9 unusual foods in Las Vegas for more adventurous eaters

For some, adventurous means not knowing what type of vegetable they’re eating, and for others, it’s knowing you’re eating a duck embryo wrapped in raw pig intestine. Either way, Las Vegas is a great place to leave your culinary comfort zone. 

Las Vegas, without a signature food of its own, specializes in bringing everywhere else to us. From traditional Cantonese to new twists on Basque, Las Vegas has it all. 

Here are nine places to branch out and get a little crazy (with your food) in Las Vegas:

Grasshoppers at El Dorado Cantina

This restaurant, at 3025 S. Industrial Rd., is consistantly called one of the most authentic Mexican restaurants in town. Among Albondigas soup, stuffed shrimp and pozole, you’ll also find chapulines — or sautéed grasshoppers. They come garlic lime or habanero.

Sea cucumber at é by José Andrés

The “mar y montaña” at é inside the Cosmopolitan is one of many dishes that will test your foodie knowledge throughout the meal. José Andrés is famous for his chemist approach to cuisine, and this dish is no different. In this case, mar y montaña is sea cucumber stuffed with pork.

Wild escargot de bourgogne at Mon Ami Gabi

Although the name is common, escargot is one of the more odd things available to those in Las Vegas. Escargot, or snails, are usually served in a garlic, herb and butter sauce and you use a fork to eat them right out of the shells. It’s nothing new to France, but it might be to you.

Deep fried squid cartilige at Ichiza

While this one may sound odd, it’s closer to calamari than a live squid. The Chinatown-located Japanese restaurant also serves beef tongue stir fried and gizzards among other familiar yet unfamiliar dishes.

Pig’s ears at Therapy in Downtown Las Vegas

Crispy fried pig’s ears paired with a truffle honey mustard. Pig’s ears are nothing new for Chinese or Spanish meals, but the small bites are not typically served in American cuisine. Wherever you get them, pig’s ears tend to have more cartilige than other parts of the body, so be aware. 

Frog legs at Vila Algarve

Frog legs are another that can be found in dishes around the world, but for an American, it’s out of this world. Most places you find them will cook them differently, including at Portuguese restaurant Vila Algarve on West Tropicana. Get them served with peri-peri sauce, a traditional Portuguese sauce made with chili peppers.

Shark fin soup at Joyful House

Shark fin soup comes with emotional baggage — but if you want adventurous, this definitely fits. This Hong Kong Cantonese restaurant is one of the most authentic (and highest rated) in the valley, where you can get sea cucumber with abalone, jellyfish and fish prepared in ways you’ve never dreamed of. 

Suckling pig at Bazaar Meats 

Ever see a cooked pig with an apple in its mouth? That’s the idea. Except remember it’s the whole thing — an entire roast baby pig. (The “suckling” part refers to the pig still feeding from its mother.) It’s populr in Cajun cuisine in the South, as well as Chinese or Vietnamese parties.

Tripe tacos at Tacos el Gordo

Tripe is stomach, in case you didn’t know — and it’s served in dishes around the globe. In tacos, it’s especially tasty. At Tacos El Gordo, one of the most loved taquerias in the valley, you can also get beef brain, tongue and cheek tacos. 

Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella contributed to this report. Contact Kristen DeSilva at kdesilva@reviewjournal.com.  Find her on Twitter: @kristendesilva

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