When most people think of adventure travel, their minds immediately go to extreme sports, extreme conditions, or unstable environments. And while skydiving over mountains and traveling to war-torn countries certainly qualify as adventurous — even dangerous — some of the most adrenalin-producing experiences in the world can come for the traveler at mealtime.
From experimental cuisine that involves insects to a terrifying ascent to a Chinese teahouse, here are six of the most adventurous eating experiences in the world.
Witchetty Grubs, Australia
Head to the Land Down Under for an insect meal that is definitely not for the faint of heart, mouth, or stomach. Witchetty grubs are ghost moth larvae, and they were once an important part of food gathering for many Australians and aboriginal people.
Eaten live, raw, or barbecued, the witchetty grub is mostly eaten as a novelty now, although if you ever find yourself lost in the bush and in need of some solid and reliable protein, you’d be lucky to happen upon some.
The Huashan Teahouse, China
Much more than just a simple hike to a teahouse, getting to the Huashan Teahouse requires traveling to the top of Mt. Huashan – at over 7,000 feet above sea level.
The trip up takes a long time and it’s actually quite physically demanding, but it’s the claim on your nerves that’s the true test.
Once a tram drops you at the path, you tiptoe sideways, unharnessed against a cliff face atop tiny, wooden planks that are nailed into the rock. There is no fence or rail to guard against your back to keep you from plummeting to your death, thousands of feet below.
From there, you transition to a steep staircase with only a small, rickety fence to offer protection. Once you reach the top, the tea is truly delicious, but then you have to make your way back down. It’s truly one amazing set of stairs!
While it may not seem all that exotic or adventurous to some, moonshine has a reputation for danger that precedes its prohibition era days. After all, the straight stuff has been credited with making folks go blind.
While an honest moonshiner will make sure to never cut his swill with anything other than water (and a proud moonshiner won’t even do that), stories have been relayed over the years of dishonest moonshiners cutting their liquor with turpentine or drain cleaner, and because moonshine is so toxic to your taste buds anyway, you wouldn’t know it was poison from the taste.
If you’re looking for a dangerous drinking experience closer to home, book a great flight on Flights.com to the backwoods of Kentucky, West Virginia, or Tennessee.
If someone offers you moonshine, it would be impolite to refuse, but if it’s a bad batch, it will make last year’s flu look like a free, all-inclusive Bahamas vacation. You may also wish to read up on these tips for international intoxication!
Dinner in the Sky, Brussels
Developed in Brussels, a Dinner in the Sky experience allows you and 21 of your friends to eat a meal on top of a suspended platform that sits about 180 feet in the air.
The experience offers a stunning view of the city below, and it comes with a photographer, a waiter, a chef, and an entertainer, just in case eating a meal in the middle of the sky — without walls around you — wasn’t interesting enough.
You can pre-book your taxi for Brussels online.
Fugu, or puffer fish, is one of the most dangerous foods human beings can consume. Filled with lethal amounts of a tetrodotoxic poison, if fugu isn’t prepared properly, death by asphyxiation is a common result.
If you’re going to eat fugu, make sure you choose a chef who has been through the certification process — an arduous ordeal that takes around three years and has a very high rate of failure, which means very few chefs are licensed to keep you safe while you eat it.
Once you’ve located a reputable chef, keep in mind that some prefer to leave a bit of the poison in the flesh so that you can feel dizzy, numb or tingly around the mouth.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives
While it claims to be 100 percent safe, there’s nothing like dining beneath the visible sea to make you wonder how thick the glass of your aquarium-like walls actually is, and whether or not it’s been built to fully withstand the pressure.
Located on the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, this restaurant features a 270-degree view of the sea above you. You enter the restaurant via a staircase at the end of a jetty, and if you want to stay all night, you can rent the restaurant as a guest room, as well.
Travel the world with adventure by setting out to experience food and drink with danger.
Whether you’re willing to try the most poisonous fish in the world, or you want to dine under the sea, these restaurants, foods, and drinks will test your mettle.
In Mexico we normally eat fried crickets with pepper and spices. They’re yummy !!!
Fried crickets hey!? Sounds like it has potential :D! Lol though nothing could be more delish than my good old Aussie witchetty grubs! Aussie pride!
I’m not that adventurous in the foods I eat, but I love being adventurous in the locations! The underwater restaurant or the dinner in the sky sound like fun!
The adventurous locations are definitely on my radar!! It would be so cool to eat in what’s essentially an aquarium!
Haha great post Megan! I want to try some of these places out (although I will pass on eating witchetty grubs in Australia, anyway, I probably unknowingly ate them when I was a kid).
That restaurant in the sky is crazy, although I don’t know if I would like to be up there on a super windy day!
Thanks Cyra! Lol I’d say unknowingly eating grubs as a kids counts – you can tick that one off the list :D
I don’t think I could risk trying Fugu…even if I had the best chef!
It’s definitely a risk – if you ever did you would definitely want a qualified chef!
I would love to have a meal inside of the under-water restaurant in the Maldives! The witchetty grubs, not so much…
I know that in some parts of the Southern US, people sometimes eat dirt! It actually has a name, geopaghy,and you can read a fascinating account of it here: http://www.oxfordamerican.org/articles/2010/mar/09/wide-world-eating-dirt/. It could be another one to add to the adventurous eater’s list!
Lol I guess witchetty grubs aren’t really appealing to anyone :D
Eat dirt?! Strange!! Lol I did that as a child but hadn’t heard of it past age 4! Will check out the article – thanks! That definitely qualifies as another adventurous eating experience!!
I usually enjoy trying local food and also stuff that may seem weird to my usual tastes.
I must admit that I don’t know if I’d be so adventourous to dare trying something on your list… but it’s been a very interesting reading anyway ;)
Thanks Serena! Well even if you don’t get around to any of the above, eating local food is one of the best adventures you can have while traveling. Especially if you’re in Asia!!
Mount Huashan frightened me. I stood there for a very long time trying to convince myself to go up the steps to the tea house. But the steps were so crumbling and full of dirt AND I was still new to my slip and fall down the Longsheng rice terraces, that fear won and I just took pictures from below.
Oh my, the grub is kind of scary, haha. That underwater restaurant looks so neat! But also scary! :) That dinner and the sky sounds like a super cool experience!
Lol if you close your eyes you won’t even know what you’re eating :D
What about that penis restaurant in China? disgusting.
Lol I can’t say Ive ever heard of that one!!
The first 5 are properly treacherous, but what’s #6 doing there? That’s fine dining LOL!
I don’t know there’s a teahouse on top of Huashan. It used to be a secluded mountain where Kungfu masters and Taoist monks go for “intensive training”.
Lol it is indeed fine dining – though could count as treacherous if a shark swam by! Lol just don’t go hitting your knife up against the glass :D!
Do you know where I could find witchetty grubs in OZ? I would LOOOOOOVE to try them! I would probably try everything you metioned, I love food and adventure!
Generally only in Central Australia so you’ll have to plan a trip out to the outback to try your luck. They taste like scrambled eggs!
I want to dine beneath the ocean or in the sky! Or at that teahouse in the mountains. I’ll even try the moonshine! But there’s no way I’m eating grubs or bugs or whatever lol.
Lol It’ll be interesting once I get to SouthEast Asia – I’m not too keen on eating bugs either but sounds like they have a whole range for me over there to try!
I’ve hear about this teahouse plenty of times because the walk is so scary but would love to try it one day …
the Witchetty Grubs looks pretty gross!
The grubs are pretty much picked straight out of the bushes in Central Australia lol kind of tastes like scrambled eggs :D
Yup, I agree even the eating and drinking can be adventurous. I remember when I was at KL airport, I ordered a vegetarian dish, but I got meat pieces in the gravy. Not that I am a pure vegetarian, but how can you put meat pieces in a vegetarian dish?
Damn – well that’s definitely adventurous for a vegetarian; I can’t say I’ve heard of meat pieces in gravy before even in Vegetarian dishes!
Well you’ve finally done it! Whenever I read your posts I am always rushing to add new places to my ever growing list. But not this time! The only place I’m keen out of these is the Maldives restaurant. Great read as always.
Lol I’ll have to do better on my next post then – can’t stop that bucket list from growing :D!
Thanks Lyn for stopping by – glad you enjoyed the article :)
I know about the fugu fish! I’ve seen people eating it with a little of poison just to know how it feels to be close to death.
Wow eating the worlds most poisonous fish WITH a little bit of poison?! That’s pretty crazy!! I would probably try fugu lol though I don’t know if I would be game enough to add extra poison :D
Hope they all survived!!
Wow, these are all very adventurous for sure! You prove eating and drinking can be that way too!
Adventure is all around us :D! Just have to get creative with it sometimes!
I tried fired insects in Thailand but I don’t think I would have the insect meal from Australia! That’s another level haha
Lol we Aussies are hard core :D
Haha I started out reading this like yeah! I’m gunna try it all! But straight up the witchety grubs turned me ;-) I could do the underwater dinner in the Maldives though!
Lol the witchetty grubs seem to be the single item which separates the hardcore from the rest of us lol I’m surprised I haven’t yet seen a Bear Grylls episode of him eating grubs in Australia!
I doubt I’d have the stomach for many of these! While I was in Queensland lots of local people took delight in telling backpakers to lick ants bums. Sounds ridiculous but there is a particular type of ant and when you lick them they taste like lime! Weirdly, the taste was quite nice :)
Lol I can’t say I’ve ever heard of licking ants bums! That might be a Queensland thing lol!! Will have to keep that in mind if I’m ever in QLD with a craving for lime!
In New Zealand, some people (not me!) eat huhu grubs, which I guess are kind of like the witchetty grubs. You’ll never get me eating that kind of thing! Haha. That underwater restaurant looks cool, though.
Lol I’ll have to keep an eye out for huhu grubs when we make it to NZ then – no guarantees they’ll end up in my mouth though :D!
The view from the Teahouse looks amazing!
Doesn’t it! Massive #1 on my adventurous eating and drinking bucketlist!
Amazing article! Moonshine was originally a slang term for high-proof distilled spirits usually produced illicitly, without government authorization.In recent years, however, moonshine has been legalized in various countries and has become a commercial product.
Thanks Mira, glad you enjoyed the post! I didn’t know that Moonshine started out as a slang term – though have been hearing that it’s been legalized in various places.
Crazy stuff right!