Thai food should be synonyms of unique cuisine, which is full of the concoction of recipes and assorted ingredients. However, some unique Thai foods are weird but delicious; you will be amazed at the sweet taste of grasshoppers and scorpions when you gobble them. Thai food has a lot of dishes that feature one or two spine-tingling ingredients that make the food weird; ingredients like rats, bugs, cockroaches, lizards, insects, ant eggs, green or red Thai curry, and many more are used in preparing some of the foods. Here, we present our 14 best and bizarre Thai food just for you:
Unusual Thai Food to Eat
1. Larb Leuat Neua (Raw Beef with Uncooked Blood)
If you thought you were manly for ordering your beef rare at the local steakhouse, well you’re nothing compared to this. Larb Leuat Neua is served completely RAW. The chef of this dish doesn’t do the sensible thing of putting it over a flame to kill the bacteria Just to one-up their western counterparts, larb leuat neua is served with a healthy dollop of uncooked blood. That’s right. To go along with the uncooked meat comes uncooked blood! For adventure food lovers it is a gem but normal people refer to it as unusual food to eat in Thailand.
2. Malang Tod (Fried Insects)
Malang tod is an unusual Thai food consisting of a variety of fried insects such as crickets, beetles, worms, and grasshoppers. These insects once fried are traditionally served with a bit of pepper and soy sauce or fish sauce. This dish is very nutritious because the insects are a great source of protein. The flavors and textures are best described as nutty, salty, and crunchy. Malang tod often paired with liquor or beer and it is usually eaten as an afternoon snack. Some of the most popular types of Malang tod include silkworms (hon Mhai), waterbugs (Maeng da), and grasshoppers (takatan).
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3. Gong Chae Nam Pla (Raw Mantis Prawns)
This could be one of the most intimidating and strangest Thai dishes you’ll ever eat. When we say intimidating, well its better if you take a look for yourself. Be sure not to get an accidental piercing as you try to slurp up the meat, or you might find yourself making an unplanned trip to the nearest hospital.
4. Hon Mhai (Silk Worms)
Hon Mhai is a traditional one of the weird Thai foods that’s especially popular in Bangkok. It’s made by deep-frying silkworms, then seasoning them with salt, pepper, and sometimes a secret sauce that’s prepared by the vendor, because the snack is usually sold from street carts. Once fried, the silkworms turn crunchy and greasy, while the flavor is sometimes described as slightly bitter. Hon Mhai silkworms are prized because they’re rich in protein and some believe that they have medicinal properties.
5. Mok Huak (Developing Tadpoles)
Eating a plate of developing tadpoles may scare you but when they are season with pepper it becomes one of the favorite dishes of many Thai people. For them, they’re shaped somewhat like a small fish. Except that some of them might have started growing legs and feet. But then the smell hits you. And boy does it hit hard. The unusual dish in Thailand is coated with a generous serving of fermented fish sauce, and any determination you had 10 seconds ago to conquer this dish just went right out the window.
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6. Rod Duan (Bamboo Worms)
These look absolutely disgusting, if you let your mind run wild, you could conceivably come up with a hundred different guesses of what they actually are. But if you don’t make that amateur mistake and quickly stuff one into your mouth, you’ll find that they actually make decent finger food. Paired with some Singha, these can match up to Doritos or Pringles. Almost.
7. Baak Bpet (Fried Duck Beaks)
When we were young, we were taught not to waste any food as there are children across the world who are starving. Logical fallacy aside, the Thai people seem to have taken that saying very close to heart. Here, every part of the duck is considered fair game, including its beak apparently. Grilled over a hot flame, the beak is marinated with soy sauce before being served. Again, this is one of the strangest Thai dishes that is supposed to taste pretty good! That is, based on the word of the only 2 people in the world who have managed to ignore how weird it is to have a duck’s beak on your dinner plate.
You’ll need to be careful on this one, make sure that the vendor has removed the sting out of the tail of the scorpion. (it contains venom which is unlikely to be covered in your travel insurance). A horrible, bitter aftertaste soon ensues, making you question yourself for the 10th time that night, wondering “why the hell did I do this again?” Ask for the scorpions to be alive for those who want to appear extra macho. That’s right, in this day and age where everything can be found on the internet, you need a way to stand out. It’s time to go big or go home.
9. Takatan (Grasshoppers)
Many people around the actually eat grasshoppers for nutrition value you’ll be surprised to know that! Fried grasshoppers, known as takatan, are a crunchy delight loved by locals for their nutritional value that is high in protein and low in calories. This bizarre Thai food is found widely throughout Thailand, sold in street food carts and restaurants, also among many other edible insects such as crickets, silkworms, and waterbugs. Close your eyes and give them a try!
10. Goong Ten (Dancing Shrimp)
If I suggested you to something as “dancing shrimp”, what would you think I’m talking about? A club perhaps? Or maybe a local fast-food joint that attempted to have a memorable name? Well in Bangkok, it’s none of the above. Goong Ten, or dancing shrimp, is a bizarre food dish in Thailand where the cook will season the live shrimp in the local Thai style. Expect lots of fish sauce, coriander, onions, chili, and lime juice. It earns its name when you spray lime juice on top of the poor shrimp, as they inexplicably start to jump about in a complete frenzy. Most of the Goong Ten shops will give you a covered bowl to ensure that your lunch doesn’t just start hopping away.
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11. Luu Muu (Raw Pig’s Blood)
This is kind of most bizarre food to eat in Thailand which you’ll need an iron stomach and an absence of common sense to try. Combined with a spice mixture Luu Muu is raw pigs’ blood served with noodles. It’s just like your regular Thai bolognese sauce. Except that your ordinary bolognese sauce isn’t trying to kill you. If you think I’m exaggerating? According to Bangkok-based veterinarian Dr. Daniel Schar, the consumption of raw pig’s blood may cause “Streptococcus suis infection” which “may result in a fatal outcome in upwards of 15-20 percent of cases”. You might want to say your prayers and your last words before you try this one.
12. Larb Mote Daeng (Red Ants Eggs)
Do you know on the planet at a rough 10,000 trillion ants live? Yes! A BBC Four documentary has suggested that the total weight of ants on the planet is roughly equal to the total weight of humans. This got us thinking, if we could feasibly eat ants, we’d have found the one-stop solution to world hunger. The smart folks in Thailand have been one step ahead of us this whole time. Larb mote Daeng, or red ants and ant eggs, is one of the weirdest food in Thailand that surprisingly tastes better than it sounds or looks. We have a sneaking suspicion that you might actually like this dish at the end of the day if you can just conveniently forget that you’re scooping up a portion of ants’ eggs onto your spoon.
13. Mang Da (Waterbugs)
Mang Da looks like over-sized, mutated cockroaches, but I can confirm that they’re not. They are called Mang Da Na in Thai and apparently are the biggest kind of water bug there are. This weird Thai food has a distinct fragrance that made them a nice ingredient for other dishes; such as Papaya Salad, various Nam Prik or Chili Paste, or Som Tam, and you’ll also find Nam Pla Mang Da or Fish Sauce with Mang Da fragrance. You can find boiled or steamed Meng Da in a fresh market too, ready to go into Nam Prik or Thai Chili Paste dishes. While the males are used as an ingredient and Mang Da females are deep-fried.
14. Kai Khao (Balut)
Made popular in the Philippines, somehow that infamous Balut has found its way to the streets of Bangkok as well. For the uninitiated, this is a fertilized duck egg that has a formed embryo within its shell. This one is definitely not for the weak-hearted. What most people do when they try a really exotic food for the first time is to close their eyes and devour it in quickly. This not only shortens the suffering but also prevents you from involuntarily gagging or throwing up by cutting out any visuals. Don’t think you can get away with this trick when try khai khao though. The fertilized embryo means that you’ll be crunching your way through several unmistakable textures, including bones and feathers. Take a deep breath and good luck. You’ll need it for this one.
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