We’re pretty sure in New York City you can get any food you can dream up, and we credit that to the melting pot that the city is and its population that likes to push the boundaries. Here are 10 of the weirdest and most bizarre foods available here that will probably make you pucker up (or for some, make your taste buds water).
1. Live Octopus at Sik Gaek
Korean restaurant Sik Gaek has two locations, one in Woodside and one in Flushing. The real delicacy is the live octopus. Yes, it’s served to you squirming. People describe it as “chewy,” “slimy,” but also for some, their “favorite dish.” Make sure to call in advance if you want to order it, as it’s not always available.
2. Grasshopper Tacos at Toloache
Elsewhere around the world, eating insects isn’t that weird. With so many tasty accoutrements in the grasshopper tacos at Taloache, you won’t even notice the flavor, except for the crunchiness. The equally insecty cricket tacos were once offered at Antojeria La Popular but that spot has now closed.
3. Chicken Gizzards at the Golden Mall, Flushing
At the Golden Mall, besides the original location of Xi-An Famous Foods, you can get a variety of side dishes to go. In fact, you could make a whole list on its own of the unique delicacies to be found in this small underground food court, which include whole deck heads, spicy pig ears, chicken feet, duck neck, and our favorite, chicken gizzards. You can get the pulled noodles with classics like ox-tail, tripe, intestine, and cattle tendon.
4. Foie Gras Ice Cream at Oddfellows
Oddfellows, purveyors of homemade ice cream hailing from Williamsburg, are rather creative with their flavors. Their most famous may have been the Foie Gras flavor, served in a glass cup and limited to one scoop per guest.
5. Kangaroo Meat at Burke & Wills
Upper West Side restaurant Burke & Willis offers up a $19 kangaroo loin small plate that comes with sweet potato, bok choy, pomegranate reduction. They also have a kangaroo burger, called the ‘Roo burger, served Australian style with a sunny side up egg. When you’re done, check out the speakeasy they have hidden upstairs.
6. Moose Meat at PlaceInvaders Supper Club
It might have been a one-time deal but we’re actually got to experience moose pot pie with the supper club PlaceInvaders, who got the meat off Craigslist in Maine (you can’t get moose from a restaurant or store, as it’s illegal to sell), and had it shipped to New York City. Our verdict: pretty tasty.
7. Lamb Brains at Haandi
There’s nothing quite like seeing the word “brain” on a menu. Haandi on 28th Street and Lexington in Murray Hill has a curried lamb brain.
8. Pig Head at The Cannibal (and Various Places in Chinatown)
Several New York City restaurant have whole or half pig heads served to you on a platter. We’re of the opinion that pig head itself is not that weird, but we appreciate the high-end displays. Check out The Cannibal for your dose or pork.
9. Guinea Pigs at Urabamba
Untapped Cities reader Moment New York added guinea pigs to our list, served at Queens restaurant Urabamba in Jackson Heights and other South American restaurants in the city. Guinea pig in general has been increasing in popularity, often sourced from Peru, and considered an environmentally friendly alternative to cattle.
Next, discover 9 unlimited food and drink places in NYC (no, they don’t overlap with this list!). Also check out 6 of NYC’s Best Supperclubs. Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.