Everyone likes soups. Be it a warm bowl of chicken soup giving a fuzzy feeling inside the belly on a winter evening, or some chilled cucumber soup with the cooling effect working wonders on a summer afternoon, be it an appetizer before a hearty meal, or an evening snack to calm the squeaking belly, soups are always welcome. There are different kinds of soups all over the world. Some are wonderfully delicious and filling, some have health benefits. Some are the conventional soups like chicken soup, sweet corn soup, etc. while there are some unconventional soups, too, like the fancy watermelon soup, or pumpkin soup. And then there are some really unconventional soups. How much, you ask? Read and find out about some of the most unconventional soups in the world.
Most Bizarre and Unconventional Soups:
15. Kiburu Soup
This soup is a delicacy of the Chagga tribe at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro, who depend on their produce that focuses on bananas and coffee. So, they make do with what they get in the remote place. It is so simple enough. All you need are bananas and coffee, as you must have already guessed. The third magic ingredient is dirt for seasoning. There is no typographical error. Dirt adds saltiness and earthiness, and the occasional twigs, too. Now who would like a dessert soup with dirt?
14. Sopi Di Yuwana
You face faced a lot today, and you really things really can’t go downhill from here. So here it is, the Iguan Soup for you, all the way from the Caribbean Islands, especially Aruba, where the iguana is known as bamba chicken. This soup is a vegetable broth, with the meat of iguana. The meat tastes a little like chicken, but is bony and scaly. So why do people eat it? Because it is an aphrodisiac. The iguana finds distinction because of its two penises, which is just one penis but split into two.
13. Dragon Tiger Phoenix
This soup with its majestic-sounding name, is a traditional type of Cantonese cuisine dish and it is available – almost exclusively – in certain regions of South China, such as Guangdong. In case you’re confused, the animal names are metaphors. They are represented by three animals: a snake is used for dragon, a cat or Masked Palm Civet represents the tiger and chicken is used to represent a phoenix. There are several varieties of the dish, and the soup is one of the most coveted and unconventional soups.
12. Tien Kahn
This is a traditional soup of the Asian cuisine. Simply put, it is the Vietnamese Blood Soup, cooked with raw blood, preferably of ducks. But, the weirdness does not stop here: one of the ingredients of this soup is gizzard. In order to let the blood coagulate, the soup is refrigerated, and the soup is eaten chilled, before the jelly-like consistency is lost. The soup is supposed to give strength to both the eater and the maker. Don’t forget the bird flu that can also pass on to you from raw bird blood.
This traditional Mexican soup, in simple English, is cow stomach soup, made for special occasions. It is also used as a cure for hangovers. In addition to simple aromatics, its main ingredient is, of course, cow stomach, along with hominy. It is simmered for hours and reportedly tasted excellent, especially because of the tender tripe. The soup probably came into being from the want to not let any part of the animal go to waste. If you can get over the fact that you’re eating cow insides, it will taste good.
10. Beer Soup
Beer Soup is the beer lover’s paradise, as it is a breakfast soup served over bread and lets him start the day with the taste of beer in mouth. It was originally concocted by the Germans, and gradually spread throughout Europe in the medieval period. It is a roux-based soup which, as the name suggest, has beer as its main ingredient, which is added in large portions and maintains the actual taste. It has many variations, one of which uses potato as a thickener. Enjoy the taste of warm beer.
9. Bat Soup
Bat soup is a delicacy in the Palau Islands in the Pacific Oceans, fruit bats are a food item. They chose not to discriminate on the basis of diseases that bats potentially carry, and turned the mammals soup cooked with coconut milk. Some restaurants actually allow you the once-in-a-life-time opportunity to choose which furry bat you want staring at you from within the soup, as you have the most unsettling meal of your life, eating off its body. Another version of bat soup is bat paste.
8. Souppa Patchia/Khaas and its varieties
What’s Souppa Patchia to Cypriots is Khash in the Middle-East, with many varieties. Cypriots cook their version of the soup with skinned lamb head. Khash in Armenia is cooked with cow’s feet, and sometimes head. Its Irani and Azerbaijan variant, Kale Pache, uses sheep’s whole head and hooves while the Iraqi variant Pacha adds trotters and stomach too. Its Albanian version, Pace, uses the head of sheep, pig or any cattle. This purist meal is best suited for the winters. Cattle face, anyone?
7. Chicken Testicle Soup
This is quite similar to the traditionally cooked chicken noodle soup, except it uses chicken testicles instead of the meat of chicken. The testicles are cooked with vegetables in the broth till tender. Reportedly, the testicles are creamy on the outside and soft on the inside like tofu, except with an additional tight sausage-like skin. Some say it tastes like undercooked egg. There are black and white chicken testicles available for soups which are said to be good for women’s skin and men’s stamina.
6. Supu Soup
Supu is a lot like the Menudo, since many unconventional parts of the animal are used to boil up this soup or stew. Supu translates to soup, and is a Tanzanian dish. Liver, heart, lungs and head of goats are put together with cow stomach, tongue, intestines and tongue to create this extravaganza. If you are lucky, you might even find a cow hoof, known as supu ya makongoro, and tail in there. This soup is known to be a cure for hangover, and is hence traditionally eaten as a breakfast dish.
5. Soup #5
We made sure to put this soup at the fifth position because a) we are considerate and don’t want to confuse you, and b) we have a bad sense of humour, and hope you will see the irony: the name of this soup is Soup #5, and we aren’t sure why. This broth contains the penis and testicles of a bull, and is known for its aphrodisiac properties. Bull genitals scalded in boiling water are cooked with vegetables and aromatics to create this soup. It is a popular dish in areas of Southeast Asia.
4. Chocolate Ramen Soup
For those who cannot afford expensive soups but want to have an adventure anyway, here’s the perfect item: chocolate flavoured instant noodles. It was developed as a Valentine’s Day specialty as a collaboration between Japanese candy maker Lotte and popular chocolate brand Ghana. There is generally nothing sweet about the typical Ramen noodles or broth, but this one is a strange combination of sweet and salty with the confusing mix of the flavours of chocolate and spices.
3. Tiger Penis Soup
Of all genitalia soups, the tiger penis soup is the most expensive. It has been an Asian specialty, particularly China, for centuries, and is believed to have mythical properties like Viagra. Dehydrated tiger penis is soaked in water for a week, and simmered for a day with spices and medicines, sometimes with tiger bones. Despite the danger of the species, tiger parts are available in Chinese markets around the world. Sometimes, the original thing is substituted with deer or ox tendons.
2. Turtle Soup
As the name suggests, this soup contains the flesh of the turtle. In fact, it is viewed as a luxury or delicacy in some cultures. The green turtle is commonly used for this dish, and it is held in high value in Singapore and the United States. Its Chinese and other East Asian versions use soft-shelled turtles. The Snapper Turtle Soup is variant of the soup using snapping turtles, available in the US, especially in the South. Eat the cute animals, and you risk getting seafood poisoning, called chelonitoxism.
1. Bird’s Nest Soup
Let’s start with something fancy and expensive: the bird’s nest soup. This Chinese is a delicacy and is an expensive one at that. This is seen in some of the posh restaurants, and are made of whole bird’s nests. Swiftlet bird nests are a particular favourite for the dish. The nest is almost entirely made of sticky saliva: the strands are made of saliva cement, and become gelatinous in water. Cave birds are a favourite for this dish as they glue their nests to the cave walls with their vomit and saliva. Another version of bird’s nest soup is bird’s nest soda.
There are several unconventional ingredients used in soups, such as rats, snakes, etc., and the most unthinkable parts are used to create the most original soups. Let’s end with a little history lesson. Archaeologists believe that the first soup dates back to 6000 BC, and it was a hippopotamus soup. According the accounts of Sir Samuel Baker, the 19th century explorer, it tasted better than turtle soup when the fat, flesh and skin were boiled together to result in a greenish fat. Even the head, soused in vinegar, was palatable, according to him. Today, various recipes of this soup are available in different cuisines from Singapore to France.