It may be a matter of taste, but the food in some countries can be so out there that it might only seem normal to the people who live there.

At least that’s the premise behind the Quora question, “What food is popular in your country, but unacceptable in others?“From mite-infested cheese to poisonous mushrooms, these foods are both savoury and squirm-worthy, depending on who you ask. Here are a few of our favourites:


Tiny mites infest Mimolette cheese, which helps develop its flavour (Credit: Credit: age fotostock/Alamy)

Tiny mites infest Mimolette cheese, which helps develop its flavour (Credit: age fotostock/Alamy)

Sure, France is famous for its cheese, but Mimolette is in a league of its own due to its unique (and not for the faint-of-heart) aging process. Camille Feghali from Paris described it as: “I come from Lille’s region, northern France, and when I turn old, I look a little rusty. Some uninitiated try my crust, thinking I am like other cheese. If only they knew…”

She then proceeded to post photos of the tiny mites that are given free rein to gnaw on the cheese, leaving little holes throughout the crust. The mites­ help develop the earthy, brothy flavour of the hard cheese, which ages over six to 18 months.

The United States Food and Drug Administration briefly halted the import of the cheese in 2013, due to the possibility of allergic reactions if consumed in large quantities.


Corn originated in Mexico more than 7,000 years ago, so it’s no surprise the country has countless variations on how to cook it. None are quite so unique as huitlacoche, however.

Huitlacoche, or corn smut, is a Mexican delicacy grown with fungus (Credit: Credit: Marvin Dembinsky Photo Associates/Alamy)

“Huitlacoche is corn infested by parasite fungus,” explained Alejandro Reyes from Monterrey, Mexico.

Also known as “corn smut”, the kernels swell into growths that are similar to mushrooms, and are later harvested. When cooked, they take on a woody, earthy flavour.

“It’s usually eaten in quesadillas… I personally don’t like it,” Reyes said.

Southeast Asia

Eggs are a popular breakfast food in many countries, but none are prepared quite like  balut in Southeast AsiaThe breakfast dish is boiled duck embryo, served in the egg.

Balut is a boiled duck embryo seasoned with salt or vinegar, chilies and onions (Credit: Credit: suraark/Getty)

Balut is a boiled duck embryo seasoned with salt or vinegar, chilies and onions (Credit: suraark/Getty)

Alyanna Ghia De Guia from Taguig City, Philippines, describes the best ways to eat it, starting with cracking open the egg, and adding the all-important seasonings. “The most common seasoning is rough sea salt, which the vendor is expected to supply you,” she said. “Otherwise, it’s vinegar spiced with chilies and minced onions, also available from the balut vendor.”

You then enlarge the opening enough to bite off the yolk, and “when you come to the duckling, eat that too,” she added.

“Judging by the reaction of my western friends, it’s quite unacceptable for them to even think about,” said Tran Quyet Thang from Vietnam, currently living in Orlando. “You can find it in most traditional outdoor marketplaces, at every corner of every street in Vietnam. Most Vietnamese have tasted it. Many have it every day. It’s actually quite nutritious, especially for children.”