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15 Foods Americans Hate But The Rest of the World Loves

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Food preferences vary widely across cultures, and what one culture may find delicious, another might deem unpalatable. In this guide, we delve into the intriguing phenomenon of foods that Americans tend to dislike but are beloved by people in other parts of the world. From pungent fermented dishes to exotic meats and unusual flavor combinations, these foods challenge American taste buds and offer a fascinating exploration of culinary diversity.

1. Licorice

Licorice Allsorts
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What if candies had the flavor of…dirt? Licorice, a dark candy flavored with anise extract, is a beloved treat in Europe and Asia. But for many Americans, its pungent licorice root flavor lands with a thud.

2. Natto

Natto
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Natto, fermented soybeans with a strong aroma and sticky texture, is a breakfast staple in Japan. Packed with protein and probiotics, natto boasts health benefits. Yet, its unique properties can be a turn-off for some Americans unaccustomed to fermented foods.

3. Offal

Offal
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Believe that muscle meat is the only source of deliciousness? In many cultures, offal – organ meats like liver, kidney, and tripe – are prized for their flavor and richness. While Americans might stick to familiar cuts, offal dishes are a culinary adventure waiting to be savored.

4. Blood Sausage

Blood Sausage with tomato
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Blood sausage, a sausage made with cooked blood that’s seasoned and stuffed into casings, might sound intimidating. But popular in Europe and Asia, it’s a delicious way to utilize all parts of the animal. Consider it a tasty meatloaf flavored with blood! 

5. Durian

Durian
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Durian, a Southeast Asian fruit with a pungent, garlicky odor, is infamous for its ability to clear a room. But get past the smell, and a creamy, custard-like fruit awaits. Durian aficionados adore its complex flavor, but its aroma can be a deal-breaker for some Americans.

6. Stinky Tofu

Stinky Tofu
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Stinky tofu, a fermented tofu dish popular in China and Taiwan, lives up to its name. Soaked in brine and then deep-fried, it releases a powerful odor. Don’t let the smell deter you! The contrasting textures and savory flavors make it a favorite street food.

7. Casu Marzu

Casu Marzu, sardinian cheese with worms
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For the truly adventurous, there’s casu marzu, a Sardinian cheese infested with live maggots. The maggots break down the cheese’s fat, creating a creamy texture some find irresistible. This might be a bit too extreme for most Americans, but it’s a delicacy in its homeland.

8. Surströmming

Surströmming
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Surströmming, fermented Baltic herring from Sweden, is notorious for its pungent, overpowering odor. The fermentation process creates a strong smell that can linger long after the can is opened. While some Swedes enjoy the unique flavor, its intensity can be a major hurdle for most Americans.

9. Seaweed Salad

Seaweed Salad
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Forget slimy green pool scum! Seaweed salad, a staple in Japan and Korea, boasts a refreshing crunch and salty-umami flavor. Packed with vitamins and minerals, seaweed salad is a healthy and delicious addition to any meal.

10. Chicken Feet

Chicken Feet
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Chicken feet might seem strange, but in many Asian cultures, they’re considered a delicacy. Braised or deep-fried, they offer a textural contrast of tender meat and crunchy cartilage, bursting with savory flavor.

11. Century Egg

Century Egg
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Century eggs, a Chinese delicacy, are preserved duck or chicken eggs aged for weeks or months. The aging process creates a dark, jelly-like consistency and a strong ammonia-like aroma. While some find the smell off-putting, others appreciate the rich, creamy taste.

12. Balut

balut
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Balut, a fertilized duck egg incubated for 14-21 days, is a popular street food in Southeast Asia. The partially developed chick inside is eaten whole. While the concept might be unfamiliar to Americans, the combination of creamy yolk and savory meat is enjoyed by many.

13. Menudo

Potato soup with lentils
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Menudo, a traditional Mexican soup, features cow’s stomach lining, tripe, and hominy in a rich, spicy broth. It might sound unusual, but the offal becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender after hours of simmering.

14. Stinky Tofu’s Cousin

Crispy Tofu Stir-Fry with vegetable
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Nattokinase, a fermented soybean dish from Japan, shares some similarities with natto. Edamame beans are fermented with a different bacteria strain, resulting in a less pungent aroma and a stringy, slimy texture. But like natto, nattokinase is a good source of protein and probiotics.

15. Bird’s Nest Soup

Bird's Nest Soup
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Bird’s Nest Soup, a Chinese delicacy made with edible bird’s nests, is known for its extravagant price tag. The nests, typically from swiftlets, are dissolved in a broth and often include other ingredients like shark fin. While some find the texture and taste underwhelming, it’s a symbol of status and good fortune in Chinese culture.

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