie Instagram accounts in NYC, is made with water just solidified with agar (a vegetable gelatine) and served over brown sugar syrup and kinako (roasted soy flour).

Go fishing at Tokyo’s Zauo

Tokyo is taking fresh seafood to the next level at Zauo, the restaurant chain where you can catch your own dinner; you’re greeted by a giant, boat-shaped seating area, and surrounding that is a moat teeming with all kinds of fish. Once you’re seated, you’re handed a fishing rod and some bait, and you’re free to ‘go fishing’. Bear in mind, though: there’s no such thing as throwing it back here. If you caught it, you bought it. The only seasonings are salt and lemon, to ensure that the fish’s natural flavour is always to the fore. If you plan to fish, don’t arrive hungry. It can take half an hour before even a small kasago (scorpion fish) shows any interest in your bait. But if you do manage to snag something, you’ll be applauded in front of the whole restaurant.

Pigs’ tails at Lisbon’s  Pigmeu

Pigmeu is the place where our porcine pals rule and where the chefs devote themselves to making the most of the whole animal: loin, shoulder, leg, belly and everything in between. Order pezinhos à coentrada (pig’s trotters with coriander), salada de orelha (pig’s ear salad) or rabinhos de porco molho agridoce – that’s pigs’ tails with sweet and sour sauce (particularly recommended).

Rattlesnake sausage at Los Angeles’s Wurstküche

LA, the spiritual home of weird workouts and fad diets is also host to the wonderful Wurstküche, a ‘purveyor of exotic grilled sausages’. Its two branches not only serve blinding bangers, but they look super-cool too: with coffin-shaped tables and DJ booths. Pick a classic sausage such as a traditional Polish-style kielbasa. Or do your wurst and order something that looks like a perfectly normal hot dog, but which is actually made with rabbit and rattlesnake.

Marie Antoinette’s head at Miami’s Barton G

Owned by Barton G Weiss, an A-list caterer, this unique restaurant serves fabulous American cuisine pimped up with some breath-taking presentation such as popcorn shrimp in a real popcorn box or coconut-cream overflowing from a bathtub, decorated with tiny rubber ducks. The pudding pièce-de-résistance is ‘Marie Antoinette’s head’. Okay, it’s not the unfortunate French aristo’s actual head, but a cake homage that even includes a cotton candy powdered pompadour wig.

Jibarito sandwich at Chicago’s El Nuevo Borinquen

This is an authentic spot to enjoy some real Puerto Rican food: slurp down a café con leche and enjoy a jibarito sandwich. It’s not your run-of-the-mill sandwich: sure, it’s got steak in it, but the meat’s not cradled by slices of bread but arrives between juicy plantains, a member of the banana family.

Stinky tofu at Hong Kong’s street food markets

Who would have thought that the king of Hong Kong’s street food would be a real stinker? ‘Stinky tofu’ is soaked and left to rot in a brine of milk, vegetables and meat for days, weeks or even months. The tofu is then deep fried and dished up with a sweet and spicy sauce. The result: crispy on the outside, a creamy centre and a massive smell. Repulsive to many but loved by millions, it’s delicious!

Blood sausage ‘sundae’ at Seoul’s Dongwonjip

When you order a ‘sundae’ at Dongwonjip, don’t expect something red and sweet with strawberries. The dish might be red, but here it’s blood sausage stuffed with noodles. You can also find a hugely effective hangover cure: the sundaeguk (sundae stew), a simple dish made with pig’s head and small intestines. You’ll feel yourself again in no time.

Creepy-crawlies at Paris’s Le Festin Nu

Le Festin Nu offers the culinarily brave the experience of chowing down on locusts and mealworms, with an accompanying beer, bien sûr. Consumed for decades in Africa and Asia, these critters are prized for their nutritional values, being especially high in protein and low in fat. The crispy shell is reminiscent of a little piece of salty croissant that’s been grilled, and the flavours that emerge from are similar to those of a peanut. Plus, it makes for a proper shocker of an Instagram picture. Bon appétit!

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