Top Weirdest European Foods You Should Try
Here is of the most bizarre foods in the European countries:
If you thought some of the above dishes were a bit nasty, wait until you hear about this one.
Milt is the semen of a male fish. Yep, we’re talking fried sperm.
Milt looks a lot like brains and has the same “creamy” texture. It is very common in the Japanese cuisine, which shouldn’t surprise us because Asians have always been more adventurous when it comes to food, but it’s not something you expect your old Eastern European grandmother to cook for you.
If you think you can stomach this, deep-fried is the way to go. You get to enjoy the nice crunchy breading and the inside doesn’t look as weird, either. It can also be steamed, but only if you can get past that weird texture.
Sweet Poppy Seed Pasta
|Photo: Cook Together|
Pasta is one of those dishes that are always savory and almost never associated with dessert. However, in Eastern Europe there are several recipes that have turned pasta into a sweet dish. This Hungarian recipe is very simple: pasta, butter, lots of poppy seeds and sugar. But hey, if you fail that drug test, don’t blame it on the poppy seeds.
If you don’t like poppy seeds, Hungarians have a similar recipe that uses ground walnuts instead of poppy seeds. Supposedly, it tastes even better if you add some homemade apricot jam to it.
Jewish cuisine has its own sweet pasta recipe, Sweet Kugel, that consists of noodles, eggs, cheese (usually cottage cheese and farmer’s cheese), sugar and raisins. The whole mix is baked into a delicious casserole. A similar recipe can be found in the Romanian cuisine.
While the concept of blood soup isn’t unique to Germany, Schwarzsauer, with its savory flavor, is. Made with lots of pig’s blood (or black pudding), goose giblets, and vinegar, as well as cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and other spices, this specialty from northern Germany is the stuff of vegan nightmares—although vampires, if they existed, would go gaga over it. The good news is that one hearty bowl of Schwarzsauer will take care of your protein needs for the rest of the day. The bad news is that the strong flavor (and aroma) isn’t something that appeals to everybody.
|Photo: Tangled Noodles|
Is the Jewish name for the unhatched eggs found inside just-slaughtered chickens. Although it is one of those foods nobody talks about anymore, it was once something common in the households of Romanian country people.
Children would gather in the kitchen around the table, while their mother removes the insides of the bird and looks for “hidden treasures” or chicken caviar, as some might call them. They have a beautiful orange color and the average size is that of a cherry tomato. They can be fried or added to soups and have a slightly stronger flavor than any other cooked egg yolks and a very silky texture. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
Caraway Seed Soup
Commonly found in Slovak and Hungarian cuisines, this is a dish that requires very few ingredients: water or chicken broth, caraway seeds and flour. Hungarians also add their signature spice, paprika. It is the perfect example of a meal born out of necessity, when there was nothing else to put on the table. You can probably make this soup for less than $1 if you use water instead of chicken broth. It can be served with croutons or dumplings.
For those not familiar with caraway (also known as meridian fennel), it is that pungent spice found in rye bread. It is strong tasting, so a soup that has caraway as a base ingredient is quite a challenge for most people.
Caraway is also known to have digestive properties, so a bowl of this soup might help an upset stomach.
|Photo: Serious Eats|
Any list about unusual European foods should include that old Scottish standby, haggis. Scotland’s national dish is made of meaty pudding filled with sheep liver, heart, lungs and other organs mixed with oats and beef, and then spiced up with cayenne pepper, onions, and salt before being stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled.
Haggis doesn’t deserve the odd reception it often receives internationally, or by first-time visitors to Scotland. Sure, it doesn’t look like an ornate rose sitting there on your plate next to some mashed up turnip and potatoes, but it’s incredibly stout fare for stout people living in a rugged country.
These days, synthetic casings often replace the sheep’s stomach, and vegetarian haggis and gluten-free haggis options have hit the market as well—although traditional haggis recipes still abound.
Fermented hákarl shark meat isn’t for everyone, although this traditional method for preparing Greenland shark has plenty of diehard fans. Once the shark has been caught and dispatched, the carcass is buried under gravel and stones for a few months. It’s then uncovered and hung to dry for a couple more months. The end result is a pungent fermented meat (Iceland’s national dish, in fact). If you can get past the powerful aroma, you might actually enjoy it…or maybe not. That all depends on the fortitude and willingness of your stomach.
Canned Bear and Reindeer
|In Finland, you can eat processed reindeer or bear coming straight out of a can, which isn’t all that dissimilar from snacking on canned tuna. With plenty of game in the cold reaches of Finland, it stands that there’ll be a fair amount of game meat to go around. And if it can’t all be grilled or roasted, why not can some of it? When you want your meat from a tin, and you’ve had your fill of tuna or spam, bear or reindeer (not the magical, flying kind, hopefully) can work as a spread for your bread, or a protein source to plop into a thick stew.|
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