9 Gross Foods You Didn't Realize Were Delicious

February 27, 2016

Besides being a Leap Day today is also National Frog Legs Day. Got a hankering for some amphibious grub? Well, we’ve scoured the internet for cuisines from around the globe with foods that may sound revolting at first but taste extraordinary.

So leave your preconceived notions at the door and get ready for a smorgasbord of slimy, slithery, succulent eats. In honor of such a rare celebration here are nine foods that while gross in concept, are delicious in execution.

1. Frog Legs

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You’d never know they came from an amphibian. Photo: @fdkitchen / Instagram

If you love chicken wings, give frogs legs a try – once you get past the fact that you just bifurcated Kermit. Moving past that image, realize that frogs legs have a flavor described best as between catfish and chicken.

While a delicacy throughout much of the world, the Louisiana Creole preparation calls for battering and deep frying the legs with Creole spices. Frying makes everything better.

2. Uni

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It looks AND tastes like a delicacy. Photo @933indigo / Instagram

Some people are averse to fish. Some still may be put off by typical shellfish. Thankfully, Uni is something special. Uni is sea urchins, the adorable prickly purple hedgehogs of the sea. But more specifically, Uni is the animal’s gonads.

Most pleasing as a sushi item, its semi-sweet, briny flavor, and unique texture is great on its own or as an addition to other dishes, particularly pasta.

3. Escargot

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It’s all about how it’s dressed. Photo: @cathy_729 / Instagram

Back in the day, people from Asia to Europe routinely foraged for snails. After brining and starving these defenseless mollusks, our ancestors were ready for a slimy smorgasbord.

Today, they’re farmed on a more wholesome diet of cornmeal, removing the need for the morally questionable preparation phases. Traditionally boiled then baked in garlic butter, these gourmet gastropods have a texture similar to calamari that will have you coming back for more.

4. Chapulines

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Just a few grasshoppers on the guac, NBD. Photo: @thehungryhumans / Instagram

There is a reason grasshoppers are considered the “gateway” insect. Popular in Mexico, chapulines typically are pan-fried until crunchy, then spiced with chili, leaving a flavor best described as nutty. While good on their own they taste great in tacos or really on anything that needs a little added texture and pop of flavor.

5. Shirako

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Awe, it’s weirdly cute. Photo: @coffeejy / Instagram

Meaning “white children,” think of shirako as the opposite of cod roe—which is to say the reproductive organs of male fish. When a sexy ladyfish lays her eggs, a male fish comes along to dust them with his special sauce, which he stores in his gonads. Unless, of course, a fisherman comes along first and cuts said gonads out.

Served both raw and cooked, the Japanese consider these fish-sperm-filled cod sacks an acquired taste akin to aged tuna.

6. Huitlacoche

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Those gnarly looking pieces of corn are pretty tasty! Photo: @cgvaeth / Instagram

Sometimes called “Mexican truffles,” huitlacoche is a fungus that turns normal kernels of corn into freakish-looking franken-kernels. When sliced up and cooked, however, the flavor is described as sweet, savory, and woody with a mushroom-like texture.

They’ve been a staple of Latin American cuisine since the Aztecs and feature prominently in quesadillas, tacos, and other tortilla-based dishes. As a bonus, it’s also known as “corn smut,” which allows you to make all sorts of corny jokes while you’re eating it.

7. Rocky Mountain Oysters

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I don’t care what it is—if it’s fried, I’ll eat it. Photo: @chamindri_ / Instagram

Whether you call them “cowboy caviar,” “Montana tender groins” or Rocky Mountain oysters, there’s no way around that fact that you’re eating a bull’s balls. After the sack – excuse me, “membrane”… is removed, these little delicacies are thinly sliced, breaded and deep fried.

Bull-ballers say that the texture is similar to calamari, and the flavor is somewhere between seafood and beef. You can even get an order at Coors Field while you catch a Rockies game.

8. Balut

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Okay, this one I’m not so sure about. Photo: @starrrnique / Instagram

You like eggs, right? How about duck? Of course! Well, then you’re going to love these embryonic, fertilized duck eggs that are halfway between an adult bird and yolky egg.

Seasoned with a sriracha-like chili sauce, the dish delivers a tasty, compact burst of protein. Cracking open the balut egg is not for the faint of heart, but it is a regular occurrence in the Philippines.

9. Black Ivory Coffee

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First the beans have to travel through an elephant’s rectum, and then it’s delicious! Photo: @sejuns89 / Instagram

You may have heard of Kopi Luwak – coffee made from beans a civet has defecated. And as fancy as that sounds, Black Ivory coffee is coffee that an elephant has pooped out.

Yes, you are drinking elephant dookies, but why? Apparently, proteins left from the coffee cherry’s skin on the coffee bean is an essential contributing factor in overall bitterness.

When digested with an elephant’s stomach acid, more of the protein is eliminated, making for an exceptionally smooth cup. And even though they pay the elephants in peanuts, they have the gall to charge $50 a cup for this crap.