Remember the television show ‘Fear Factor’? The show where contestants would face their fears, which often required them to do gross things like bob their heads in tubs of blood or eat live earthworms. Despite it being a blood-curdling, stomach-churning 60 minutes, it was hard to look away.
What if you could experience Fear Factor for yourself, right here in Singapore?
We went out and found the craziest things you wouldn’t believe Singaporeans (or anyone for that matter) would eat! The only difference is that true to Singapore’s Foodie Nation title, these foods are actually pretty yummy.
Let’s kick things off with Imperial Restaurant. Formerly known as Imperial Herbal, this branch, located at Riverview Hotel, was first opened in 1988, specialising in traditional Chinese health concepts incorporated into unique, gourmet dishes.[caption id="attachment_22076" align="aligncenter" width="980"] Photo Credit: As per most Chinese restaurants, you can find items like Buddha Jumps Over The Wall and Eight Treasure Rice in Lotus Leaf on the menu. Besides its use of Chinese herbs as ingredients, what makes Imperial Restaurant particularly unique is its use of ingredients such as crocodile, scorpion, deer penis, and goose web.
1. Crocodile: Braised Crocodile Tail
A tough, gamey meat that would usually have you on its plate, it comes as no surprise to anyone that crocodile is an uncommon dish. The chefs at Imperial Restaurant have mastered this protein by adding fragrant herbs to it and by braising it for hours.[caption id="attachment_22068" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Photo Credit: A collagen-heavy portion of the crocodile, the Braised Crocodile Tail is soft and gelatinous in texture. Fragrant herbs and spices are infused into every inch of this jelly-like dish, which is also great for smooth skin and strong hair!
2. Penis: Deer Penis Soup[caption id="attachment_22070" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Photo Credits: A natural aphrodisiac that’s right up there with ginseng and saffron, Deer Penis soup is often thought to be beneficial for men in the bedroom. Besides helping create a new generation of little you’s, this dish is savoury and delicious too! Much better than swallowing a tiny blue pill, wouldn’t you say?
3. Web Of Feet: Braised Goose Web
Who knew you could eat the web of a goose’s feet?
[caption id="attachment_22069" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Photo Credit: Braised to succulent perfection, the web is delicate but flavourful, having absorbed the herby fragrance of the soup it was braised in. Having been braised for hours, each morsel of meat falls easily from the bone, making it a great dish for toddlers and elderly alike.
4. Insects: Fried Scorpions & Black Ants
This special dish is an off-menu specialty at Imperial Restaurant, one of the only dining establishments in Singapore allowed to serve cooked insects due to its reputation as a traditional Chinese herbs restaurant.[caption id="attachment_22071" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Photo Credits: Fried golden brown and satisfyingly crunchy, scorpions are sometimes recommended by practitioners for treating headaches and joint aches. Black ants, on the other hand, can help regulate the immune system, relax fatigue and have anti-aging properties. Or you could just order this to show off your daredevil side!
Address: Riverview Hotel Level 2, 382 Havelock Road, Singapore 169629
Tel: 6337 0491
Opening Hours: Mon to Fri: 1130 – 1430; 1800 – 2230; Sat & Sun: 1130 – 2300
5. Fallopian Tubes: Fried Fallopian Tubes
Fried eggs are a breakfast staple, but what about fried fallopian tubes?
[caption id="attachment_22072" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Photo Credits: A delicacy that is essentially flavourless, the fallopian tubes of a female pig are actually quite juicy. Stir-fry them with a little garlic, ginger and soya sauce, and you’ve got a delicious meal!
Old Mother Traditional Herbal Soup
Address: Blk 59 New Upper Changi Road, Singapore 461059
Tel: 6841 8789
Opening Hours: Daily: 1100 – 1400; Daily: 1700 – 0130
6. Sperm: Cod Fish Sperm (Shirako)
Bend (your stomach) like Beckham, who had a taste of this dish in 2015 when he visited Singapore.
Shirako can be eaten either raw or cooked, and it melts in your mouth like butter! If you can swallow the knowledge that you’re eating fish sperm, give it a try at Teppei Japanese Restaurant!
Teppei Japanese Restaurant
Address: #01-18, Orchid Hotel, 1 Tras Link, Singapore 078867
Tel: 6222 7363
Opening Hours: Daily 1200 – 1430; Daily 1800 – 2230
7. Squid Innards: Shiokara
Cream cheese goes well with so many things: salmon, chives, and even shiokara! To those of you not in the know, that’s fermented squid innards to you.[caption id="attachment_22074" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Photo Credits: @Izakayamita[/caption]
Briny and creamy, similar in texture and taste to that of uni (sea urchin), the cream cheese helps mellow the intense flavour of the shiokara.
Address: 8 Stanley St, 068727
Tel: 6327 9240
Opening Hours: 1:30AM–2PM, 5:30–11PM
While the thought of eating deer penis and cod fish sperm might make your stomach turn, these restaurant have mastered these unusual ingredients and made incredibly tasteful delicacies out of them.
If reading this article has piqued your interest, maybe you should head down to one of these places to try some of these out. It’s one thing to read about them, but it’s another altogether to experience them for yourself!