When you think of weird foods around the world, your mind inevitably goes to things you wouldn’t eat, probably insects. If you’ve never eaten insects you won’t know how they taste, but I think we can all assume that most insects aren’t sweet. With these facts in mind, it is reasonable to conclude that desserts aren’t the first thing you think of when you think of weird food.
Yet, as you’re about to see, desserts aren’t always delectable or delicious. Well, most of these dessert are delectable and/or delicious, at least in their own ways, but they are more obviously strange. Many of them have ingredients that look like insects – and one of them even centers around insects.
1. Cendol in Malaysia
On the surface, a serving of Malaysian cendol might look like bowl of worm soup. The worm-like noodles are made of out food-colored jelly, however, while the broth is a sweet, delicious coconut milk. I don’t think I have to name the substance the red beans in many variations of cendol look like, but trust me: They taste absolutely heavenly.
No, that’s not worm soup. Icemoon via Flickr
2. Jalebi in South Asia
If you’re cool with desserts that kind of look like worms, head on over to South Indian countries like India and Pakistan and try jalebi, a dessert that actually looks like worms. Thankfully, jalebi is not only made from deep friend, highly sweetened batter, but batters that deep fried to a hard consistency that belies its wormy shape.
Found throughout south Asia, Jalebi looks like worms, but tastes like heaven. Amna kh via Wikimedia Commons
3. Creme de Abacate in Brazil
When you think of avocados – certainly, mashed avocados – you think of guacamole, a dish that is delightful, but about as far from dessert as you can get. If you head a little (OK, a lot) further south of the (Mexican) border to Brazil, however, you can try creme de abacate, a guacamole-like avocado cream that is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth. Flavored with condensed milk and lime juice, and topped with nuts and coconut flakes, creme de abacate is the sweet cousin guacamole never knew it had.
4. Chocolate-Covered Crickets in Thailand
If you’ve ever been to Thailand, it will come as no surprise to you that one of the items on our list of the world’s weirdest desserts comes from here. To be sure, chocolate-covered crickets are probably not the strangest food item you can purchase in a given Thai market, let alone the sweetest. Still, as insect-based food in Southeast Asia goes (the wormy appearance of cendol, of course, notwithstanding), chocolate-covered crickets are probably the most acceptable, if you can even use the idea of acceptability to describe something so profoundly bizarre.
Would you dare?. Ines Hedegus-Garcia via Flickr
5. Hazelnut Chocolate Pasta in Italy
It’s no secret that Italy is home to some of the most delicious desserts in the world and indeed, some of the most delicious food. Interestingly, Italy’s entry on this list involves an odd juxtaposition of two of its most prized culinary exports: Nutella and pasta. Technically, Pasta al Gianduiotti doesn’t have Nutella in it, but rather uses chocolate and hazelnuts – Nutella’s main ingredients – as a sweet sauce for otherwise savory angel hair pasta. You can click here to find a recipe for Pasta al Gianduiotti or, absent that, imagine a bowl of spaghetti next time you indulge in Nutella.