One of the great joys of exploring other cultures is seeing how other people eat — but sometimes, you need a strong stomach to deal with what you find. Around the world, people eat fried tarantulas, sheep's heads, duck embryos, and tons of other weird items. Here are the strangest and most revolting food items on Earth.

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Top image: Deep-Fried Tarantula, by Darcy McCarty/Flickr.com

Balut, a developed duck embryo boiled alive and eaten in its egg. Really common in Southeast Asia and often served with beer.

The ideal balut is 17 days in the Philippines, but Vietnamese people prefer the 19-21 days old ones.

(via Aterux and Marshall Astor)

Casu Marzu, (means rotten cheese) a traditional sheep milk cheese from Sardinia, Italy. The cheese makers set the cheese outside and allow cheese flies to lay eggs inside of it. The larvae are breaking down of the cheese's fats and fermenting it.

It's unnecessary to clear those white worms from the cheese before consuming, but some people do it. The Casu Marzu was banned for years and only sold on the black market, but few years ago it was declared a traditional food and now it's legal to produce and sell them.

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(via Shardan)

Mongolian Boodog: a marmot or goat, cooked within its own skin with hot stones in the stomach

Kiviak, an Inuit food from Greenland

The recipe is really simple: put 300-500 Auks into the hollowed-out body cavity of a seal and press out as much air as possible. Cover the seal with a large rock pile for 3-18 months and eat the Auks raw.

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(via OddityCentral)

"Thousand-Year-Old Egg" from China, made by preserving eggs in a mixture of ash, salt, quicklime, rice hulls and clay for several weeks (or months)

(via irrational_cat, Kowloonese and tracyhunter)

Fried tarantulas (called a-ping), size of a human palm, Cambodia

(via viajar24h and Adam Cohn)

Smalahove (also called skjelte), a traditional (smoked or dried) Norwegian dish made from a sheep's head. Originally it was eaten by the poor only.

(via PerPlex)

Escamole, ant larvae from the roots of Agave tequilana or mescal plants in Mexico

(via Cvmontuy)

Pig Blood with bread for breakfast

In Hungary when a pig is slaughtered at the break of dawn, the blood is fried with onions and served for breakfast.

(via flyerz)

Sannakji is a raw Korean dish that consists live octopuses with sesame and sesame oil. It looks safe but the little tentacles may choke you to death if theyet stuck in your throat.

(via LWY)

Tuna Eyeball from Japan

(via Tacky Raccoons)

Khash, a traditional dish in the Caucasus, South Asia and Southeastern Europe, made from cow's feet, head and stomach

(via Chaojoker)

Durian, the "king of fruits" with edible, but bad-smelling flesh. It's banned from some hotels and public transport vehicles in southeast Asia.

(via dphotographer)

Ikizukuri, a sashimi from fishes, octopus, shrimp or lobster, but fishes are used in most cases.

The chef fillet it without killing the animal and served on a plate with its sliced flesh and still-beating heart.

Having banned in several countries including Germany and Australia.

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(via i-bright)

Blodplättar (Swedish) or veriohukainen (Finnish), blood pancakes made of pork blood, milk, rye flour, dark molasses, onion and butter

(via Lapplänning)

Cockscombs

(via Wikimedia Commons and Ideas in Food)

Fruit Bat Soup, a common food in Palau, Micronesia

(via The Australian and anhonioo)

Hákarl, fermented and dried (for 4-5 months) Greenland shark or sleeper shark

(via Chris73 and just.in)

Ox Penis, eaten by itself or in soups in some parts of Asia

(via Bizarre Foods)

Insects and worms

Chahuis (or xamoes), edible beetles from Mexico. There are 88 species (primarily their larvae) that are eaten in the Central American country.

Deep-fried insects in Bangkok, Thailand. From the back-left to the front: locusts, bamboo-worms, moth chrysalis, crickets, scorpions, diving beetles and giant water beetles.

Bamboo worms in Bangkok, Thailand.

Some larvae sold by a street vendor in Jinan, China

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(via Helene Combes, Takoradee 1 – and Steven G. Johnson)

More reading: The strangest alcoholic beverages on Earth.