Canned Curiosities: 35+ Unusual Culinary Delights Hiding In American Grocery Stores

By Ayomitide F January 5, 2024

Close your eyes for a minute. Now, let’s imagine a world without canned foods! That sounds crazy. We don’t know about you, but there’s no way we’ll survive without our canned beans, fish, or those diced tomatoes that magically transform any meal into something tasty. But hold on to your taste buds because not all canned goods are equal. Sure, we have our usual favorites, but there is much more in the Wild West.

 For one, smoked rattlesnakes are nestled snugly in those round aluminum homes. Yup, you read that right. Some canned foods are downright quirky and, dare we say, hard to digest! Don’t believe it? Well, seeing is believing. So get ready to rock and roll through the unconventional side of canned delights. Brace yourselves. Some of the entries on this list might make you lose your appetite.

Bird in a Can

Whatever you’re thinking is correct. First, a recipe labeled “chicken, water, and salt” – hardly screams deliciousness. Let’s take things further by sticking this peculiar dish not on a plate but snugly inside a tin can. We ask you to look away if you’re eating now because chances are you won’t like this.

Image source: tastemade.com and trendhunter.com

Yep! Inside that metal container lies a whole cooked chicken. Sounds bizarre, right? That’s probably what billionaires keep in their doomsday shelter. No thanks! But we’ve been told not to knock it ’til we try it, so are you in? You just might be surprised!

Breakfast in Bed

From the home of tea and soccer or football comes another groundbreaker! You should know that the Brits don’t play where breakfast is concerned. They don’t mess around with a simple bowl of cereal or a quick bite. Oh no, they go all out with the “breakfast of champions.” 

Image source: John James/kentlive.news

That is how the ‘All Day Breakfast’ can came to be. And it lives up to the billing: a feast packed with the delights they adore – baked beans, sizzling sausages, crispy bacon, juicy mushrooms, and even pork & egg nuggets. That’s how serious they are with morning meals across the pond!

Who? What?

You may have seen it all and more. But have you ever seen canned bacon? Yes, bacon stuffed in a can! Marvelous, isn’t it? It’s not exactly a sight for sore eyes. The less we talk about how it’s all coagulated and wrapped around in that greasy layer, the better.

Image source: Camping Survival/YouTube and madmeatgenius.com

This doesn’t exactly scream “Yum.” But you know the irony? This less-than-appetizing thing goes from sub-zero to superhero when you take it out for camping. Once it’s tossed in a pan, it gets all yummy again. Because hey, let’s not forget, it’s still bacon we’re talking about here—its flavor prowess knows no bounds.

The Americans

USA! USA! USA! That’s what you’d probably expect to hear at the Olympics. But this supermarket in the Netherlands has something interesting for us. We stumbled upon this quirky find: a can of “American hot dogs”! And it wasn’t just any hot dog can, nope!

Image source: Michael B./quora.com and TasDaz/YouTube

It is all decked out with a vibrant label boasting colorful stars and stripes. This one will hit so well after grilling it on some good old vintage stove. Who knew American style could be so revolutionary far, far away in the Kingdom of Low Countries?

Santa’s Plight

One can only wonder what Santa would say about this whole reindeer-meat-in-a-can situation. Eating his darling creatures is a surefire way to end up on his naughty list. When it comes to what folks from different cultures eat, we try to keep an open mind. 

Image source: pieceoflapland.fi and CultMoo/YouTube

But let’s be real here—cracking open a can of reindeer meat? That’s a whole different story! We’re not being judgmental, but there’s this little voice in our heads that can’t shake off the image of Rudolph with his shiny red nose whenever someone mentions reindeer meat. Protect the reindeer! 

Rattledazzle

You won’t believe it until you try it – canned rattlesnake! Yep, you heard that right. This company’s got these cans of smoked rattlesnake, and they’re suggesting you dive straight into it, spoon-in-hand, or jazz it up over some wild rice or pasta.

Image source: Colton Cruise/ripleys.com and The Crude Brothers/YouTube

You might wanna spare some time for bone-picking because, holy moly, there’s a heap of bones in there! Here’s the deal – if anything’s gotta go on your bucket list this year, it’s munching on reptiles. Just imagine the stories you’ll have to tell after that adventure.

From The Khan

Powdered horse milk! Sounds a bit out there, right? But hold your horses! Pun intended. Let’s break it down: this might sound like a wild idea, especially if you’re used to the classic cow milk. But think about it: milk ultimately comes from different animals, so why not give this unconventional variety a chance?

Image source: FridayFunStuffl/Flickr and Mongulai/YouTube

Interestingly, horse milk isn’t just some oddity – it’s a pretty common thing in many parts of Europe. And get this, apparently, it’s good enough for Khal Drogo and his fierce warriors. If the dude leading the Dothraki horde trusts this stuff, maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Riding Rainbows

It’s pretty wild even to imagine unicorns strolling around—purely fantastical stuff, right? Let’s entertain the idea for a moment. If these mystical creatures actually roamed the Earth, you just know someone out there would figure out a way to sell their meat in a can. Humans are like that.

Image source: Tom Strong Reviews/YouTube

We’ve seen folks chow down on some seriously odd things before. Even though unicorns are majestic, beautiful beings, some folks would likely view them as nothing more than a source of, uh, “affordable” protein. But rest easy, this isn’t real unicorn, we all know they don’t exist. This is dismembered stuff unicorn in a can.

Bora Bora

Canned wild boar meat? What on earth is happening these days? Wrangling a wild boar can be like finding a needle in a haystack, let alone hunting it down, carving it up, and then popping it into cans. Where do these folks get all the stamina to do such things?

Image source: allranger/Imgur

Seriously though, think about it. Wild boars are notoriously elusive creatures; capturing one isn’t your everyday task. But someone out there is making things happen! It’s like something straight out of a fantasy novel— we can see King Robert Baratheon from Game of Thrones going wild for this stuff.

Shocking 

Eels might not win any popularity contests among water creatures. Between their uncanny resemblance to snakes and their superpower ability to torment their prey with electric shocks, they stand out in the underwater world. Ultimately, some of these eels end up in cans, snugly packed and coated with delicious dressing sauce. 

Image source: Dumpling Sisters/YouTube

At first glance, you might think, “Whoa, what an odd ending for such a remarkable creature!” But hold on a moment. Think about the alternative fate for these eels: spending their days zapping and tormenting their underwater friends. Suddenly, becoming a culinary delight in a can doesn’t seem too shabby.

Brined out

We still scratch our heads at how some folks enjoy chowing down on bugs as snacks and finding them surprisingly tasty. But here’s the kicker: these crickets are canned and soaking in brine. Something about that cranks up the “ew” factor, doesn’t it?

Image source: thefutureofedibleinsects.con and minorpress.com

This particular delight is called “Jing Kung in Brine.” Thankfully, the can’s got a picture showing these canned crickets served up on a fancy plate, all dolled up with garnishes. They say, “Hey, ignore what you’re about to munch on; look at this snazzy presentation instead!”

Squid Game

Squid might not be everyone’s go-to grub, but it’s not totally unheard of. Still, something about it can make a few stomachs flip-flop. Right here, we’ve got squids cozying up in a can, snugly with their own ink. How do you like that?

Image source: Celeste Bagos/YouTube

Now, canned squid? We bet folks out there’d give that a hard pass without a second thought. Surprisingly, it’s a regular deal in some parts, and believe it or not, there’s a fan club for it. Can you imagine?!

In the Jelly!

Back in the day, when the East End of London was buzzing with its vibrant culinary scene, this quirky dish stole the spotlight – Jellied Eels! These slippery little delicacies were a hit, finding their way into the hearts (and stomachs) of folks wandering through the eel and pie houses all over London.

Image source: Q KAtie/YouTube

As time trotted on, their charm faded. Yet, believe it or not, there’s still a die-hard fan club out there for these wibbly-wobbly treats. How do we know? Someone out there thought, “Hey, these jellied eels are still pretty darn special,” and decided to immortalize them in cans.

Nooooo

Ah, hot wings. Those delicious, spicy, finger-licking good ones we all crave. They’re like the life of every party—Superbowl Sundays, movie nights, potluck gatherings—you name it! They’re the ultimate go-to, the MVP of any spread. Who doesn’t love a plate of those zesty, saucy wings that perfectly complement any drink?

Image source: buzzfeed.com

But hold onto your hats because someone, somewhere, thought it was a brilliant idea to stuff hot wings in a can. Can you imagine the audacity? Our beloved hot wings trapped in a metal container. It’s like a slap in the face of everything sacred about those crispy, tangy bites we all know and adore.

Another one!

Who would’ve thought we’d see the day when French toast gets packed into a can? It’s undeniable that French toast is an absolute delight, something we’d gladly munch on round the clock. But let’s pause for a moment – French toast puree in a can? 

Image source: Wreckless Eating/YouTube

It’s convenient; heat it, and you’re good to go. Yet, let’s be real – nothing beats the charm of whipping up your batch of French toast. No canned puree can match the aroma wafting through the kitchen, the sizzle on the griddle, and the joy of crafting your perfect toast.

Italiano

Canned food has revolutionized how we think about meals—heck, you can practically stuff any dish into a can nowadays. Take Chef Boyardee, for instance. They’ve given us a slew of canned eats, not even sparing the most beloved Italian classics. 

Image source: As Seen On TV Reviews/Facebook

But lasagna? In a can? Seriously? We can’t even imagine the mess that comes with cracking open a can of lasagna. The big reveal would be a gooey mess with nothing but a mishmash of contents instead of the usually perfect multi-layered dish we all know and love.

Beware the Sharks!

Once upon a time, shark fin soup was the Beyoncé of fancy dishes – all glitz, glam, and exclusivity. It was the star of ritzy weddings and posh banquets, flaunting those shark fins for that fancy texture that made it the VIP of soups. 

Image source: ladyhomechef.blogspot.com and kristidoespdx.com

However, about 72 million sharks were harmed to make this soup. Moreover, these fins were rumored to contain a punch called BMAA, raising eyebrows among health-conscious foodies. And just when you thought the soup saga couldn’t get wilder, they put it in a can.

Pro Bono

While canning is great for preserving, certain foods are meant to be savored fresh, like those delectable tamales. If we were ever stuck in a bunker after some wild nuclear apocalypse, we might consider giving these canned tamales a shot for survival. 

Image source: Hey Sean Ely/YouTube

Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? But thankfully, the world powers are still chilling out. For now, though, we’re firmly opting for the real deal. There’s just something about the aroma of masa, the tantalizing flavors of perfectly seasoned fillings, and that mouthwatering taste that only freshly made tamales can deliver!

Worm it up!

You may be a novice in The Mopane Worm – a funky yet surprisingly tasty finger food that’s actually a caterpillar. Found throughout southern Africa, these little critters are the talk of the town. Now, we know what you’re thinking – worms in a can? Sounds a bit bizarre, right? 

Image source: Barry Lewis/YouTube

Well, these wormy wonders are a popular snack in South Africa and a star ingredient in local dishes. What makes these worms stand out? They pack a serious nutritional punch with about three times more protein and four times more iron than your average beef serving. Do you feel like giving it a try?

In the Pudding

Wait, goblin meat in a pudding? How does that even work? You know it will be a rollercoaster for your taste buds when it comes to something as intriguing as goblin meat pudding.  Of course, meat pudding isn’t your run-of-the-mill dessert. 

Image source: Neo Rambler/YouTube

Meat pudding, despite the name, isn’t your typical sweet treat. But what exactly makes goblin meat pudding stand out? Is it the tenderness of the meat? The blend of spices that gives it that extra oomph? There’s only one way to find out!

Fiskeboller

Do you know what’s an absolute classic and a must-try in Norway? Fish balls, or as they fondly call them, “fiskeboller.” Now, making these seems to be quite the challenge. You don’t see canned fish balls lining the shelves daily.

Image source: Finn Loves Food/YouTube

But get this: those pre-made fish balls boast a medley of flavors from not one, not two, but five different types of fish! Yep, they throw in the Great Silver Smelt, Haddock, Alaska Pollock, Pacific Whiting, and Saithe into the mix. It’s like a seafood party in a can.

Tarantula?

You know the saying: “Folks will get their meat anywhere.” Because we’re shocked that people out here are eating spiders for dessert the whole time! Depending on how you see it, this is a game-changer in the world of snacks: a canned zebra tarantula!

Image source: ImBrandonFarris/YouTube

We’ve come a long way from snickers, folks. According to the fine print, it’s been cooked and dehydrated. And get this—it even boasts a “light dusting of Barbecue seasoning.” We’re all for BBQ-flavored treats, but trying out cooked and dehydrated zebra tarantula? That’s a whole new level of adventurous eating.

Cajun Style

Alligators are scary, but have you ever considered eating them? In case you’re wondering, they have a taste of a mashup between chicken, pork, and even a hint of rabbit. They say it’s as lean and tender as those white meats some folks love.

Image source: The Try Channel/YouTube

And, of course, what is any meal without its canned version?! Straight from the depths of the can, we present the “Dale’s Alligator, Cajun Style. What a name! You can only imagine what this one would taste like. Sounds like a flavorful surprise.

The Revenant

You know that intense scene in The Revenant where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character gets mauled by a bear? Well, it turns out that in some places where bears roam freely and hunting them is actually allowed, they’ve got this wild culinary tradition where they take it to a whole other level.

Image source: Harry Brignull via worldcrunch.com

The bears are stuffed into cans and used as seasoning for soup. Can you imagine slurping up a bowl of bear-flavored soup? And that’s not all – some folks prefer a fancier approach by serving their meat with rye bread or frying it up and pairing it with blackcurrant jelly!

Huitlacoche

Ever heard of huitlacoche? It might sound like the name of some wild, dangerous creature lurking in the depths of a jungle, but surprise! It’s actually a funky, edible fungus that hangs out on corn. Yep, you heard that right—corn fungus! 

Image source: Atomic Shrimp/YouTube

Here’s the thing: huitlacoche might not win any beauty contests. It’s got this grayish, swollen mass that doesn’t yell, “Eat me.” But wait until you see it canned—that stuff’s even darker and, let’s be real, folks swear it’s downright delicious! In Mexico, they whip up soups with huitlacoche and stuff it into quesadillas and whatnot.

The Pate

Guess what, folks? Pigeons might be the next big thing on the menu! Yeah, you heard it right—those city-dwelling birds are making their way onto plates as Pigeon Pate. Can you imagine? These pigeons, usually flying around causing a ruckus, are now getting canned up! 

Image source: www.directproducteur.com

They’ve gone from cooing on rooftops to becoming the stars of a fancy spread. It’s not the ideal ending for any livestock, but here we are. Most Americans see Pigeons as “rats with wings.” But across the pond in France, they are raised for meat. The duality of man, innit?!

Macaroni Cheese?

Americans sure have a soft spot for their beloved mac n cheese! But once you hop across the pond to the Crownland, things take an unexpected twist! Over there, it’s called “Macaroni Cheese,” and brace yourself—it’s not served up all hot, creamy, and cheesy like the classic American version.

Image source: Hey Sean Ely/YouTube

Nope, it’s crammed into a can, believe it or not! It’s a different vibe, swapping out the steamy, homemade goodness for the odd convenient but perhaps less flavorful tin can. That is one hell of a culture shock, now isn’t it?!

PBJ

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? They’re so easy; a kiddo could whip one up in a jiffy. No wonder they’re a hit across the US of A. You grab your fresh PB&J, slap it together, and boom! It’s ready to tag along on any adventure – school, hikes, picnics, you name it! 

Image source: Lamarr Wilson/YouTube

You know what they say when something’s that easy-peasy, right? There’s always someone out there trying to ….. stuff it in a can! Enter the “candwiches” – yeah, you heard that right. They’re like the superhero version of PB&J, packed in a can and tagged as “Go Anywhere Sandwiches!” 

Balut!

Say, what do you know about balut? No, it isn’t pronounced “Ballot”. In fact, it happens to be a fascinating culinary delight hailing from the Philippines and other corners of Southeast Asia, which might appear a tad quirky at first glance.

Image source: Emmy Made/YouTube

Picture this: it’s an egg—an embryo, typically of a duck—given a good boil. Yep, you heard that right! Don’t wrinkle your nose yet because this snack is a hit among many. It’s not your run-of-the-mill snack, but balut is a must-try for the adventurous! 

Canned Worms, pt.2

Fun Fact: Silkworm Pupa is a thriving snack in South Korea. In several spots around the country, Silkworm Pupa rarely slips under the radar; its unmistakable, overpowering fragrance grabs your nostrils. It’s not for the faint of heart, mind you. Some say it’s an acquired smell.

Image source: Emmy Made/YouTube

But before you think about cracking open a can of these critters. It is no walk in the park. Some would call it a sensory experience, to put it mildly. And the way the smell hits you? Better brace yourselves for a potentially eye-watering encounter with Silkworm Pupa, people!

In Tongues

Tongues are one of those parts that people wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Seriously, who even thinks of eating that, right? Now, you’d think something so unconventional wouldn’t be in high demand. But guess what? Sellers still bother stocking up on fresh tongues. 

Image source: The Try Channel/YouTube

Apparently, Canned tongue swoops in with its extended shelf life, making it a more seller-friendly choice. Sure, it might not win any beauty contests—let’s be real, it’s not exactly a feast for the eyes—but it’s a smart move from a business standpoint!

Bird’s Nest!

Can you believe it? There’s this crazy thing called an “edible bird’s nest” that’s actually a real deal! Swiftlet birds craft these nests using their saliva and get this—they’re collected and eaten by humans. Yep, you heard that right! 

Image source: Emmy Made/YouTube

There are no more surprises at this point. Humans have this knack for chowing down on some pretty outlandish stuff, and bird’s nests are just one of those quirky items on the menu. Some folks slurp them up in a soup, while others prefer sipping on them as a drink, like soda!

Meet The Haggis

Haggis, ah, that beloved Scottish dish that sparks debates and passionate defenses among its aficionados. Let’s say it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. We’re talking about tucking into a savory pudding that’s essentially a mix of sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, all jazzed up with stock, onions, oatmeal, and spices.

Image source: thehaggis.com and Kevin Letterman/YouTube

Now, while many Scots proudly stand by their traditional haggis recipe, we can only wonder how they feel about canned Haggis. It is that same flavorful concoction conveniently preserved in a can instead of a sheep’s insides. It’s a bit like the Wild West of Haggis out there!

Quail

Have you ever wondered about those tiny Quail eggs that seem like they’re part of some elaborate dish? Surprise! Quail eggs are the stars of their show, all canned up and ready to munch without a single second on the stove. 

Image source: Tena Mesan/YouTube

No need for fuss or preparation. How sick is that? Just crack open that can and dive right in! Taste-wise, these cuties are like the cool cousin of the classic chicken egg. You should try them sometime, bud. Who knows, they might just become your new snacking obsession!

Muffins

Muffins are one of the best things to walk this green earth. Seriously, ask around, and you’ll find folks who think muffins are the best thing since sliced bread – or maybe even better! Take it from us: a warm, freshly baked muffin just out of the oven will take you to paradise and back! 

Image source: allranger/Imgur

And let’s talk variety! You’ve got cornmeal and cheese muffins, and even more on the sweet – blueberry, chocolate chip, lemon, banana… you name it! Now, why would anyone even think about trying to cram all that muffin magic into a can?! 

And Dessert

Ever heard of grass jelly? It’s this cool dessert from East Asia that’s made using this plant called Platostoma palustre, which belongs to the mint family. The locals take the stems and leaves, dry ’em out (like making tea), and then work their magic to turn it into a wobbly, jiggly jelly.

Image source: Emmy Made/YouTube

But here’s the kicker: grass jelly doesn’t just stick to being a dessert. Nope, one of the wild ways people enjoy it is by gulping down a grass jelly drink! It’s not your typical drink, mind you. Folks say it’s got this mellow, herby vibe going on. And there’s even some flavored like bananas! 

Brainmuncher

You know, it’s kinda wild when you think about it. People get all squeamish at the thought of munching on pork brains, yet they’re totally cool with chowing down on a succulent piece of pork belly. It all comes from the same animal, right? 

Image source: KevinLetterman/YouTube

And these folks have taken it up a notch: Pork brains with milk gravy! Now, we’re not here to judge anyone’s taste buds. If pork brains are your jam, more power to you! But let’s admit, it’s not your everyday meal, especially when it’s floating around in a can with some milk gravy.

Bread of Life

Alright, let’s talk bread – the universal carb delight! From the baguette to the sourdough bread to the ciabatta to the rye and pumpernickel breads. It has just kept getting better and better. Until now. But have you ever heard of bread in a can? Yep, you read that right. Canned. Bread.

Image source: thedailymeal.com and TylerTube/YouTube

Of course, canned bread doesn’t quite give you that warm, fuzzy feeling of a freshly baked loaf. Nope, no fresh bread smells, no crispy crusts, and probably no resemblance in taste. No matter how well it is presented, canned bread doesn’t look appealing.

Say Cheese!

Kudos for making it this far, buddy. But we must warn you that it won’t get any easier. The cans are not letting up anytime soon. Up next, we’ve got the Canned Cheeseburgers! Yep, you heard it right – burgers in a can. 

Image source: Emmy Made/YouTube

Who even dreamt up this crazy idea? It’s a head-scratcher, for sure. We’ve heard these things have everything in them – the bun, the patty, the cheese, the works! It’s like a burger magician waved their wand, and poof, there it is, sealed up tight in an aluminum can. Yay!

From The Herd

Sheep’s or lamb’s head in a can? That’s like a double whammy of unusual! First, let’s wrap our heads around the fact that a sheep’s head is the show’s star here. Not your usual go-to meal, right? And then, someone thought, “Hey, let’s seal that bad boy in a can!” 

Image source: Extra Bros/YouTube

It’s the kind of thing that makes you double-take down the supermarket aisle. Some might call it bizarre; others might dub it an exotic delight. But one thing’s for sure – this canned curiosity from the Middle East has earned its canned world stripes!

Snails in a Can

Ah, canned escargot! Yeah, at first glance, it might not win any beauty contests. But let’s not judge a book by its cover. Here’s the lowdown: Believe it or not, sometimes those canned critters surprise you! Now, don’t get us wrong—fresh is usually the gold standard for most foods.

Image source: ImBrandonFarris/YouTube

But “fresh” often isn’t as fresh as you might think when it comes to escargot. They’ve often been frozen, defrosted, and served with a flourish. However, despite their humble appearance, canned escargots are often more consistent in quality and texture. No thawing surprises or freshness debates—pop open the can, and voilà!

Enchante!

Just take a gander at that label, would ya? “Confit de cuisses de canard mulard a la graisse de canard.” It’s like a tongue-twisting masterpiece that sounds more suited to a fancy-schmancy five-star restaurant than lounging on a canned food shelf.

Image source: Rougié Foie Gras North America/YouTube

Who would’ve thought you’d find a posh-sounding concoction among the regular old canned goods? Fun Fact: “Confit de cuisses de canard mulard a la graisse de canard” roughly translates to “Confit of mulard duck legs with duck fat.” What a mouthful!

Oh no!

What’s for dinner? It’s scorpions in a can! Yep, you heard that right! Now, before you go running for the hills, hear us out because these little arachnids pack quite a surprising punch. They’re nutritional powerhouses! Who would have thought, right? 

Image source: Im Brandon Farris/YouTube

Scorpions bring a hefty dose of protein to the table—around 50% of it! That’s more protein per bite than you’d find in many other foods. And they’re not just a one-trick pony. Scorpions are full of iron, calcium, and vitamins, making them a well-rounded addition to your diet.

Dripping in Choco

Have you ever heard of that saying, “Everything tastes better with chocolate”? Well, a brand out there took this phrase quite literally and ran with it—straight into the realm of adventurous eating. Thanks to them, we’ve been blessed with chocolate-covered worms. Yep, you read that right! 

Image source: arbyreed/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 and KBD Productions TV/YouTube

They looked at superworms and thought, “You know what would make these appealing? A generous dunking in dark chocolate!” And guess what? People actually wanted to munch on those crunchy, chocolate-coated critters. It’s a daring chocolate lover’s dream come true!

Elk

Elks, those larger-than-life animals, roam the wild with such towering presence that you’d be surprised when you stumble upon their meat tucked snugly into tiny cans. It’s like finding a skyscraper crammed into a dollhouse! Now, these cans of elk meat are not for the seasoned hunters. Nope. 

Image source: Igor Travels The World/YouTube

They’re more like a sampler for those who want to boast, “Oh, you know, I’ve tried elk before!” You can get creative with it, too, from adding it to a rich, hearty soup stock or whipping up a luscious gravy to drench over a steaming plate of potatoes, rice, or pasta. Now, that is a feast!