New York City is a town for adventurous eaters

Forget burgers and fries. In New York City, strange foods rule.

Forget burgers and fries. In New York City, strange foods rule. And we’re not talking about off-the-wall pizza combinations or even bone marrow, pig ears and tripe (which some consider extreme foods, but are actually on many menus across the city). 

In a city known for its immigrant cultures, it shouldn’t be too surprising that all kinds of foods are available to anyone looking for them. From fertilized duck eggs to blood jello to python sausage, there’s something for everyone.


Food and travel writer Elyse Pasquale writes Foodie International and has made adventurous eating a career. She says she will try anything. One of her favorite things is balut, or fertilized duck egg, a popular street food in the Philippines are other parts of Southeast Asia. The eggs come in their shells, and depending on how old the it is, they also have a tiny duck embryo inside, littles bones and all, alongside with the yolk.

“There’s a man, a balut man, who sells them basically out of the back of his bike. This is sort of the real deal,” said Pasquale, who also contributes to amNewYork. “It’s very exciting. It’s the scariest looking food. It tastes like a chicken and egg combination. You buy them and they’re still hot.”

Where to get it:

Pig head and brains

Ever wanted to dig into the cavity of a pig’s head with a fork and knife, or even better, with your hands? Inside are brains, of course, but also fatty bits of meat with a surprisingly delicious and delicate flavor. 

At Fatty Cue, the entire head comes with plastic gloves so you don’t make a huge mess of yourself (isn’t that nice of them?) and with sides like bao (steamed buns) and pickles. It’s served on weekends only.

“It was awesome, so fun,” said Justine Sterling, assistant digital editor at Food & Wine magazine of her experience with the pigs head. “It was super creamy and mild.”

More pig brains can be enjoyed inside a taco at La Superior. The serving of the “sesadilla,” inside a comforting vehicle such as a deep-fried taco, helps this one go down more easily. Not everyone can get behind eating out of a pig’s head!

Where to get it:


Have you eaten snake before? Gina Pace, a food and drinks reporter at the NY Daily News, has.

“I had python sausage earlier this year at Plan B … I was interested in the idea the restaurant promotes of the 5th Quarter, food that most people consider worthless but still can be consumed,” she said.

Pace says she won’t be eating much python in the future but that it was cool that she was able to try it.

Where to get it:

Blood jello 

Yes, blood sausage, (or black pudding or blood pudding), is readily available across the city, as some form of it exists in most world cuisines, but blood jello? It can be found at the occasional Chinese and Taiwanese restaurant, but we most recently saw it on the menu at one of the best Sichuan restaurants in Manhattan. If you’re interest is piqued, head to 56th Street for fish filets with pig’s blood jello, among other delicacies.

Where to get it:

Foie Gras donuts

Justin Warner, winner of the eighth season of the Food Network series Food Network Star, created a hit menu item at his Bed-Stuy reastaurant Do or Dine. And no matter your opinion on foie gras production, it’s hard to argue with the creativity and the intensely delicious flavor of the foie gras donut. It’s a match made in grape jelly heaven.

Where to get it:

Live frog

Frog legs are no big thing. They’re served in a high-brow french style at Le Philosophe, with hen of the woods mushrooms and sunchokes, but those are conveniently already cooked and look sort of like a stretched out skinny chicken wing. But deep in Flushing, a restaurant that serves northern Chinese cuisine serves frog straight up. The dish is called sizzling live frog. Get thee to Flushing for a revelatory meal.

Where to get it:

Bull penis and turkey testicles 

These two delicacies are grouped together because if you’re interested, you can get them at the same restaurant. That should be quite the meal!!

Pasquale takes all her out of town guests to Kenka.

“The turkey testicles look like little kidney beans, there are three to a stick and you get two sticks. They have the consistency of little sausages. It’s definitely worth going to,” she said. “The bull penis tastes like beef, with a harder texture.”

Where to get it:

Georgia Kral