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14 Unusual Foods That Are Only For The Brave Of Heart

And stomach. How far will you take your love of food? Know the unknown with the all-new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

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1. Chapulines, aka Fried Grasshoppers

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Chapulines are grasshoppers that have been boiled then fried. The Mexican food tastes like salt and vinegar potato chips and is best enjoyed in a taco with guacamole to glue them all together. The idea of eating an insect might make you squeamish, but the satisfying crunch of a chapulines taco is quite nice. Did you ever put potato chips on your sandwich in school?

2. Century Eggs

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This Chinese delicacy is a duck egg aged for a few months in a paste of quicklime, salt, ash, tea leaves, and rice husks. The flavor could be compared to an "overripe, slightly rotten avocado," with heavy vinegar notes. But hey, age is just a number.

3. Cuy, aka Fried Guinea Pig

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Guinea pig is a traditional food from Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. It's quite similar to a rabbit in size and consistency, and tastes like dark-meat chicken. They are usually served whole and spit-roasted or fried. The best preparation method is a matter of personal taste.

4. Rambutan

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This fruit gets its name from the Malaysian word for hair — and those red-green dreadlocks explain why! The fruit is very similar to the lychee, though it has a less sweet and more acidic taste. The fruit itself is grapelike in consistency and contains a seed that tastes like almond.

5. Milbenkäse, aka Dust Mite Cheese

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This Dutch cheese is made by leaving quark (a close relative of cottage cheese) to ripen in a bed of enzyme-producing dust mites for a full year until it turns into a black nugget. The flavor is pungent and bitter, with a zesty aftertaste that may come from the dust mites eaten on the surface of the cheese. This might be the strangest cheese on earth.

6. Cobra Soup

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Snake soup is a traditional Vietnamese dish turned into a spectacle for travelers. Chefs bring a live snake to the table, and diners are given the opportunity to eat the beating heart out of the chest of the serpent. The snake blood is drained then consumed. Finally, the body is used to create a number of delicacies, including snake soup with fragrant spices. The flavor is earthy and pleasant. And yes, snake tastes like chicken.

7. Rollmop, aka Pickled Rolled Herring

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The rollmop has been a popular food in Northern Europe since medieval times, but the name is German. A rollmop is a raw herring fillet rolled around a savory food, submerged in brine, and pickled. The morsels are eaten plain or on bread and taste of fresh fish and dill brine. Many different variations exist because this fish dish has rolled all around Europe.

8. Drunken Shrimp

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Did we mention the shrimp are alive? These little morsels take a bath in Chinese liquor. They imbibe the booze and get, well, drunk, then they're put into a sauce, which they also drink. Your job is to eat their sauce-drenched bodies when they arrive at your table (but don't worry, they're too drunk to crawl away). The flavor is similar to shrimp sashimi: light, sweet, and smacking of savory, spicy sauce.

9. Durian

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This Singaporean fruit is infamous for its horrific odor, an admixture of gasoline and sweaty feet. The subways even have "No Durians Allowed" warnings posted over entrances. Durian tastes like a pulpy, slightly sweet onion. In short, it's not half bad once you overcome the smell. Durian come in many varieties and flavors, and some are prized. It's got a bad rap, but it might still be worth exploring.

10. Fried Starfish

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This seafood on a stick is a famous food from Beijing's night market. The starfish taste a bit like crab fried to golden perfection. Under the sea, under the sea, somebody meet us, fry us, and eat us, on a stick in Beijing!

11. Pig Trotters

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Pig trotters — aka pigs' feet — may affront the Western palate, but the pork morsels make excellent additions to broths and soups. Many Chinese soups call for trotters, and Japanese ramen as well. The trotters give broth an umami richness that's delicious, the same flavor found in pork belly, bacon, and pork shoulder. Trotters are also an excellent source of collagen, which some believe nourishes the skin and hair. Are pigs' feet the anti-aging miracle cure? Some think so.

12. Casu Marzu, aka Maggot Cheese.

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This traditional Sardinian cheese is famed for its unusual ingredient: live maggots. It's similar to a pecorino, but after maturing, the cheese is placed outdoors so flies can lay eggs inside it. The larvae hatch and feast on the cheese, excreting remains inside the skin. The cheese, when eaten, is seething with live maggots, but the taste is pleasant for cheese lovers — something like a peppery gorgonzola.

13. Scorpions on a Stick

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Eating these arachnid snacks is a pinch! Scorpions on a stick are another famed treat from the Beijing night market. It's fried, crunchy, and tastes like french fries. Those who've tasted variants recommend the smaller scorpions over the large black variety (pictured) which are all shell, no satisfying juices.

14. Turtle and Snake Stew

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Chinese cuisine has long valued the turtle for various nutritional and medicinal properties. Many different turtle recipes exist across regional foods, but soup is the popular dish. These are made with soft or hard shell (pictured) turtles, and may contain pheasant, chicken, or snake as well. The soup tastes like chicken stock but with an additional oaky flavor. The turtle meat itself is dark and gamey but satisfying. It's high time you taste this dish and break out of your gustatory shell.

The adventure begins at the dinner table. Where it ends is up to you.

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