Tired of Thai green curry and teriyaki sauce? Then follow us on a culinary cruise peppered with the odder offerings from the world's kitchens.

Guinea pig (Peru)

Pampered pet or barbecue favourite, in Peru, guinea pig is top of the menu.

Tasting a bit like rabbit, the cuddly creatures are usually served with head and legs attached.

There's not much meat on them, but enterprising Peruvian scientists are working on breeding bigger ones - perfect for family Sunday lunch.

Century eggs (China)

Century eggs (or thousand year eggs) - chicken, duck or quail eggs preserved in clay, lime, ash, salt and rice straw - are stored for weeks or even months and enjoyed when dark green.

Smelling strongly of sulphur (rotten eggs) and ammonia (urine), we'll file them under the category 'acquired taste'.

The eggs are widely available throughout China and in Chinese shops and restaurants in the West.

Tarantulas (Cambodia)

The Cambodian market town of Skuon is the centre of the country's tarantula trade.

The furry spiders, sold at the roadside, are fried with garlic and eaten as a snack. The crispy exterior and soft, gooey inside provide a fine textural contrast and interest is added with a variety of seasonings.

Locals praise the medicinal benefits of spider flesh, but only real fans will eat the abdomen - a bulbous cavity stuffed with eggs, excrement and internal organs.

Surströmming (Sweden)

Surströmming is one Swedish snack you're unlikely to find next to the meatballs in IKEA.

The canned Baltic herring is fermented for up to two months during which time gases are released causing tins to swell ominously.

Some airlines now place them in the same risk category as fireworks and explosives.

Once open, a smell so rank and penetrating is released that most fans of the fish are compelled to enjoy this malodorous pleasure al fresco.

Rotten fish it may be, but its popularity is such that in 2005, a Surströmming museum was opened in Skeppsmaln, northern Sweden.

Durian (South East Asia)

Durian are large, green-yellow fruit with a spiky shell and soft interior.

Banned in hotels and on public transport throughout the region, the foetid stench of the ripening durian does little to deter aficionados who savour the tasty flesh of this 'king of fruits'.

Bemused foreigners often reach for less regal similes. Chef Anthony Bourdain said of durian consumption: 'afterwards your breath will smell like you've been French kissing your dead grandmother.'

Best eaten alone then.

Ortolan (France)

Perhaps the most controversial regional speciality on our list, ortolan are small songbirds long-savoured in France as the most exquisite and guilty of culinary pleasures.

Birds are caught in nets, blinded, force-fed millet and oats then drowned in Armagnac. The roasted carcasses are eaten whole, the small bones lacerating diners' gums inducing delicious, masochistic pleasure.

Now officially banned, much to the chagrin of French gourmands, the eating of ortolan is traditionally performed with a napkin over the head to hide the act from God.

Chewing in the darkness, devotees claim to journey with the bird through Morocco, the salty snap of the Mediterranean and on to the lavender-scented valleys of Provence.

Allegedly, former French president François Mitterrand ate two at his last meal. Ortolan can still be found on the black market.

Fugu (Japan)

One man's rarefied delicacy can be another man's ticket to an intimate affair with the hotel bathroom, but seldom do foreign foodstuffs send diners to the morgue. In Japan, things are different.

Fugu (Japanese puffer fish) are toxic sea-critters that need to be carefully prepared to remove potentially deadly internal organs.

A rich source of tetrodotoxin, a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote, the fish are served in licensed premises and cooked by specially trained chefs.

Strict guidelines ensure diners rarely keel over (though a number perish each year), but the frisson of danger still excites those brave enough to order the poisonous puffers.

The most famous fugu dishes are found in Yamaguchi Prefecture on Honshu.

Balut (Philippines)

Kinder Surprise with attitude - Balut are fertilised, partially developed duck embryos sold throughout the Philippines and Vietnam.

Depending on how brave you feel, eggs can be selected that contain embryos from around 17 days-old to 21 days-old.

At the scarier end of the scale, duck foetuses have clearly defined eyes, feathers and claws.

Balut are enjoyed with a pinch of salt and a cold beer, diners seeing off the chick's liquid jacket before slurping down the baby itself.

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