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From Balut to Casu Marzu: A Guide to Packing and Shipping the World’s Weirdest Foods

Packing and shipping weird foods

The culinary world is a diverse and fascinating place, with a wide range of flavors, textures, and ingredients that vary from region to region. While many traditional foods are beloved staples of local cuisine, there are some that can be considered downright strange or bizarre. From peculiar ingredients to unusual preparation methods, these weird foods have unique histories and are often packed in unconventional ways for shipping. Here’s a guide on packing and shipping the world’s weirdest foods.

Balut – Philippines

Balut is a popular street food in the Philippines that is not for the faint of heart. It is a fertilized duck or chicken egg that is boiled and eaten with its partially formed embryo inside. Balut is typically served with salt and vinegar, and is often enjoyed as a snack or even as a main course.

Balut is believed to have originated in China and was brought to the Philippines by Chinese traders during the colonial period. It has since become a staple in Filipino cuisine and is known for its distinctive taste and texture.

Balut is usually packed in baskets or crates lined with banana leaves or straw to protect the fragile eggs during shipping. The baskets are typically stacked and secured with ropes or twine to prevent movement and damage during transit.

One popular courier for shipping balut internationally is Balikbayan Box, a company that specializes in shipping Filipino goods to various countries. Their rates start at $70 for a regular-sized box, with additional charges for weight and destination.

Casu Marzu – Sardinia, Italy

Casu marzu is a traditional Sardinian cheese that is not for the faint of stomach. Also known as “maggot cheese,” casu marzu is made from sheep’s milk and is intentionally infested with live cheese fly larvae, which are allowed to hatch and eat through the cheese, causing fermentation and creating a unique flavor.

Casu marzu has a long history in Sardinia and is considered a traditional delicacy. It is believed to have originated as a way to preserve cheese in the harsh environmental conditions of the island.

Due to the live larvae present in casu marzu, it is typically packed in special containers that allow for ventilation while preventing the escape of the maggots. The containers are sealed tightly to prevent contamination and are often labeled with warnings about the live larvae inside.

Casu marzu is not commonly shipped internationally due to its perishable nature and the presence of live insects. However, if you are interested in trying this unique cheese, you may be able to find specialty food stores or cheese importers that can arrange for its shipping. Rates and options would vary depending on the location and shipping method.

Hákarl – Iceland

Hákarl is a traditional Icelandic dish made from fermented shark meat. The meat is buried in the ground and left to ferment for several months before being hung to dry for several more months. The result is a pungent, ammonia-scented meat that is an acquired taste for many.

Hákarl has a long history in Iceland and was originally developed as a way to preserve shark meat during the winter months when fresh food was scarce. Today, it is considered a delicacy and is often served as an appetizer or a snack.

Hákarl is typically packed in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags to prevent the strong smell from permeating other foods or items during shipping. The containers are often labeled with warnings about the strong odor and are packed with absorbent materials to help absorb any leaks or odors.

Several courier services, such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS, offer international shipping from Iceland and can transport hákarl to various destinations around the world. Rates and options would vary depending on the location and shipping method, as well as the weight and size of the package.

Durian – Southeast Asia

Durian is a tropical fruit that is infamous for its strong odor, often described as a mix of onions, garlic, and rotten eggs. Despite its pungent smell, durian is beloved by many in Southeast Asia for its rich, custard-like flesh and unique flavor.

Durian has a long history in Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, where it is considered the “king of fruits.” It is used in various culinary applications, from desserts to savory dishes, and is a popular ingredient in many traditional dishes.

Durian is typically packed in sturdy boxes or crates to protect the fruit from damage during shipping. The boxes are often lined with plastic or other materials to contain the strong odor and prevent it from permeating other items. Durian is a perishable fruit and needs to be handled carefully during shipping to avoid bruising or spoilage.

Some courier services, such as Durian Delivery, specialize in shipping durian internationally from Southeast Asia to other countries. They offer various shipping options, including air freight and sea freight, with rates depending on the destination and the weight of the shipment.

Surströmming – Sweden

Surströmming is a traditional Swedish delicacy that consists of fermented herring, which is known for its extremely strong odor. The herring is typically fermented in barrels for several months, producing a pungent smell that has been compared to rotten eggs and dirty socks.

Surströmming has been a part of Swedish cuisine for centuries and is often consumed during festive occasions, such as Midsummer celebrations. It is typically served with potatoes, onions, and bread, and is considered an acquired taste.

Surströmming is usually packed in cans, which are carefully sealed to contain the strong odor. The cans are often designed to be sturdy and airtight to prevent leaks or damage during shipping. Some cans may also be vacuum-sealed to further contain the smell.

Several courier services, such as PostNord and DHL, offer international shipping of surströmming from Sweden to other countries. However, due to its strong odor and perishable nature, surströmming is considered a hazardous material for shipping and may require special handling and documentation. Rates and options would vary depending on the destination and shipping method.

The world is full of unique and sometimes bizarre foods that are considered delicacies in their respective regions. These weird foods often have fascinating histories and are packed in unconventional ways for shipping to preserve their flavors and maintain their quality. If you’re curious about trying these unusual foods, make sure to research and comply with any shipping regulations or restrictions, and consider using specialized courier services that are experienced in handling such unique culinary items. Happy tasting!