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Taquiza
Photograph: Courtesy Taquiza

The most out-there dishes in Miami for truly adventurous eaters

From insect tacos and intestine stew to turtle tots, the weirdest things to eat in Miami are also surprisingly delicious

By Luis Gomez
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Local diners don’t shy away from ethnic cuisines. We love our Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Japanese and Greek—the more the merrier, we say with our stomachs. But the moment we hear a Miami restaurant is serving insects or offal (organ meats), we run for the hills, order something safe from our favorite Miami delivery service and vow never to eat out again. While it’s reported that 80 percent of the world’s countries regularly eat bugs and 134 of them eat more offal than we do, we’re just not having it. But, what if we told you some of it as actually delicious? Or that some of these so-called weird foods are made by some of the city’s top chefs? Now that we’ve piqued your interest, why not try something different and slightly unusual? Here, the most unique and wonderfully weird dishes to eat when feeling adventurous.

Most out-there dishes in Miami

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
Photograph: Courtesy Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill

1. Bone marrow with veal cheek marmalade at SUGARCANE raw bar grill

Restaurants Fusion Midtown

Who needs Seville oranges or Meyer lemons when you can make marmalade out of a calf’s cheek? At Sugarcane in Midtown, fatty, gelatinous bone marrow is paired with a savory veal cheek spread. Spread one over the other with the side of toast it’s served with and sprinkle it with sea salt for a meaty take on the classic appetizer. Scoff all you want, but the dish has long been a favorite of chefs and food critics, in addition to customers.

General Tso Gator - Blackbrick Chinese
Photograph: Courtesy Blackbrick Chinese

2. General Tso’s Florida gator at Blackbrick Chinese and Dim Sum

Restaurants Chinese Midtown

Locals will shrug their shoulders at the thought of eating alligator, particularly those born and raised in Florida where there are an estimated 1.25 million gators. These people will tell you it tastes like chicken, only chewier and with a hint of fishy flavor. Most have tried it fried (think gator bites) but we like ours Asian-style in this hoisin-sauce–doused dish that’s sweet, spicy and unexpectedly familiar.

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Crispy ears at Michael's
Photograph: Courtesy Genuine Hospitality/Jackie Sayet

3. Crispy pork ears at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

Restaurants Contemporary American Design District

This bar snack comes highly recommended by the late Anthony Bourdain, who snacked on Michael’s pork ears in an episode of The Layover. The ears are braised and then fried—making them soft and chewy on the inside and firm and crispy on the outside—and finished with a squeeze of lime and a dash of chili seasoning. What comes next? The part where you eat the pork ears and wish you’d given them a chance sooner.

Taquiza
Photograph: Courtesy Taquiza

4. Chapulines (grasshoppers) taco at Taquiza North Beach

Restaurants Mexican North Beach

Looking to liven up your taco Tuesday? Try Taquiza’s grasshopper taco, a hit with regulars and curious customers willing to give the bug craze a go. The crunchy insects are shipped from Oaxaca—where they’re a popular snack—are fried and served inside a stone-ground tortilla with a sprinkling of Tajin and a dollop of guacamole.

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Bakan
Photograph: Courtesy Bakan

5. Escamoles tacos at Bakan

Restaurants Mexican Wynwood

Escamoles are known as “Mexican caviar,” though they’re not exactly fish eggs. These are the tiny eggs of tree ants and they’re just as popular as their Russian counterparts. At Bakan, escamoles are sauteed with butter and shallots to bring out the eggs’ nutty flavor and packed into a blue-corn tortilla with guacamole. Needless to say, the ant eggs are a lighter option than chicken or pork and pair just as well with a margarita.

Venison tartare Ariete
Photograph: Courtesy Blue Shell Media

6. Venison tartare at Ariete

Restaurants Contemporary American West Coconut Grove

This tartare appetizer might be one of your few chances to eat venison around these parts, where game meat is rarely served. But don’t expect Ariete, known for its innovative cuisine, to ease you into trying the delicacy. Here, the venison is served raw, minced and mixed with shallots, capers and a black-garlic aioli. Don’t worry, you’re in good hands when Michael Beltran is at the helm. The chef opts for a lean cut in order to avoid any unnecessary gaminess.

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Aromas del Peru
Photograph: @Jholano

7. Anticuchos at Aromas Del Peru - Coral Gables

Restaurants Peruvian Coral Gables

For some, the thought of eating a baby calf’s heart might conjure up images of Khaleesi gnawing at a stallion’s raw heart in Game of Thrones. But in reality, Aromas Del Peru’s anticuchos (veal hearts) are far less barbaric than the Dothraki version. The traditional Peruvian appetizer features diced cuts of meat that are marinated in aji panca for 24 hours and then grilled on a skewer. They’re light and shareable, and no one will really know what they’re eating.

Smart Bites, Cricket Burger
Photograph: Courtesy Smart Bites/Mari Vila

8. Cricket burger at Smart Bites

Restaurants Organic Allapattah

Chances are you won’t even notice you’re eating Pinocchio’s pal based on this off-menu burger’s flavor alone. It tastes more like a veggie patty than anything made with meat—let alone an insect. Smart Bites to Go grounds the crickets, mixes them into a beef patty and then tops the whole thing with chipotle mayo and avocado, making the bugs even harder to detect. Feeling really daring? Order yours with a bonus sprinkling of whole crickets on top.

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Lutong Pinoy Filipino Cusine
Photograph: Darren Mendoza

9. Dinuguan at Lutong Pinoy Filipino Cuisine

Restaurants Filipino North Miami Beach

Pig’s blood isn’t just for satanic rituals or strange heavy metal concerts. It can also be used to make sausages and for soups such as dinuguan, a classic Filipino dish. Lutong Pinoy does theirs a little differently, opting for pork meat instead of pork blood and organs as most traditional restaurants serve. Ask nicely, however, and you might get the real deal.

10. Goat’s head stew at Chez Le Bebe

Restaurants Creole Buena Vista

You know a dish is really unique when Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods features it. Miami’s most famous Haitian restaurant is renowned for its goat’s head stew that’s made with a whole roasted goat’s head (teeth and all!) and then placed in a large vat of vegetables and spices to simmer for hours. People line up to eat it on the weekends—just don’t come looking for this soup at lunch or dinner time. Goat’s head stew is a breakfast thing.

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11. Turtle chowder at Green Turtle Inn

Restaurants Seafood

A popular pit spot on the drive from Miami to Key West, this roadside cafe has been making turtle chowder since it opened in 1947. The recipe has remained fairly true to the original except for the namesake protein, which, after becoming endangered, switched from sea turtles to farm-raised, freshwater snapping turtles. Those interested in eating turtle can order the turtle chowder with pepper sherry or, for something even more unusual, turtle tots. Expect the meat to have a beef-like flavor to it.

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